Stephanie Burks’ While You Were Sleeping (2004)

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping, a 2004 publication by Burks Publishing/Trafford, is lyrically written by Stephanie Burks and brightly illustrated by Kelli Bienvenu. The brief book, about two moms waiting for the baby they are adopting to be born, and loving the child from the moment they meet, is a sweet story to read while soothing a new arrival.

The refrain “while you were sleeping” is repeated through the text as the mothers’ describe bonding by holding the baby and singing “lullabies we never thought we would get a chance to sing.”

While You Were Sleeping is still available from the publisher. I appreciate the focus on adoption, especially interracial adoption; the baby is illustrated with very light brown skin and tight black curls, the mothers are white.

I really like this book but would prefer it as a board book. It’s most suitable for a very young audience because of its length and content and little hands can do a lot of damage!

This review is part of my “Snapshots of LGBTQ Kid Lit” project. I’m working on a book, The New Queer Children’s Literature: Exploring the Principles and Politics of LGBTQ* Children’s Picture Books, which is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. Part of my research is identifying and interpreting English-language children’s picture books with LGBTQ* content published in the US and Canada between 1979 and 2019. Follow my blog to follow my journey!

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