For me, summer books need to be easy, light, and preferably packed with a ton of murder. Maybe you like things a little less gruesome? If you are looking for a sweet summer read about adoption, you might consider giving My Little Valentine  by KelLee Parr a try—it will leave you uplifted, enriched, and there are absolutely no murders involved.

In “Valentine,” Parr chronicles the way he sort of stumbled into reuniting his mother with her birth mother—not an easy task to accomplish since the adoption took place in Kansas in the 1920s! Prompted while he was searching for lesson plan material in the basement of a city hall, he realized that the microfiche records he had always been told were in the state of Missouri could possibly be in Kansas City, Kansas. Through a combination of determination, divine help, and sheer dumb luck, Parr manages to locate not only his birth grandmother, but a whole family tree of cousins.

As his story progresses, he chronicles the circumstances that led to his grandmother, a sixteen-year-old unwed mother, giving birth in a home for girls in the same “situation,” and how she desperately wished to be able to raise her baby, whom she named Marcia and delivered around Valentine’s Day. He includes images of the original paperwork, including the “For Your Consideration” letter of sorts that Marcia’s adoptive parents wrote to the matron of the home. He continues the story chronicling how both birth mother and child longed to meet, but never thought it would be possible.

“My Little Valentine” is a quick, clear read and would be appropriate for young adults and older, especially those considering open adoption or family reunification. The final sentiment of the story suggests that we would all be better knowing where our history begins, and that family is truly forever—no matter what. From the author’s dedication: “ . . . to all the heartbroken young women who gave their babies up for adoption. Never give up hope.”

Parr’s story of his mother and grandmother is truly an example of this sentiment.