BOOK REVIEWS

My Baby Sister Is a Preemie (Helping Kids Heal) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-08-15 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 8 user ratings
ISBN:B0032UPUSC
LANGUAGE:English

"We struggled to explain the circumstances around our adoption of a 27 week preemie to our 5 1/2 year old, including the fact that he would be in a newborn ICU for several months before coming home. With fantastic illustrations and clear, easy to understand prose, this book is an incredible support to parents struggling to explain prematurity to young children. The book does not sugar coat, but presents facts and images in clear, simple to understand ways that are reassuring and validating. Although our family circumstances are very different from the family depicted in this book (we're lesbian moms adopting our third child, a son), my son instantly connected with the young protagonist. Although the book has a slight religious overtone, religion is treated very briefly and respectfully and should not turn off families who are either not religious or of another religion from the family in the book. All in all, this book is a wonderful tool for parents struggling to explain a complex and challenging situation to their young children, and I strongly recommend it." said.

"A half a million babies are born premature each year, yet there are next to no picture books available about preemies. That's why "My Baby Sister is a Preemie" by Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse Diana M. Amadeo is so special.

One family's story is told through the eyes of Sarah, a young girl of about seven or eight. One morning she wakes up to find her aunt in her bedroom. "Your mommy went into labor," the aunt says. "Her body wants to have the baby. But it's a little too early. The doctors will try some medicine to keep the baby inside."

Later that day, Sarah's father picks her up from school and tells her she now has a baby sister named Amy. The baby, he says, was born early and is very sick. When Amy visits her sister at the hospital, she's in a clear box called an incubator and has lots of wires and tubes on her body. She's smaller than Sarah's doll. A nurse explains the incubator keeps Amy warm and that a special machine helps her to breathe. She also shows Sarah a tube in Amy's arm that gives the baby fluids.

Things are different now that Amy is born. Sarah's mother spends much of the day at the hospital, and when she's home, she behaves differently. Sarah's mother confesses she's afraid. Sarah asks if Amy is going to die and her mother says, "I don't know....[But] pray for Amy. God is with baby Amy just like he's with us here at home."

Some time passes, and one day Sarah's parents seem happier. Amy is doing better and Sarah can visit her again. Amy looks bigger and has fewer wires attached to her. She has a tube in her throat for feedings, though, as well as wires leading to a monitor that show her breathing and heartbeat. Sarah gets to hold Amy, even so, and notes that she's lighter than her dolls.

The book closes with the idea that Amy will soon gain a little more weight and come home from the hospital. Sarah prays: "Thank you, God, for being with Amy - even in her little box."

The last two pages of the book include some guidelines written by R. Scott Stehouwer, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Calvin College. The doctor explains what Sarah's parents did right in the story (including listening to Sarah's concerns and being honest about what was happening with the baby) and how siblings of preemies can be helped through a difficult NICU stay.

What I Like: It's so rare to see accurate depictions of preemies in the media that my first round of kudos go to the illustrator, Cheri Bladholm. She shows baby Amy actually looking like a preemie: skin and bones and sunken, sleepy eyes. As a NICU nurse, Amadeo also does an excellent job of portraying a preemie's life accurately. And if you're afraid all this realism will scare your child, I think it's unlikely. There's nothing truly scary about these images. Everything is explained matter-of-factly, and young children respond well to that. Also, don't worry that this book is only suitable for children who have a premature sibling. It also works for any child who is curious about preemies.

What I Dislike: This volume doesn't touch upon all the difficult changes a child can expect after a preemie comes home...but perhaps that's for another book.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Kristina Seleshanko, Managing Editor, Christian Children's Book Review
" said.

"I just gave birth to 24 week micropreemie twins. This book made my 3 year old son so comfortable that we took him to meet the girls for the first time the day after we read this to him. It explains things perfectly for his stage, yet it is realistic enough so that when he walked into the NICU everything was not scary. I highly recommend this book." said.

"I am a first grade teacher and my students love this book. It seems many of them can relate to this story as so many of them know someone who has had a preemie. This story is very helpful to young children who have a younger sibling who was born early. It is also good as a classroom read aloud. I highly recommend it!" said.

"This book is a great book for parents to read to
Children. It is very life like with not to much details
For little children.
" said.

"This is a WONDERFUL book for siblings of preemies.
I have a 5 year old who just couldn't quite understand why her sister was in the hospital, why she couldn't see her etc. This is a great way for parents to communicate to the brother or sister of the preemie. This book provided just enough information to help them understand, but not too much to make them scared. My daughter actually "reads" this book to her little sister now that she's home, to show her where she was when she was little. :)
" said.

"My sister gave birth at 24 weeks very unexpectedly. I bought this book for the big brother age 4. Both parents sat down with him and read him the book. They all seemed to like the book and it answered many questions I'm sure the 4 year old had. Great book for difficult circumstances." said.

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