Cleo Edison Oliver in Persuasion Power

By Sundee T. Frazier Arthur A. Levine Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-0-545-82239-8, 242 pages, $16 In the book, titled for the character, “Cleo Edison Oliver in Persuasion Power,” Cleo is a charming girl on a mission to launch her own business. As she works to take the hair clip world by storm, she also ponders deep, meaningful questions. Adopted as a baby, Cleo knows nothing about her birth family and often wonders: Would my birth parents love me? Are my parents a lot like me? As she wrestles with these questions her adoptive parents help her navigate some of her thoughts and feelings around her adoption that looks different from her brothers’ very open adoption. As she grapples with questions about who she is and why her siblings have relationships with their birth parents and she doesn’t, Cleo’ parents offer her plenty of opportunity to talk about her adoption and ask questions. As her journey continues Cleo makes new friends and she finally meets her birth father, discovering more about who she is, and answering some of her questions. “Cleo Edison Oliver in Persuasion Power,” is a great book that most pre-teens will enjoy. Cleo’s character is also charming and relatable with her talkativeness and enthusiasm. Adopted children will be able to easily relate to Cleo’s thoughts and emotions, as well as some of the questions she gets about adoption from friends at school. Adoptees will find themselves relating to Cleo’s experiences and hopefully it will help them understand that they aren’t alone on their adoption journey — there are many children living similar experiences. The adoption dialogue is handled well and can even be easily replicated by adoptive parents in conversations with their own children. Parents should be aware that there is much adoption discussion in the book, so it may bring up things for their child, most of which they are already thinking about. Hopefully parents can use the book as a tool to more openly discuss adoption in their own home. — Reviewed by Brianna Hansel with Kim Hansel  

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