Cover image for The White Swan express : a story about adoption
The White Swan express : a story about adoption
Okimoto, Jean Davies.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
32 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Across North America, people in four different homes prepare for a special trip to China, while four baby girls in China await their new adoptive parents.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.3 0.5 67128.
Geographic Term:
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



In China, the moon shines on four baby girls, fast asleep in an orphanage. Far away in North America, the sun rises over four homes as the people who live there get ready to start a long, exciting journey. This lovely story of people who travel to China to be united with their daughters describes the adoption process step by step and the anxiety, suspense, and delight of becoming a family. Told with tenderness and humor, and enlivened by joyous illustrations, The White Swan Express will go straight to readers' hearts. Afterword.

Author Notes

Jean Davies Okimoto is an author and playwright whose books and short stories have been translated into Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, German and Hebrew. She is the recipient of numerous awards including Smithsonian Notable Book, the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, the Washington Governor's Award, and the International Reading Association Readers Choice Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K^-Gr. 3. This heartwarming story, based on Aoki and her husband's experience adopting a Chinese infant, tracks the journey of seven people from four adoptive families who are traveling from their homes in North America to China to meet their new baby daughters. The story moves back and forth between the families and the four children awaiting adoption in a Chinese orphanage. The adoptive parents are a diverse group--two married couples, one white, the other Asian; a single woman; and a pair of women (it's not clear whether the two women are a lesbian couple). The story describes the legal process involved as well as overwhelming feelings associated with bringing a child into a new family. So's lovely watercolors are a whirl of activity, offering glimpses of the sights and sounds of the faraway land. An afterword fills in a little background about Chinese culture and about the government policy of allowing a family only one child. A complement to the study of China as well a good book to explain adoption. --Lauren Peterson

Publisher's Weekly Review

This tender, ebullient picture book tracks a quartet of parents in North America and a quartet of baby girls in China as everyone prepares for the "special day" they meet. Okimoto (the daughter of an adoptee) and Aoki (the mother of an adoptee) effectively contrast the flurry of excited activity on one side of the world ("In Toronto, Howard Suzuki sang in the shower while Jessica dried her hair") with the peacefully slumbering babies on the other ("Li Shen snuggled on her side. Qian Ye slept curled in a ball"). Readers get a peek at the mechanics of international adoption (including the long plane trip and bus ride to the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou) and the emotions of the prospective parents (the government waiting room was "as silent as still water." But their hearts "thumped like drums and fluttered like the wings of a bird"). Set against clean white backdrops, So's (Tasty Baby Belly Buttons) expressive watercolors bloom like spring flowers. The parents emerge as distinct individuals, each exuding a unique energy-an impressive feat given the economy of line with which the artist articulates each impressionistic illustration. With its matter-of-fact mix of parents that include two married couples, a lesbian couple and a single mother, the book's understated message-that families come in all shapes and sizes, and are bound together by love-comes through loudly and clearly. Ages 5-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Lovely Asian-inspired watercolors and an engaging text tell the story of four baby girls from a Chinese orphanage and the families who adopt them. First readers meet the North American families, including a single mother and another consisting of two female partners. They anxiously make the trip halfway around the world to the Chinese city of Guangzhou where they become acquainted at the White Swan Hotel. Juxtaposed against the excited, expectant parents are portraits of darling, slumbering babies. The prospective moms and dads are shown waiting anxiously in a room of the orphanage before they finally meet their children. Then they must negotiate the bureaucracy of foreign adoptions before going home. The four families keep in touch after their homecoming, especially during Chinese New Year. An afterword describes the real-life parallel experience of the coauthor. Though slightly longer, this title compares favorably to both Rose Lewis's I Love You Like Crazy Cakes (Little, Brown, 2000) and Stephen Molnar-Fenton's An Mei's Strange and Wondrous Journey (DK Ink, 1998; o.p.). There is no pronunciation guide for the Chinese words and phrases. Despite this quibble, this charming offering successfully joins the growing collection of literature about adoption.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.