A lovely selection of reviews has been put together by Kerrie from @kezzabods (Instagram) who is a real advocate of reading to children. Here are some of her favourites that can help support adopted children with understanding their life story:
Love makes your baby’s brain bigger, and reading to your adopted child can help level the playing field of their early childhood experiences. It will not only support their literacy and wider educational skills, but it will help them to develop closer attachments to you. Vital in those early days of placement, and continues to be important throughout your parenting journey.
Building a collection of books and stories is a great way for prospective adopters to prepare for a placement and for parents to build their attachment to their child. It can be difficult to know where to start, especially when you consider that the best way of talking honestly and openly to your children about adoption is through storytelling.
Thankfully, my love of children’s literature means that I have done the hard work so that you don’t have to! The market for children’s books about adoption is growing, but below you’ll find a mix of some older classics and newer releases that can help your child to understand their journey.
This is a truly beautiful story with lovely classic illustrations to explain in very simple terms the importance of a child’s life story. Elfa the elephant carries around a very heavy box with all of her memories in it. We know that sometimes our adopted children struggle with traumatic memories, and that even those that they cannot ‘remember’ are still there on a subconscious level. Elfa helps readers to understand how when we share our memories and experiences rather than keeping them locked away, the load becomes lighter. Many of our children will already have a memory box from their pre-adoption life, and this book can be a really great way to start exploring the contents – why that teddybear is so important, how little they were when they fit in those special pyjamas and how they needed protecting.
This is the only book so precious to me that it isn’t kept on my son’s shelf – but that may also be because it’s a really delicate paperback version! My little brother and his wife gave my son this book when he first came home, and I fell in love with it from the start. This tells an adoption story from the perspective of the parents going through the adoption process. Whilst I loved reading this to my son from a very young age, it definitely holds more meaning now that he is old enough to comprehend his own story, as it ‘levels up’ his understanding of my journey to him rather than just his journey to me.
Todd Parr always pops up on these lists, usually with ‘We Belong Together’, but I’m going with ‘The Family Book’ for a good reason. I don’t want my son to feel that adoption is anything other than completely normal – and the way Parr so breezily mentions that “some families adopt children” as just one of many ways that makes a family is important to me. It also helped to explain to my son the concept of stepfamilies and why his older brother has a family that he doesn’t share with my son, and also why me and his dad no longer live together. Again, the illustrations in this book are perfect for little readers and help make the book even more enjoyable.
A fantastic story of a single adoptive parent explaining her journey to adoption to her child, and how they came to be a family. I’ll stop harping on about the illustrations at some point, but this is not that point, because once again this book has beautifully delicate illustration that conjure up a sense of nostalgia for adult readers and comfort and love for younger ones.
‘A Mother for Choco’ holds a very special place in my heart, because I was not my son’s first ‘adoptive mother’. He was matched to another family, and it fell through at the very late stages of introductions, and so he had already started to bond with his ‘new parents’. This book explains why some parents aren’t right for some children, as Choco sets out to find his mum and encounters a whole host of potential mothers who tell him they are very sorry but no, they’re not his mum.
Last but by no means least comes my favourite children’s book about adoption, and the reason I’m such a big fan of Rosemary’s. Using language that children understand to explain how they came to be a family, and introducing the concept of the social worker’s role in this – my son understood from a very early age that he was adopted and that he had a birth mother, and I later introduced the concept of Foster Carers to him and explained their role in his life story, but social workers tend to get forgotten in the wider picture. This book is a fantastic reminder that there is a whole community of individuals who were looking out for your child to ensure they had the best life possible, and if that doesn’t warm your heart then I’m not sure what will!
This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are so many wonderful stories out there for our children to help them to understand their own story. I’d love to hear your favourites – drop me a message on Instagram (@kezzabods) to let me know!
This is such a thoughtful selection and I really love the personal touch to the reviews – thank you so much Kerrie. Finding a book your little one can connect to is so important. It may become part of their every day life, or sit patiently on a book shelf until they are ready to learn more. Either way, one thing is absolutely clear – you cannot beat the power of storytelling.
** please note Amazon links have been added but I have no endorsements or affiliations with them and wherever possible…support small local businesses!