The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale

Bibliographic Information: Lin, G. (2007). The red thread: An adoption fairy tale. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Company.

Brief Annotation: The king and queen are struck with a sudden pain in their hearts that nothing can cure, until a peddler reveals that there is a red thread leading out of their hearts. They make a journey to discover where the red thread leads, and their lives are changed forever.

Genre: Fantasy/Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Grade Level: PreK-3

Readers who will like this: Readers who enjoy fairy tales; readers who are adopted; readers who enjoy stories about families.

Rating/Response: 4.5; I am a bit of a weeper, and this book definitely resulted in tears. The reveal at the end that it was a baby holding the red threads that were connected to the king and the queen’s hearts was the most beautiful metaphor for adoption that I’ve ever read. The story was framed by a young Chinese-American girl asking her parents to tell her her favorite story again, providing students with a direct correlation to transnational adoption. The only thing I didn’t love about this book was the illustrations, which I found to be sub par compared to the text.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: This story is about a king and a queen. What other stories do you know that start with a kind and a queen? As the king and queen are on their journey: What do you think the king and the queen are going to find? Turn to your neighbor and make a prediction. After the read aloud: Was your prediction correct?

Reading Strategy: Feelings Chart (Yopp & Yopp, p. 87-89)

To make a feelings chart, teachers write events in a book on the left side of the chart, and the characters along the top of the chart. As the read aloud (or read along, depending on the grade of the students) progresses, students are asked to pause, write what one or more character is feeling, and place that feeling on the appropriate place on the chart. This helps students analyze a character’s reactions to an event, as well as developing the skills of comparing and contrasting. This strategy would work well for The Red Thread, as the attitudes and beliefs of the king and queen changes as they make their journey.

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