2016 brought about some incredible children’s books about adoption –check them out here.
Real Sisters Pretend, by Megan Dowd Lambert; illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
Tayja and Mia love to pretend, scaling the living room sofa as “hiking princesses,” but one thing they don’t have to pretend to be is sisters. The author shares that this warm story was inspired by two of her own daughters. Asked by a stranger whether they were “real sisters,” the girls were baffled. They may not look alike or share the same birth mother, but they are sisters through and through.
As Real as It Gets, by Amanda Barton; illustrated by Natalie Hart
A young African-American boy feels angry, like a cobra, a T-rex, or like there’s a “gas bubble growing inside me,” and shouts “You’re not my real mother!” His mother, who’s white, stays with him as he processes his feelings rather than try to explain them away, and says, “I’m as real as it gets and I’m not giving up, I’m your mother in truth. Your mother. Forever.” Vibrant illustrations accompany the reassuring tale.
My New Mom & Me, by Renata Galindo
A young dog comes to live with a cat. He is nervous and paints stripes all over himself, trying to be more like his new mom. She reassures him that she likes that he looks different, and that it’s OK to feel sad or mad. Soon, he realizes he likes looking different, too, and that his mom is his mom. Charming illustrations perfectly complement this gentle story.
Doc McStuffins: A Baby Doll for Doc, by Sheila Sweeny Higginson
Last year the TV series Doc McStuffins ran a well-done storyline about the McStuffins family adopting a baby. In this companion book, Doc gets a new doll and practices being a babysitter. While it focuses more on taking care of a new baby than the specifics of adoption, this lift-the-flap, pull-the-tab book featuring an African-American girl and her family should be a hit with toddlers and preschoolers.
Elliot, by Julie Pearson; illustrated by Manon Gauthier
A young rabbit lives with his mother and father who love him, but have difficulty meeting his needs. A social worker takes Elliot to a foster home. After two more placements, he’s adopted by a forever family. There are very few children’s books about foster adoption, and Elliot deserves recognition for its portrayal of the birth parents as loving, and for the whimsical illustrations, but it could leave a young child worrying that the child’s behavior caused him to be placed in care, or why Elliot’s parents couldn’t just be offered help to care for him. Parents should pre-read this one and will probably want to adapt some of the language.
Jazzy’s Quest: What Matters Most (vol. 2), by Juliet C. Bond, LCSW, and Carrie Goldman; illustrated by Jeff Weigel
The main character of this engaging middle-grade reader series is a transracial adoptee growing up in an open adoption. In the second installment, a birthday party invitation means Jasmine, or “Jazzy,” must choose between a new friend, who was also adopted, and the lure of popularity.
The Forever Boy, by Anne Schraff
Ten-year-old Bruno has lived in five different foster homes. He was happy to leave one home, where the foster parents were abusive, but sad that he always had to leave the others as soon as he started to feel OK. Now he’s living with the Browns, his favorite home yet, and he longs to be adopted. Will he get to call them his parents forever?
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