When we started our adoption journey, there weren’t many children’s books about that explained the process. The ones I did find were American and obviously the system is very different there.

I’ve been delighted to see that over the last few years, there’s been a number of great adoption books written by adoptive parents as well as practitioners. They help children gain a deeper understanding of what is a complex and difficult subject, in a child friendly way.

Here’s a list of our seven favourite books that help younger children, whether they’re adopted or not, understand the concept of adoption a bit more. The books really have helped our children understand their adoption journey and the process of how they came to live with us.

This article includes affiliate links for the books. That means if you click on the link to the book, and then buy it, I get paid a fee from Waterstones or Amazon.

The Blanket Bears written by Samuel Langley Swain

Seven children's adoption books
The Blanket Bears

The Blanket Bears is our favourite book about adoption. Our eldest daughter went through a stage where she wanted this as her bedtime story every night for weeks. The book is written by Samuel Langley-Swain, an adoptive dad, and beautifully illustrated by Ashlee Spink.

It’s a story about two little bears who had no-one to look after them. It explores big issues like foster care and adoption in a lovely, gentle way. The bears are very frightened at the start of the book and the story explores why that is and how their social worker found them a safe place to live.

The story then looks at how their foster parents and then adoptive family help the little bears to feel safe and loved. It’s a great book to explain the basics of adoption to all children.

You can buy the book from Waterstones.

Olly & Lilly written by Matt Flukes, illustrated by Lucie Cooke

Seven adoption books for kids
Olly and Lilly

Olly and Lilly, written by Matt Fluke, an adoptive dad, is another brilliant book which explains to children why sometimes families can’t live together. Matt explains his motivation for writing the book:

“I wanted to encapsulate the fear, loss and concerns that adopted children face but also harness their sheer positivity and hope for the future for all children. The book is aimed at children aged 4-7, to help them understand their situation. It is valid for all children not just adopted children, as it discusses families, love, goals, challenges, hopes and wishes that all children have, whilst also acting as a key PHSE resource for schools. The parent bikes are non-gender specific, making the story applicable to all types of families.”

The story is about Olly and Lilly who are two bikes looking for a new forever racing team as their mummy has stopped working properly and can’t look after them. The first garage they move to doesn’t feel quite right, even though everyone was really nice to them. This shows why children sometimes have to move to different foster carers until they find the right care to suit their needs.

It’s an engaging and fun book which deals with big issues sensitively, to gently explain why sometimes parents can’t look after their children. It deals with some of the emotions children experience when they’re moved into foster care and then adoption such separation and loss.

You can buy the book from Amazon.

The Family Fairies written by Rosemary Lucas

Seven adoption books for kids
The Family Fairies

The Family Fairies was written by adoptive mum Rosemary Lucas to help explain the adoption process to children. It’s a rhyming storybook following the journey of a couple on their search to find their forever family. 

It’s a lovely children’s book and is written in an age-appropriate way, to help adopted children understand the different roles of the people involved in finding their forever family. Social workers and foster carers are referred to as “Family Fairies” which is a great way of engaging young children to help them understand what the different roles are.

My children love the fairies. We use the book as a tool to talk about the story of their adoption giving the fairies the names of their social workers and foster families. It’s also a great book to help children who aren’t adopted, understand the process.

You can buy the book from Waterstones.

Eddy Finds a Family written by Sarah McGeough, illustrated by Stephanie Lidbetter

Adoption stories
Eddy Finds a Family

Eddy Finds a Family is written by adoptive mum Sarah McGeough, and beautifully illustrated by Stephanie Lidbetter. The first thing my kids loved about the book was the gorgeous, vibrant illustrations. They both love flamingos so Flossy and Frank were a big hit with them straight away.

The story follows Flossy and Frank as they learn about adoption and decide it’s the way they want to create their family. The focus then moves to Eddy, a little Emu who was living with a foster frog. Eddy’s parents weren’t able to look after him and Stella Stork is looking for a family for him. She decides Flossy and Frank would be great parents for Eddy and the story then explores how they all get ready to meet each other.

The book helps to explain some of the feelings older children may feel about adoption as the story doesn’t just cover how Flossy and Frank are feeling before they meet Eddy. It also explores his feelings and thoughts about meeting his new family.

He has worries about what it’s going to be like and what if they don’t like each other? This helps older children see that their feelings are normal, and also helps their friends and family understand what they’ve been through.

You can buy the book from Amazon.

Tippy Moffles Mirror written by Mikenda Plant

Tippy Moffle's Mirror
Tippy Moffle’s Mirror

Tippy Moffle’s Mirror is one of my favourite adoption books for children. It’s written by Mikenda Plant and I love the way she uses colour to represent different emotions.

Tippy’s tummy mummy, Poppy, has bright blue fur which reflects the deep sadness she’s experienced in her life. The story starts with Tippy’s early life with her mum. She tried her best to make her mum happy, but because Poppy was so full of sadness, that was hard to do. The harder Tippy tried, the more her fur turned flat, grey and dusty.

The story explores what happens when a parent can’t look after their child and the kind of help and support they might be given to improve things. And then why children sometimes struggle to settle with a new family in case they think they’re not good enough.

The book covers some really big issues like neglect, in a gentle way. It helps children understand that not everyone knows how to look after a baby or a child. And that it’s normal to experience a whole range of different emotions.

I first read this book with my eldest at a time when she was really struggling with her emotions. It helped her understand that we all experience a wide range of feelings, some good, some not so nice.

You can buy the book from Waterstones.

Billy Moffles Straight Lines written by Mikenda Plant

Billy Moffle's Straight Lines
Billy Moffle’s Straight Lines

There’s a lot of children’s adoption books on the market which explain the adoption process. They use engaging characters to explain the adoption process and also the role of adoption professionals such as social workers.

Finding a book that explains to young children what domestic violence and neglect are, isn’t so easy. And let’s face it, in an ideal world, it’s not a topic we’d want our children to have to learn about. But the sad reality is many adopted children experience trauma because of violence between their birth parents, and neglect as a result of that.

Mikenda’s second book looks at the impact feeling scared of who you live with, can have on children and adults. And also how that feeling can affect how you manage other things. In this story, Billy’s birth mother, Daisy, isn’t able to give him the care and love he needs, because all her focus is on making her boyfriend happy so that she doesn’t feel so afraid.

The story looks at why this behaviour doesn’t keep Billy safe. And what happens when a child has to leave that situation and live with a new family. When he’s with his new family, it takes Billy a long time to realise that he’s safe, and that his new mummy and daddy won’t leave him to look after himself, like Daisy did. He spent a lot of time tidying and keeping everything straight as he worried if he didn’t, his new daddy would get angry with him.

This is such a good book to have in your toolkit. It’s started some really good conversations with our eldest daughter about feeling scared.

You can buy the book from Waterstones.

Adopting a Little Brother or Sister written by Holly Marlow

Adopting a Little Brother or Sister front cover
Adopting a Little Brother or Sisiter

This is a lovely book to help explain the process to children who are going to become a brother or sister through adoption.

The story is about a little boy whose family are adopting a little brother or sister. It explains the stages in an age appropriate way, introducing people like social workers and the role they have.

This is another book I wish had been around for out eldest daughter. I think she struggled to understand what our social worker did during the assessment for our youngest. She remembered our original social worker from when we adopted her, because she’d seen photos of her in her life story book. Meeting a new social worker was confusing for her. Being able to read a book like this would’ve really helped.

The book looks at what the social worker’s job is and the types of questions they might ask. This part really resonated with me because I can remember our daughter being asked how she would feel about sharing her toys with her little sister. She said she’d be happy to share them, as long as her little sister looked after them and gave them back.

The story then moves on to look at what happens when a child finds out about their little brother or sister and the mechanics of bringing them home. There’s some great questions at the end of the book to use to start conversations with your child about becoming a brother or sister through adoption.

The book is perfect for biological and adopted children to read to help them understand the process of becoming a sibling through adoption. It’s also a great read for their friends so they can understand it too.

You can buy the book from Waterstones.

Seven adoption books for kids
Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

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