Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I already know how special you are

I already know how special you are
by Chelle Stuck
illustrated by Mary Mielke
Language: English
Lulu, 2006
49 pp.
ISBN: 1847285996; 9781847285997
Summary: This is a wonderful story telling a new baby how special God made him/her. The illustrations by Mary Mielke are black and white to attract babies attention. This is of special interest to couples who had a difficult time conceiving.  

How you came to us

How you came to us 
by Theresa Cernak Bowder
illustrations by Patricia Cernak, LouAnn Nolan 
Language: English 
Victoria, B.C. : Trafford, ©2005. 
[20] p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm. 
ISBN: 1412051576; 9781412051576 
Summary: As the first answer to a very young child's question, "Where Did I Come From?", this book uses angels as the messenger who brings babies into the world by a very special process.

I love you this much

I love you this much
by Katina Cahill
illustrated by Miss Robart's 1st Grade Class at Keswick Christian School
Language: English
Victoria, B.C. : Trafford, ©2004.
[24] p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm.
ISBN: 1412043883; 9781412043885
Summary: A mommy and a daddy desperately want a child to love. While "bursting" with love to give, they feel "empty" because they have no child to give it to. They try month after month, year after year, but no baby comes. Their hope gradually turns into sadness and despair, until one day when the mommy becomes ill. A rush to the doctor reveals that the mommy is pregnant and will soon have a baby to love "more than anything in the world." Joy and anticipation replace sadness and despair, and the arrival of their blessed son is the best thing in the world.  

As many children as the stars

As many children as the stars
by Doris Ortiz Garcia
Language: English
Mustang, OK: Tate Pub & Enterprises Llc, 2010.
36 pp.
ISBN: 1616636084; 9781616636081
Summary: Once upon a time...a husband and wife, who loved children's stories, longed for children of their own to share with them their favorite stories. The Master Teller promises the couple As Many Children as the Stars, but they must go on a challenging journey. They must first choose the one story, and then they must seek out the one child who will read the one story and believe, allowing the miracle to begin. This quest is not easy, and along the way, it begins to seem that the husband and wife will never find the one child. Will they lose hope, or will they keep faith and find the one child the Master Teller has promised will lead them to gathering As Many Children as the Stars? Find out in this endearing modern-day fable.

The hen that couldn't lay an egg

The hen that couldn't lay an egg
by Clyde Smith
illustrated by Bob and Shane Bainbridge
Language: English
Publish America, 2011
32 pp.
ISBN: 9781462637966
Summary: Oh how Miss Priscilla wanted some baby chicks of her own, but this wasn't happening. Day after day, she would hop into a nest and try to make an egg, but all in vain. No matter how much time she spent on her nest, it was always empty. One day, Mrs. Jones laid an ostrich egg down in the grass beside the driveway to get it out of the way while the car was unloaded. After the suitcases were carried into the house, Mrs. Jones returned to get the egg and was surprised to see Priscilla sitting on top of it. She had to laugh to see such a funny site. Priscilla was perched on top with her legs hanging down on either side of the egg, and trying hard not to fall off. She had to call her husband to come see how ridiculous this hen looked sitting atop that big egg. That would only be the beginning. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

אוצר קטן / Otzar Katan / Little treasure

אוצר קטן / Little treasure / Otzar Katan 
by Anat Georgy
illustrated by Shahar Leibovich
translated by Evie Goldfarb
Language: English
CreateSpace, 2011
24 p. : col. ill. ; 21 x 21 cm.
ISBN: 1466366168; 9781466366169
My annotation: This is the story of Natalie, a single woman, who is looking for a “treasure that will fill her heart with love.” She looks everywhere but cannot find it. During her travels around town, she stops to rest in a playground and it hits her that the treasure she seeks is inside of her - her own egg. So she visits a doctor who tells her that all she needs is “one special sperm” to match her egg. He gives her the sperm and she goes home to introduce it to her egg, but she is not successful at first. After several months of trying to get the sperm and the egg to “connect,” she is finally successful and together they turn into a “teeny-tiny embryo.” That embryo “arranged a lovely room for himself inside Natalie’s womb,” and stayed there for nine months until the day she felt the baby was ready to come out. Grandma and Grandpa and aunts and uncles visit both mother and child in the hospital and the story ends when she looks at her “little treasure” and her heart fills with love. The book introduces children to the terms, “sperm,” “egg,” “embryo,” and “womb,” but the word “donor” is not mentioned. This book takes a child-conception and a family-building approach and employs the “labor of love” script. Among the full-color professional illustrations are several renderings of sperm trying to woo the egg. Recommended for children ages 3-5.

Also available in Hebrew from:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Library of Congress Finally Acknowledges Donor Offspring: (But this is only a beginning)

In 2009, I published an article for the American Fertility Association entitled, "Librarians at a Loss to Help Donor Offspring," which I just last month reworked for the AASL blog. In it, I talked about the difficulty identifying books for parents and donor offspring children due to a lack of recognition by the Library of Congress in the form of an official subject heading. In 2010, Patricia Mendell and I published an article in Children & Libraries about self-published children's picture books about assisted reproductive technology. It included an extensive annotated bibliography of about 38 titles which was the entire number of books that we were able to identify at that time. (The number of children's books on that topic has since doubled).

The list was significant because, other than the list first published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and compiled by Elaine Gordon, PhD and Ellen Speyer, MFT and the ASRM Education Committee, there was no other comprehensive list of children's books on this subject. As a librarian, such a list should have been a breeze to compile. I figured I would start with ASRM's list and then search for those books in the Library of Congress, see what subject headings were assigned to catalog them, and then create a new list. Well, it turned out, that would be impossible as the Library of Congress had no subject headings for "Donor offspring," "Children of gamete donors, or "Children of surrogate mothers," let alone subject headings for children of egg donors, sperm donors, or embryo adoption. Having already identified a few titles about these subjects that were included in the Library of Congress, but not cataloged as such, I wrote to them and suggested they create a new subject heading, "Donor-conceived," defined as individuals who have been created via sperm, eggs, or embryos donated by another person (a gamete donor). I also figured that since I myself was a librarian, my suggestion would have some influence. This is what I wrote:
There are many subject headings for "Children of --", i.e. Children of celebrities, Children of rabbis, Children of single parents, etc., but there are no subject headings for "Children of sperm donors" or "Children of surrogate mothers" or any of the assisted reproductive technologies. As a librarian, I have identified over 40 children's and YA books that have major characters who are the children of sperm donors, egg donors, etc., which is crucial to the plot and purpose of the book. Yet there is no subject heading under which to search for these books. My lists are here: and here: if you would like to see the books I've identified. There are more than enough to constitute the creation of a new LC subject heading. I would love to hear back from you on this as well. I'm a huge fan of the LC and I am at your site every day for my work.
However, this is the response I received:
We have not had the need to establish a heading for the children of sperm donors, as we have not cataloged any items that specifically focus of that topic. The existing headings have been adequate for the items that we've cataloged. We establish new headings only as they are needed for cataloging new works being added to our collection.
Not deterred, I wrote back to them:
How about "Artificial insemination, Human -- Offspring" or "Surrogate mothers -- Offspring?" These subject headings focus on the parents who produce these children, but there are no subjects yet for the donor-conceived. For example, the book: Sperm Donor Offspring: Identity and Other Experiences by Lynne W. Spencer, has as its subject headings: "Sperm banks -- United States" and "Artificial insemination, Human" but other than the title, the average patron might not know that this is a book about donor offspring if they were searching for a book that addressed the specific concerns of donor offspring.
And this is what they wrote back:
Our practice has been to use headings such as "Artificial insemination, Human" and "Surrogate motherhood" to catalog works on this topic.
That was in April 2009. Fast forward to June 2012 when I received a letter from noted radical librarian Sanford Berman, who is to the Library of Congress what Socrates was to ancient Athens and who is the subject of his own biography, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sandy Berman But Were Afraid to Ask. He read our article in Children & Libraries in August 2010 and himself wrote to the Library of Congress on our behalf suggesting they add the subject heading "Donor offspring" based on the extensive list of children's books put forth in our article. His letter informed me that the Library of Congress had finally decided to create a new subject heading for "Children of sperm donors." I jumped out of my chair when I read this! While some would like to believe that this announcement by the Library of Congress marks the beginning of an official public acknowledgement recognizing the existence of families created with the help of donors, the reality is that once again the rights of the donor-conceived are still being only partially represented and totally misunderstood. It is clear that the Library of Congress, in creating this new subject heading for "Children of sperm donors," has shown that they lack a genuine understanding of the donor offspring created with gamete donation, but also the implications both medically and psychologically surrounding the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART), as they also use the subject heading "Test tube babies" for children conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) even though they are created in petri dishes and not test tubes.

While their new subject heading follows their own convention for "Children of --," as in "Children of gay parents," and "Children of single parents," (two official LC subject headings), it is less than adequate and quite limiting for librarians trying to help these families find resources, as only one group of donor offspring is represented - children of sperm donors. If the subject heading must be listed under children, then it should be entitled "Children of gamete donors." Other variants then could be "Donor-conceived" or "Donor offspring."

While some will feel positively now that the Library of Congress has at last begun to acknowledge children created through donation with the assistance of another person, my colleague and co-author Patricia Mendell is less optimistic. "As a mental health practitioner who has been working in the field of reproductive medicine for over 25 years, the decision by the Library of Congress to create a subject heading for only one group of donor offspring is not only disappointing and frustrating, but hurtful and offensive to the thousands of donor-conceived individuals and their families who have been created with the help of assisted reproductive technologies."

When I decided to write to the Library of Congress in 2009, it was clear that they needed to create an all encompassing subject heading for the donor-conceived. Also, using the subject heading "Donor-conceived" would be the best and most accurate subject heading since it would recognize all individuals created with the help of a donor. The subject heading "Children of sperm donors" used for "Sperm donors' children," seems to imply an ownership or affiliation that may or may not feel accurate to the donor-conceived.

While the next step might be to get the Library of Congress to create subject headings for "Children of egg donors," "Children of surrogate mothers," and "Children of embryo donation," we would suggest instead that they look at the subject heading "Donor-conceived." Although it was possible to find some of this material using the existing Library of Congress subject headings like "Infertility," and "Artificial insemination -- Human," there was nothing that identified the experience of being a donor offspring. Books such as Janice Grimes' book series, Before you were born: our wish for a baby were cataloged as "Artificial insemination -- Human." And the Iréné Celcer series, Hope and Will have a baby was cataloged with "Infertility," and "Test tube babies" as subject headings. These subject headings were wholly inaccurate and inadequate. So how to find these books will remain a big challenge if one is looking for books about those conceived via surrogate mother, egg, and embryo donation.

I plan to continue to write to the Library of Congress and share with them the books that I have discovered without the help of a Library of Congress subject heading, urging them to create further change in how they catalog their books for this population of children. We know that of the many children's books on this subject, over 95 percent have been self-published, but many have not been sent to the copyright office of the Library of Congress. We would ask that these authors register their books and in so doing put pressure on the Library of Congress that they must, and need to, have a subject heading for "Donor-conceived."

 This post was co-authored with Patricia Mendell