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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  56 reviews
When Allison tries on the red kimono her grandmother has sent her, she is suddenly aware that she resembles her favorite doll more than she does her mother and father. When her parents try to explain that she is adopted, her world becomes an uncomfortable place. She becomes angry and withdrawn. She wonders why she was given up, what her real name is, and whether other chil ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 27th 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1997)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  254 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Description: When Allison tries on the red kimono her grandmother has sent her, she is suddenly aware that she resembles her favorite doll more than she does her mother and father. When her parents try to explain that she is adopted, her world becomes an uncomfortable place. She becomes angry and withdrawn. She wonders why she was given up, what her real name is, and whether other children have parents in faraway countries. Allison's doll becomes her only solace until she finds a stray cat in th ...more
Allison realises she doesn't look like her parents and is struggling with her feelings about this and being different. Although there isn't much text to the story and you could say that Allison's problems won't be solved be solved as easily as (view spoiler) this was an interesting look into this girls situation and the illustrations are beautiful.

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Lexie Wosk
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Allison is a young Asian-American girl who realizes that she is adopted. In the beginning, the story unfolds as Allison realizes that she does not physically look like her parents. After talking with a few students in her class, she discovers that she is the only one in her class that does not share the same physical features as her parents. Allison struggles to cope and she has a difficult time understanding why her biological parents had to give her away. The disappointment and sadness that Al ...more
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
The pictures were beautiful but the story was anxiety provoking. It expressed negative emotions but there was a lack of warmth to the book and I'm not sure it soothes enough for all the anxiety it provokes.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidstuff
Unlike the other kids at school, Allison doesn't look like her parents. This is making her pretty unhappy, until she finds a creature of her own to adopt.
Mr. Cody
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Right. In. The. Feels. I’ve read this book over a dozen times and it still gets me all misty-eyed in public. It’s so emotionally charged and I always feel like I’m on a roller coaster after I’m finished reading it. Highly recommend.
Children come from all different types of homes. Some children have parents that are divorced, some children live with their grandparents, and some children are adopted, just like Allison is in the book Allison.
In the book, Allison struggles with the fact that she is of Asian descent and her parents are not. Once she realizes that her parents are not her “real” mommy and daddy, she rebels. Allison feels alone and different. She only feels related to her doll Mei Mei who looks exactly like her. S
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it

Allison by Allen Say is a easy but interesting read that children may enjoy with a purposeful meaning behind the story. This fiction book is about a young girl who realizes that she looks nothing like the people she call mom and dad. Allison and her favorite doll have very similar features; much like people of Asian decent and it all makes sense to her when she figures out that she is adopted. After taking a step back to observe her classmates and their parents; Allison has a hard time accepting
Mary Crabtree
Feb 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-kid-books
I really enjoyed this simple story around a child's growing awareness of their own adoption.
The quick intake of breath when she realizes for the first time that there are "other" parents
out there. And that these "other parents" decided they could not care for her. Allen Say's story and illustrations ring with a quiet beautiful truth easily understood by the youngest of ages. This is a wonderful real-aloud.

Shaeley Santiago
Told from the perspective of a young girl, Allison begins to realize that she is quite different from her parents. At first, she doesn't completely understand why until they explain that she is adopted. It takes a cat to help Allison realize the true meaning of family.
Lesley Looper
Jun 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Good story which adds some insight into what some adopted children go through. Lovely illustrations from Allen Say, as usual.
Thomas S.
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Summary: Allison is a story about a little girl, who realizes she is adopted. Allison sees that her parents’ faces look nothing like her own Asian face and she starts asking a lot of questions. She is disappointed that her biological parents gave her away and she is angry at her mother and father for not being her real parents. She starts disobeying her parents and ruin their stuff, because she is angry and confused about who she really is. But one day, Allison finds a stray cat and she asks her ...more
Nicole Grote
I really enjoyed this book and felt that it had a great message. The story starts when young Allison realizes that she doesn't look like her parents (she's adopted) and it upsets her greatly. She goes to school and discovers that she is the only child in her class who says they don't look like their parents. When she goes home, she cause a wreck and is very angry at her parents. Then she notices a stray cat outside. After some discussion, the family decides that they will keep the cat and make i ...more
RLL2202017_Roxanna Jasso
This story is about a little Asian girl discovering that her parents are not her real parents, but her adoptive parents. Her 'parents' do not look like her or her doll. Because of this, she feels really different and rejects them as her parents. She takes notice that every other children look like their parents in some way. It is not until she finds and wants to adopt a stray cat that she realizes that some family find each other. This book touches on self identity and acceptance. This could be ...more
Ashley B.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this story because it is about a young girl who finds out she is adopted and struggles to cope with that information. She didn't think much of what her parents looked like or even her classmates, but when she was old enough to see how she didn't look anything like her parents or classmates, she began to question where she came from. Her parents were honest with her, but she didn't know what to think about having parents in a different country. This is a real feeling for those who are ado ...more
Cheriee Weichel
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an important book to include in your collection of books about families. Allison, an Asian girl, was adopted into a white family. This picture book deals with some of her struggles as she realizes that she does not look like her parents.
Tom Franklin
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An adopted child learns that love is love regardless of who makes up your 'family' thanks to a stray cat. Another fine Allen Say book.
Amanda Walz
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A story about adoption, anger and acceptance.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
i love Allen Say's works
i hope i can have all of them and read them to as much children as i can
This is a tender and sad story about a little girl who comes to find out she's adopted. She is very dismayed. It is a stray cat who helps her in the end.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
It addresses the feelings that children who are adopted go through which is important to address. However, the book does not really show any resolve. It just kind of ends.
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Title / Author / Publication Date:
Allison / Say, Allen. / 1997

Genre: Fiction

Format: Picture Book – print

Plot summary:
Allison, an Asian-American child, realizes she looks more like her favorite doll than her mother and father. When her parents try to explain that she is adopted she becomes angry, destroying her mother's childhood doll and father's baseball and glove, and full of questions. She wonders why she was given up, what her real name is, and whether other children also have parents from f
Xiaohui Yang
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I first got Allison, I cannot help staring at every illustration and comparing the facial expressions of Allison on every page. I decide to say that Say portrays the best kind of facial expressions that I could ever imagine. Just look at the pictures, I could read Allison’s heart; I could read what she thought and how she felt. Not only Allison, even Mei Mei, the doll of Allison, and the stray cat were brought to lives by vivid expressions. I fail to find any word to express my fondness for ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Allison is a stirringly realistic portrayal of the tension and inner sadness that can brew in the heart of a person who has felt or still feels unwanted, who feels that something about themselves wasn't worth keeping to the minds of those who should have loved them unconditionally with more reason than anyone else.

Allison is an Asian-American girl who was adopted from her original home and imported to the United States when she was young; so young, in fact, that she remembers nothing about her
In this story, Allison is a pre-school-age girl who finds out that she is adopted and is left feeling very different from her parents and classmates and unsure of who she is. Allen Say's illustrations are beautiful and assist to tell this story nicely. The concept is a good one and can easily be used with young children and primary-age grade school students when studying about different types of families. However, there are some things that I would go over such as the words "kimono," "mei-mei," ...more
After putting on a red kimono sent as a gift from her grandmother, Allison looks in the mirror and realizes that she looks very little like her parents. In fact, wearing the kimono makes her resemble her beloved doll, Mei Mei. Slowly, it dawns on the young girl that the two individuals she has been calling Mommy and Daddy are not her birth parents. She misbehaves and expresses her frustration by sulking, refusing to speak, and destroying objects that are precious to her Mother and Father. A stra ...more
Mackenzie Loula
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Allison is a great children's book that talks about adoption in a way that children can relate to and understand. Confused as to why she looks more like her doll than her parents, Allison is told by her adopted parents that her birth parents could not keep her, so she moved to the United States so she could live with her adopted family. Allison is consumed by sadness after finding out about her adoption, because she feels as if her real parents did not want her. Allison is unsure of who she is, ...more
Chandler Huotari
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, culture
"Allison" is the story of an adopted girl coming to terms with her identity and place in her family structure. The illustrations in this book complement the text and lead to a more dynamic and engaging reader experience. When she realizes she does not resemble her parents, she is confused and puzzled. No one else at her school is like this, and she does not understand why. She realizes she looks more like her doll than anyone. This book could resonate with any student who is feeling out of place ...more
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
Allen Say's books are quite distinctive and always attractive, this is the first of his books that I've read. Hmmmm, I see what this book is trying to do, I just don't know if I quite believe how it does it. Beautifully illustrated with moving paintings, Allison is the story of a young girl adopting from Japan into a Caucasian American family. A loving family. She has her special doll Mei Mei to remind her of her homeland. One day with a level of insight possibly beyond a preschooler Allison rea ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-books
I would not have checked out this book if I had pre-read it first. This book gave a negative view of adoption because her parents waited until she was in preschool to tell her. Poor Allison felt different and alienated from her parents. Adopted kids should know from day one that they were "chosen" and not wait until other kids or realizations lead them to the conclusion. I am so happy that my 5 year old thought this was "stupid" as well. Her best friend was adopted from China and they have talke ...more
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Allen Say is one of the most beloved artists working today. He is the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, and also won a Caldecott Honor and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (written by Dianne Snyder). Many of Allen’s stories are derived from his own experiences as a child. His other books include THE BICYCLE MAN, TEA WITH MILK, and TREE OF ...more

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