Talking to kids about adoption or fostering isn’t easy; our words and even our tone towards the topics can shape adopted and foster kids’ experiences and have a lasting impact on their mental and emotional health. But there are some amazing children’s books featuring adopted or foster kids that can help — teaching both kids and adults how to have thoughtful conversations about adoption and foster homes, and tackling subjects like grief, sadness, confusion, adaptation, and love.
In honor of National Adoption Month this November, we’ve gathered 10 books that are suitable for young children and teens and which center on adoption and foster care. These are beautiful, relatable stories guaranteed to open up discussions and let kids know that they’re not alone in their feelings or experiences.
Many children have questions about their birth, but what happens when a child’s parents weren’t there to recount all of the details? Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, written by Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell, tells the story of one young girl who loves to hear about the night her parents brought her into their family. This sweet book acknowledges that adopted children have an array of different stories and reminds readers that their births — and all of the moments since — are valuable and cherished by their families.
The adoption and foster care processes can be stressful for children who don’t always understand why their situations are changing. Sadly, these experiences can lead to increased risk for poorer physical and mental health in the long run, including depression and anxiety, according to a study commissioned by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Too often, these children will internalize their feelings as they may not believe they can confide in a trusted adult.
Morris and the Bundle of Worries, written by Jill Seeney and illustrated by Rachel Fuller, tells the story of Morris the Mole who hides his worries from his loved ones. Throughout the book, Morris’ friends help him to understand that they care about his feelings and want to help him face his problems. With their assistance, Morris learns that while it’s normal to feel worried sometimes, he doesn’t have to experience any of his emotions alone.
Placing a child into adoptive or foster care can be a complex and emotionally wrought decision for parents. Often, it can be just as confusing and challenging for children, who don’t understand why their lives are changing or why their parents may not be equipped to provide them with the care they need.
Elliot, written by adoptive mother Julie Pearson and illustrated by Manon Gauthier, is the story about a young rabbit whose parents believe another family could better care for him. Throughout the story, a social worker named Thomas helps Elliot navigate the foster care system in hopes of finding a family who can love and care for Elliot the way he deserves.
While the book has received a lot of positive recognition, some readers have said they felt the book seemed to place blame on Elliot for his changing circumstances because he cries and has outbursts. If you want to read this book with kids, you might want to explain that there’s nothing wrong with Elliot, or any other children in adoptive or foster care, and they are all worthy of love.