The Adventures of Squirky the Alien #3: Who Is the Red Commander? by Melanie Lee and Illustrated by David Liew

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PSA: My friend Melanie’s new book is out! The Adventures of Squirky the Alien #3: Who Is the Red Commander? by Melanie Lee and Illustrated by David Liew is the third in a series of six picture books about adoption. Melanie wrote these books for her preschool-aged son; he was adopted as an infant.

Who Is the Red Commander? is about boldness, facing one’s fears and past, and forgiveness. In her author’s note, Melanie writes: “For many [families], the process of revelation, acceptance, and healing [are] cyclical and requires loving patience from everyone… there are always lessons learned and new strength drawn upon looking back… As I prepare to disclose to my young son this year that he is adopted, these are important reminders for me and my husband.”

And, frankly, it is this deep personal connection that Melanie has to this material that make these books ring so emotionally true, for every child, adopted or biological. My preschooler asks to read the Books #1, #2, and #3 over and over again.

Who Is the Red Commander? also includes a FAQ for parents of young adoptees as Why Am I Blue? did! As I’ve written here, such a culturally-specific resource is hard to find in Singapore, and is utterly invaluable. In Who Is the Red Commander? Melanie offers parents a script for answering well-meaning, but often intrusive and offensive, adoption questions, such as “How much did you pay for this child?” and “Isn’t this child so lucky to have been adopted by you?” In her suggested replies, she addresses health uncertainties, the cultural notion filial piety, and the savior complex that surrounds adoptive parents.