I am a book snob. As a mom and an early childhood teacher, I own hundreds of children’s books. I think kids should have a wide selection of books in their homes and classrooms so that they can choose the ones that interest them. When I became a mom by foster adoption, the search was on for great books about this topic. I received a lot of adoption-themed books from various sources, but the vast majority of them were centered around domestic infant adoption. And several of the few that mentioned foster adoption felt too contrived or heavy-handed. Here are five that made the cut and earned a spot on my bookshelf:

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza

Hands down, my favorite adoption-themed book, this is one that my daughter (adopted at age five from foster care) reached for again and again during her early school-aged years. Having animals as the characters makes the story of a little bird finding his family feel less confrontational and “teachy” than it might if the characters were people. I love the message that families don’t have to look like us to do what families do. Because of the make-up of the characters, this may also resonate with children adopted by single parents and transracial adoptees.

The Lamb-a-roo by Diana Kimpton

Another one of my daughter’s favorites when she was little, this story also has endearing, non-threatening animal characters. Kids laugh when Lamb tries to “fit in” with her kangaroo families by becoming like them, but this also sparked some good conversation in my house about how families don’t always have to look or act alike. My New

Mom and Me by Renata Galindo

I happened upon this story in our local independent book shop (shout out to all the local independent book shops helping people discover great books!) and fell in love. In this story, the puppy is nervous when he first moves in with his new mom (a cat), but he sees that she does all of the things that moms do and that she embraces and accepts her even though they look different.

Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang

I just found this book at my school’s book fair and I love the celebration of diversity in it’s pages. It shows lots of different ways that families can look and may resonate with kids in a variety of non-traditional family settings.Though not specifically an adoption book, there is a representation of an adoptive family right along with all the other families.

Your child’s story!

Written and illustrated by them (with your help) This is one of my favorite things that I’ve done with my daughter… together we wrote and illustrated the story of her life. Then, as a Christmas gift, I added photographs and had the book printed and bound. There are a variety of lifebooks that you can buy, but I loved creating our own and it was easy to turn into a “real” book with the help of an online photo printing site. She read this book over and over when she was younger and still sometimes pulls it out. She also chose to share it with some friends and teachers to help them understand her better, and creating it together was a great bonding experience. This was the bedtime story of choice for many months and I highly recommend that other parents by adoption help their kids write their own stories.

What great books did I miss? What adoption themed books have become your children’s favorites?