Title: My Mei Mei
Illustrator/Photographer: Ed Young
Publisher and Year: Philomel Books, 2006
Number of pages: 32
Tags/Themes: Diversity, Culture, Emotion, Family, Fiction, Friendship, K-1, Meagan DeSalvo
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Descriptive Annotation: Translated to My Little Sister, My Mei Mei is a story of a young girl who gets her wish of a little sister. She grows up during the first years of her life pretending she is a big sister, but eventually her parents decide to adopt a baby from China. Unfortunately, Antonia did not like her new younger sister Ananda. Through time, though, the sisters became the best of friends. They protected each other when they needed protecting and also provided that person to go to with anything.
Each page is beautifully illustrated with full page watercolors. There is also the cultural aspect through the use of some Chinese words. The author reveals at the end in the author’s note that the story is based on his daughters.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: The story is based in the Chinese culture. The topics of the book include the Chinese culture, family, adoption, and friendship building. Students could be asked to explore any of these topics when reading the book.
For the social and emotional learning standards, this book loosely covers 3C.1b in which the student identifies and performs roles that contribute to one’s family. Part of being a family is protecting each other. Antonia stuck up for her little sister Ananda.
Other Information: This book could be included under the “warm and fuzzy” description. The growth seen in the main character, Antonia, in her love of her little sister develops through the story. The plot follows the standard emotional trends of a child receiving a newly adopted sibling of excitement, then dislike due to a lack of attention, and then a love.