“Paloma the Possible” is a recently published children’s adoption book that has just been added to the Tapestry Books website. Below, author Gail Lauren Karp, gives some great insight on this valuable resource.
“Paloma the Possible is a book that came about organically, over several years, and it continues to grow in organic ways.
It originated as an ongoing project that I did with my daughter when she was small, creating characters and talking about difficult subjects — race, identity and the loss inherent in adoption — through fictionalized storytelling. Over the years it grew into oversized volumes filled with text and collage that we’d done together, and finally it became a book that we shared with larger and larger audiences. It’s a story for kids, but it’s as importantly for parents, encouraging families to talk together and to listen together (and even to collage together if they’re inspired!)
I, (Gail Lauren Karp), am a writer and teacher as well as a parent, but this book is unlike anything I’ve worked on before. It took on a life of its own in the process of its creation and caught us by surprise frequently. It headed the Children’s/Young Adult category in Adoptive Families’ ‘Best Books of 2014’, and consequently, I wrote an article for that magazine about the book’s creation. My daughter and I interviewed each other for that article, entitled Letting Our Story Soar, in the Spring 2015 edition of that magazine. Contained within it are many reflections on the origin of, intentions behind, and responses to the book; an excerpt from that piece speaks to the philosophy of Paloma the Possible:
“In making the choice to share this work with larger circles of readers, we are hopeful that we can add something meaningful to their lives. Maybe our common experiences can guide future conversations as profound as our experience has been… The last lines of the book, after Paloma has begun the process of claiming and integrating all parts of her identity —
‘Or maybe I belong to them both.’
All one family.
Paloma is referring to her birth and adoptive families with this quote, but at many of the readings that we’ve done, we’ve invited the audience to paste or draw a picture of their own families onto an “All One Family Community Collage”. The interconnectedness of our lives, our families, and the parts of ourselves has been a guiding theme, and both the processes of creating and now sharing this book have given new meaning to that idea. (The book) can fly on without us, and we can take the lessons of possibility that we’ve learned from her into our lives.”
I’ve worked in many media in my writing and visual art, but this experience has been a unique labor of love and patience. As my daughter has said, “Paloma is about knowing that you don’t have to be exactly like your family if you don’t want to. You don’t have to look the same, think the same way, or like the same things. Your skin color doesn’t have to be the same. And you can always wonder about your birth family or your adopted family or whatever you want. It’s OK.” I sincerely hope that is the message that comes across to kids, families, teachers, adoptees, parents and anyone who reads this book.”