ADOPTION BOOKS for Kids and Teens

Ages 2 to 5 and up

Katz, Karen. Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale.  Through mystical storytelling and beautiful imagery, the process of adoption from start to finish is told in terms that will enchant young readers. (A Joni Mantell favorite)

Curtis, Jamie Lee.  Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born. Some family stories are so special that children ask to hear them over and over again. In asking her parents to TELL ME AGAIN ABOUT THE NIGHT I WAS BORN, a young girl shows that this is a cherished tale that she knows by heart.

Parr, Todd.  The Family Book. The Family Book helps children and parents celebrate the diversity of every kind of family by using colorful images and humor to show that the unifying factor in every family is not appearances or personality traits – it is love. A great book to read to a child’s kindergarten class. (A Joni Mantell favorite)

Keller, Holly.  Horace. Horace is unhappy because his family is striped, and he is spotted. (They are animals, not unusual looking people.) So off he goes to find a family that looks more like he does.

Kasza, Keiko. A Mother for Choco. This charming, thoughtful picture book uses an allegorical story about a baby bird to explain to young adoptees that children do not need to resemble their parents physically in order to be loved and wanted by them.  

Warren Turner, Ann.  Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies.  An adopted preschooler tells the story of his journey from the Far East to his new parents in America.  

Bunting, Eve.  Jin Woo. David is dubious about having a new adopted brother from Korea, but when he finds out that his parents still love him, he decides that having a baby brother will be fine.  

For Ages 5 – 8 and up

Markle, Sandra. Little Lost Bat. A delightful story about adoption in the animal kingdom actually based on research. How a week old bat survives without his mother is at the center of this sad and hopeful story.  

Kitze, Carrie. We See The Moon. This is a story written from the child’s perspective, asking the questions that dwell in their hearts about their birthparents. What do you look like? Where are you now? Do you think of me? It will help children use the moon as a private tool to connect with a family that is always with them in their hearts

Lewis, Rose.  I Love You Like Crazy Cakes. Based on the author’s own experiences, this heartfelt story follows a single woman on her journey to adopt a baby girl from China.  In the sequel, Every Year on Your Birthday, the mother describes her daughter’s first years, ending on her fifth birthday—which they celebrate with a picnic overlooking a dragon-boat festival.

Peacock, Carol Antoinette.  Mommy Far, Mommy Near. Because Elizabeth was adopted from China, she assumes that all babies came from China. Her mommy explains that babies grow inside their mother and can come from any country.  

Braff Brodzinsky, Anne.  Mulberry Bird. THE MULBERRY BIRD uses the story of a mother bird who decides to place her baby bird for adoption to explain to young adoptees why birthparents might choose adoption for their child.

Walvoord Girard, Linda We Adopted You, Benjamin Koo. Nine-year-old Benjamin Koo Andrews, adopted from Korea as an infant, describes what it’s like to grow up adopted from another country

Zisk, Mary. Best Single Mom in the World:  How I was adopted. Mary and her Mom love to tell the story of how they became a family. Before Mary was born, her mom lived alone in her house. She loved her work and her friends, but something was missing … Mary! Her mom wanted to share her life with a child.

McDowall,Rita and Stergianis, Sofie What is Adoption? Helping non-adopted children understand adoption – A great and much needed book to explain adoption to cousins, close friend’s children, etc.

For Ages 8-12

Grossnickle, Mary.  A Place in My Heart. This book for adopted children aged 5 to 10 gives you an opportunity to discuss adoption, birthparents, and the fact that our hearts are big enough to hold everyone we care about. The protagonist is a male (chipmunk) for a change which boys may enjoy. (A Joni Mantell favorite)

Halvorsen Schreck, Karen. Lucy’s Family Tree. When Lucy receives a homework assignment to make a family tree, she thinks that because she was adopted from Mexico, her family is too “different.” However, when her parents challenge her to find a “typical” family she learns that families are formed in many ways.

Cole, Joanna. How I Was Adopted.   Describes anatomically how babies develop in the mom’s uterus  Sam has a joyful story to tell, one completely her own, yet common to millions of families — the story of how she was adopted. Most of all, it’s a story about love. And in the end, Sam’s story comes full circle, inviting young readers to share stories of how they were adopted.

Cummings, Mary. Three Names of Me. Ada has three names. Wang Bin is what the caregivers called her at her Chinese orphanage. Ada is the name given her by her American parents. And there is a third name, whispered by her Chinese mother.  

For Teens

Krementz, Jill. How it Feels to be Adopted. This book is widely recommended, and with good reason–it’s one of the best. In it, nineteen youngsters describe HOW IT FEELS TO BE ADOPTED. These young people, ages 9-16 explain, both some good and some difficult aspects about being adopted.  

Pieces of Me, edited by Robert L. Ballard – “This title refers to the “pieces” that adoptees must identify, gather, and put together properly in order to make themselves whole. It is a compendium of poems, essays, drawings, quotations, and photos created by adoptees, from 12 to 60+, intended to offer practical insight to other adoptees.”  The writing of two of IAC Center’s clients are included in this book. (A Joni Mantell favorite)

Lanchon, Anne.  All About Adoption:  How to Deal with the Questions of Your Past. Written in a style attractive to teens, this book deals with issues of self-identity, family relationships, biological roots and relationships with peers. Its casual style helps make it easy to open up the topics for family discussion.  

MacLeod, Jean.  At Home in This World:  A China Adoption Story (2nd edition). At Home in This World is the honest, lyrical reflection of a pre-adolescent girl on what she knows of her adoption from China, and the strength she gains from her acceptance of her bittersweet experience.  

For Your Children’s Schools

Adoption And The Schools: Resources for Teachers and Parents, by

Lansing Wood and Nancy Sheehan Ng.  A very good book that gives you language, concepts and specific ideas for adjusting assignments to be inclusive of and sensitive to adoption and other diverse family concerns.  My experience is that teachers really appreciate your working with them in this way (identifying your adoption concerns, finding out ‘what the teacher wants to teach’ with the specific assignment, and then providing specific suggestions to modify the assignment to be inclusive and sensitive to your child).

Additional Resources:

You will also find up-to-the-minute book review and suggestions at Adoptive Families Magazine:  This award-winning national adoption magazine, is the leading adoption information source for families before, during, and after adoption.

You may want to see our Multicultural and Transracial Adoption Book List

Adoption Counseling and Groups for Kids, Teens, and Adoptive Parents




Infertility and Adoption Counseling Center

Offices in Pennington NJ and NY

Joni Mantell, LCSW, Director 609-213-0977

Based in Pennington, NJ