Vee in Between, by Valerie Kaiyang Wood and illustrated by Angela Poon, is an enchanting tale that delves into the joys and hardships of cross-cultural adoption. With emotional storytelling and vibrant illustrations, this picture book is a delightful and engaging read for children on their own journey of self-discovery and belonging. At the same time, it serves to foster understanding toward adoptees.
Vee, a young girl lovingly adopted from China, wants nothing more than to reconnect with her cultural roots. Encouraged by her parents, Vee joins a Chinese dance class. But when she sees her skilled Chinese classmates, Vee begins to wonder whether her adoption is truly as wonderful as she once believed. Determined to advance her skills, she puts in extra effort and practises tirelessly.
But Vee’s world is shaken by a hurtful comment from a stranger, and she grows too anxious to perform in her upcoming recital. When her dance instructor reveals a shared history of adoption from China, her guidance empowers Vee to embrace her unique identity, celebrate her Chinese heritage, and find pride in being “in between.”
This intimate story serves as a valuable tool for discussing identity, culture, and self-acceptance. Tailored for children aged six to eight, Wood’s narrative style is designed for ease of reading and comprehension. Expressive dialogue helps young readers to empathize with Vee’s confusion.
Poon’s illustrations are a visual delight; she uses a palette of soft colours and gentle details fill the pages – a table laid out with Chinese stir-fry shows that Vee’s parents wholeheartedly embrace her heritage alongside their deep love for their daughter. Images of fan dancing will capture children’s attention and invite them into Vee’s world, while the expressive depictions of emotions add depth to the reading experience.
Vee in Between is a moving tale that delicately explores the complex emotions that come with adoption. Vee’s story provides an opportunity for young readers to understand how important it is to embrace their uniqueness. Celebrating diversity, fostering empathy, and promoting understanding, Vee in Between is a must-read.