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Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite
Speranza’s Sweater, written by Marcy Pusey and illustrated by Beatriz Mello, is a story about foster homes and adoption from the point of view of a girl named Speranza. Speranza is now grown up and has a child of her own who asks her about an old sweater she keeps. As a mom, Speranza shows her child how the sweater is a clue in the mystery of her life. Some of the yarn in this sweater was there when she was taken away from her birth mom. It was one of the few special things she took with her. Over the years, while she lived with foster families, that sweater wore out, but she didn’t want to part with it. Her mother came to visit and asked if her foster family had the money to buy her a new sweater. Speranza explained that this sweater was special. She was keeping it. When Speranza became part of a new family, her new grandmother took the yarn from the old sweater and wove it with new yarn into a new, bigger sweater, symbolic of her new life.
If a home isn’t safe, social workers come to the home and take the children to live with a new family. This new family is called a foster family. The life of a child in a foster family isn’t easy. They miss their parents and their old home. The new family eats different food and has different ways of doing things. Speranza’s Sweater by Marcy Pusey follows the life of Speranza as she lives in many foster homes, gets separated from her brothers, and finally comes to live with a new family that adopts her. Speranza tests the rules. The new family discovers her telling a lie, and taking food from the refrigerator. They don’t send her away. She has lived with so many families that she is afraid to start liking this family, but she does. Speranza’s child now understands that the sweater, with its new yarn and new weaving, tells the story of his mother’s life. This is a useful book to introduce foster families and adoption to young children.