It’s always thrilling to see one of our books get reviewed. I guess it’s like watching your best friend hit a home run or get a standing ovation or something. It’s especially thrilling when a book gets reviewed years after its release date.
On July 1, Adoption.com featured a review of The Not in Here Story. This adoption story by Tracey Zeeck with illustrations by puppeteer David Bizzaro came out in November 2016, but since then it has continued to move families, educators, and reviewers with its simple message one doesn’t have to travel far and wide to find a child to love.
The story about how this review came to be starts last September, when we reached out to a few of our fans and supporters to gauge their interest in helping us raise money to help us donate hundreds of copies of The Not in Here Story to three different agencies: Catholic Charities, the non-profit that helped Tracey and her husband Andy with their adoption of their son; the Oklahoma Department of Human Services; and HelpUsAdopt.org, a non-profit in New York City that helps prospective adoptive parents with the high costs of adoption. We knew about HelpUsAdopt.org because they had invited Tracey and illustrator David to be guests at their annual fundraiser called Faces of Adoption last year.
On November 1st of last year, the first day of National Adoption Month, we donated 264 copies of The Not in Here Story to HelpUsAdopt.org. Why 264? Since 2007, HelpUsAdopt.org has awarded nearly $2.5 million in financial assistance, enabling 264 families to complete the cost of adopting their child. HelpUsAdopt.org is the only organization of its kind that provides families regardless of race, religion, marital status, or sexual orientation with life-changing adoption grants up to $15,000.
Meanwhile, Julia K. Porter was a big fan of both HelpUsAdopt.org and The Not in Here Story. Julia had reached out to HelpUsAdopt founder Becky Fawcett when she and her husband began their adoption journey and they’ve stayed friends ever since. Julia purchased The Not in Here Story when it came out in 2016 and loved it so much, both as a story and as a tool to educate people about adoption, that she purchased extra copies to give to friends and family as gifts.
When she saw that HelpUsAdopt was promoting Tracey’s book at an event, she reached back out to tell Becky how glad she was and to inquire about getting the books in bulk so she could provide each child in her daughter’s kindergarten class with a copy of the book. Becky and HelpUsAdopt donated a copy for each of her daughter’s classmates! Julia visited to read the book to Brooklyn’s class and, well, the picture below says it all.
Which brings us back to the recent review on Adoption.com. Reviewer Julia K. Porter (yes, the same Julia K. Porter!) writes “This is a story that explains adoption in such a way that kids want to learn more about it. It’s sensitive about a subject that needs to be treated cautiously, and of course, it has a clear storyline that children can understand.” Porter adds that “Another reason the book is so popular is the amazing illustrations by puppeteer David Bizzaro. My daughter particularly loves how everyone is a different color, which sheds light on transracial adoption and that not all families look the same.”
Thank you, Julia K. Porter, for your lovely words about The Not in Here Story and for your efforts to educate other children about adoption. We are so glad that Brooklyn and her classmates love the book. Thank you, Becky Fawcett, for donating copies to Brooklyn’s classmates! Thank you, Tracey, for writing a story that helps start big conversations between kids and adults. And thank you, puppeteer David, for the illustrations that bring it so vividly to life. Standing ovation!