My Sister Speaks Russian

    “My Sister Speaks Russian,” Friend, July 2004, 30

    My Sister Speaks Russian

    (Based on a true story)

    My sister speaks Russian. Since she came to live with us, I have learned the Russian words for ice cream (morozhennoye), cat (koshka), and thank you (spasibo).

    My sister’s name is Sophie, and she is four years old. When she lived in Kazakhstan, her name was Nasipzhan. Mama and Papa changed her name after we adopted her and she came to America to live with us.

    Sophie doesn’t look like me or my brother. We have red hair, freckles, and a gap between our front teeth. Papa says we look like peaches with nutmeg and cream.

    Sophie has black hair, no freckles, olive-colored skin, and eyes shaped like almonds. Papa says Sophie looks like a porcelain doll. When she smiles, there’s a dimple in her cheek.

    We look different, but Sophie is still our sister. We play soccer together. We ride scooters together. We eat popcorn and drink chocolate milk together. We even wear chocolate milk mustaches together.

    My brother and I want Sophie to be part of our forever family. So do Mama and Papa. Soon we will go to the temple. We will wear white and meet together in a beautiful room. We will become a forever family.

    Until then, Sophie will come to my soccer games. We will go on long walks. We will eat popcorn and chase the cats and make lots of chocolate milk mustaches together.

    And I will tell Sophie how much I lubit her. Because lubit is the Russian word for love.

    Illustrated by Julie F. Young