Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wo der nordwind weht

Wo der nordwind weht 
by Margaret P. Ritter 
illus. by Karina Wacker 
Language: German
Vienna : Bright Knight Books, 2013. 
15 p. : col. ill. ; cm. 
ISBN: 9783950342017 
My annotation: This book is the first children’s book published out of Austria about donor conception. It is written as a fairy tale by a single mother for her daughter and is a warm, loving tribute to the miracle of her daughter’s very existence. It begins as her daughter Sunny, an impatient soul waits to be born, dying to be born, so that she may “let her light shine and … set free all her sparkling vitality on earth among the living.” But she must wait until the right person selects her so that she may be born. The book talks about how the souls of all children are meant to be no matter how they get here and that children must wait until they are “struck by … (the) shooting beam of (the) love” of their parents to be born into the “garden of life.” It hints that a man is needed in order to make a baby but also hints at immaculate conception as Sunny was conceived “without a man so much as touching” her mother. She was conceived in Denmark, the land “where the northwind blows” and the country to which her mother traveled from Austria where the use of sperm donation for single mothers and lesbians is rather liberal. It is an entirely personal story, written by this mother for this child and although it never uses the word “donor” or any of the usual terms associated with assisted conception, the book does however use big words like “bagatelle,” “pristine,” and “joi-de-vivre.” The book presents the “labor of love” script and takes both a family-building and a child-conception approach and ultimately counsels to both children and adults that we have the children we are meant to have. Although the concepts presented here are a bit abstract for younger children, the book was inspired by her three-year-old daughter's question, "Mama, where is my father?" For this reason it is recommended both for children ages 3-5 and 5-8. Simultaneously published in both German and English.