Picture Books for Kids in Foster Care

These simple books can help provide comfort and insight during a tough transition.

Rachel Skousen March 06, 2014

Being removed from your home and taken to live with a new family can be frightening and overwhelming experience for a young child.  These picture books can help children in foster care understand that they are not alone, that they are worthy of love, that what they’re feeling is normal, and that they are capable of adjusting to the change.

Families Change: A Book for Children Experiencing Termination of Parental Rights by Julie Nelson
1. Families Change: A Book for Children Experiencing Termination of Parental Rights by Julie Nelson

Best for: 4 to 10-year-olds. This book, a part of the "Kids Are Important" series, explains that all families change-- babies are born, children grow up and move out— and sometimes kids are moved into foster or adoptive homes. It reassures children that they can still love and value their old families while becoming a part of a new one.

Kids Need to be Safe: A Book for Children in Foster Care  by Julie Nelson
2. Kids Need to be Safe: A Book for Children in Foster Care by Julie Nelson

Best for: 4 to 10-year-olds. This book, which is part of the Kids Are Important series, helps foster kids understand the why, what, and how of foster care: why they were placed in foster care, what they can expect from their new foster family, and how they might feel. There is an emphasis on helping the child understand that she is not “bad” because she is in foster care.

Murphy’s Three Homes: A Story for Children in Foster Care  by Jan Levinson Gilman
3. Murphy’s Three Homes: A Story for Children in Foster Care by Jan Levinson Gilman

Best for: Kids ages 3 and up. This is a cute story about a dog who has been moved from home to home-- and even into an animal shelter. He feels unloved, anxious, and worried that his troubles are his own fault. After all that moving, he finally finds a stable, loving family and discovers that he really is a good dog and deserving of a love.

Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care  by Jennifer Gilgocki
4. Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care by Jennifer Gilgocki

Best for: Kids ages 4 and older. Maybe Days was written to help kids cope with the uncertainties that accompany life in foster care: How long will I be here? Will I go back to my first home? Will I stay here? It includes a helpful section for the grown-ups, too.

The Star: A Story to Help Young Children Understand Foster Care  by Cynthia Miller Lovell
5. The Star: A Story to Help Young Children Understand Foster Care by Cynthia Miller Lovell

Best for: 3 to 8-year-olds. A little girl finds herself spending her first night in a foster home. She looks out the window and befriends a star, who comforts her and helps her process her emotions as she adjusts to her new foster home. This is a great book for helping young children understand and cope with their emotions.

A Terrible Thing Happened  by Margaret M. Holmes
6. A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M. Holmes

Best for: Kids ages 4 and older. This story is appropriate for any children-- including foster children-- who have experienced trauma. It explains in simple words the symptoms that accompany the time after a trauma and underscores the importance of talking about it with an adult they trust.

The Invisible String  by Patrice Karst
7. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

Best for: Kids ages 3 and older. The Invisible String is a book about love connecting us to the people we love, even when they’re gone. It’s ideal for helping children cope with separation anxiety and also helping them understand that even if their birth parents can’t care for them, they are still attached to them through love.

author image

Rachel Skousen

Rachel has a long-held passion for adoption that was sealed through her work as the content manager at Adoption.com. She currently works as a content specialist at Adopting.org, finding and sharing amazing adoption content from across the web. She is a mom of three and loves reading and napping in her spare time.


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