Happy National Adoption Month! As with most adoptive families, we celebrate adoption all year round. But November’s special celebrations are close to my heart as our readoption was finalized three years ago this month — which hardly seems possible, because it feels like just yesterday that we were right in the midst of our journey to adopt our son!
In fact our adoption journey was what led me to begin my blog, Sprout’s Bookshelf. When we were waiting to receive our referral call from WACAP, we of course began to think about bringing our boy home and all the tools we would need to effectively support him as parents.
I’m a librarian, so naturally building a library for our son was top priority for me. The process of seeking out high-quality books to share with Sprout blossomed into the blog, where I write about multicultural books and titles about adoption or transracial families.
Today I’m excited to be sharing some of our favorite picture books with you!
(Photos are linked to Amazon Smile. If you register WACAP as your chosen charity, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to WACAP!)
1. Bringing Asha Home by Uma Krishnaswami – I love this book because it’s one of the few titles I’ve found that examines the wait in a realistic fashion, and from a sibling perspective. As anyone who’s been through an adoption knows, paperwork and waiting are some of the hardest aspects of the process. And unfortunately most adoption books skip right past this and onto the part where the adopted child comes home. Krishnaswami doesn’t, however, and through the eyes of her main character Arun, we see how hard it can be when important dates come and go and a sibling hasn’t come home. At last the family is brought together and can celebrate their shared cultural connections and their future!
2. Wild About You! by Judy Sierra – I don’t usually recommend adoption books starring animals, since I don’t find many to be really compelling, but this title by Sierra and illustrator Marc Brown is colorful, quirky and lots of fun. All the animals in the zoo are becoming parents, but a few of the animals still have no little ones to love. Then a couple of orphaned animals show up at the zoo. Suddenly the tree kangaroo is fostering a penguin and Mr. and Mrs. Panda are the proud parents of a kitten. And everything seems just right. The lighthearted tone of this title is perfect for introducing adoption to young kids, and the addition of transracial (or, in this case, trans-species) adoption is a nice touch.
3. Ten Days and Nine Nights by Yumi Heo – this simply written and charmingly illustrated book does a great job of presenting what happens when one parent travels for an adoption, and the other stays home. The story follows a young girl as she counts down to the arrival of her sibling from Korea, where Mommy has gone to finalize the adoption. Working together with Daddy and her grandparents, the older sister gets everything ready for the new arrival. And finally, when all the days have been counted off, the new baby is home! This is a great title for families embarking on a second adoption, especially to share with a young child, as it’s very accessible, and also quite fun.
4. My Family is Forever by Nancy Carlson – a well-known children’s author, Carlson knows how to craft a book that bolsters a child’s self-esteem. With this title, Carlson affirms a young girl’s first family even as she celebrates her place in a new family formed by adoption. The transracial family element is dealt with matter-of-factly and just right, mentioning that while some families resemble one another, others don’t — and that’s just fine. The cheerful tone of this book makes it a great choice for framing your own conversation with your adopted child. And it’s a perfect affirmation for families bursting with diversity, like my own.
5. I’m Adopted! by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly – Kids always love looking at photographs, and this colorful title is no exception. Rotner and Kelly do an excellent job of examining adoption from various perspectives, making this a solid choice for a home, school or public library collection. I love that the authors strike a balance of honoring both adoptive family and birth family, which is a must for any adoption-themed picture book. And a bonus is that they used several actual adoptive families as models for the book, a very nice touch.
I’ve only just scratched the surface of all the terrific adoption-related picture books on library and bookstore shelves. What are your favorite books for sharing adoption with young children? Drop us a line here or via my blog, Sprout’s Bookshelf – we’d love to hear from you!
Mary Kinser is a librarian in Bellingham, Washington and the mother of a gorgeous four-year-old boy from Ethiopia, lovingly nicknamed Sprout.
She writes about diversity and adoption in children’s literature at her blog Sprout’s Bookshelf. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and pinning all things kidlit at Pinterest.