4 brilliant books about adoption

Book Adventurers | 19th October 2021

To support National Adoption Week, here’s our pick of 4 brilliant books that provide some of the answers to the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions that children will ask.

“Adoption (for) one child won’t change the world, but for that child, the world will change.”—Unknown

This week is National Adoption Week in England, and this year the aim is promoting a better understanding of the process by busting some of the myths surrounding this unusual route to parenthood and family.

The organisers will be using real life stories shared from the children themselves as well as adoptive parents, birth parents and social workers.

Often mainstream adoption stories tend to start with a slightly uncomfortable ‘happy ever after’ when a baby is placed with a ‘loving family’. The reality is that it’s older children who make up the largest number of children in need of adoption and around half of those children will be part of a sibling group which makes placing them with a family even more challenging.

But, despite the complicated and often painful process for those going through it, adoption is a transformative and a hugely life-affirming journey to a ‘forever’ family for grown ups and children alike.

To support National Adoption Week in England, here’s our pick of 4 brilliant picture books, that explore the process and provide some of the answers to the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions that children will ask.


You can get more information on how to adopt at Adoption UK

The Blanket Bears

Author: Samuel Langley-Swain
Illustrator: Ashlee Spink
Age suitability: 3-8 years

The Blanket Bears is a great book for explaining the adoption process from a child’s perspective. Whilst still a gentle journey, it doesn’t shy away from the reality of adoption, recognises the loss of a birth family as well as touching on some of the  reasons why children cannot grow up with their birth families.

The story is told from the point of view of two little bears who have not had a great start in life and as the story progresses, the bears go on a ‘typical’ adoption journey. The book is written by an adoptive dad and endorsed by Adoption UK and recommended by clinical psychologists.

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We Belong Together: A Book About Families and Adoption

Author: Todd Parr
Age suitability: 3-6 years

Best-selling author and illustrator Todd Parr received hundreds of requests to write a book about adoption and the result is a sensitive and reassuring way to explain in a simple way how families find each other through the process of adoption. With colourful illustrations and not too many words, this is a lovely read-along for younger children.

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Delly Duck: Why A Little Chick Couldn't Stay With His Birth Mother

Author: Holly Marlow
Illustrator: Suzy Garland
Age suitability: 3+

Written by an adoptive and biological mum, this is another book that doesn’t stop short of recognizing the adopted child’s loss of a birth partent. Delly Duck is a great choice for adopted and fostered children to explain adoption or support therapeutic life story work.  The book can be used to help answer difficult and emotive questions, such as “Why can’t I live with my birth mother?” and “Why didn’t someone just teach her how to parent me safely?”

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Bravely Being Me

Author: Sam Langley-Swain
Illustrator: Nicci Martin
Age suitability: 7-11 years

Produced in association with Adoption UK, Bravely Being Me offers a wonderfully inspiring read for older adopted children through a diverse collection of  biographies. From TV Presenters and actors, to explorers and athletes there’s an incredible story for every reader tracing the journeys taken in spite of, and sometimes because of the difficulties their younger selves have overcome.  Positive role models are crucial to building self-esteem and this book delivers these brilliantly!

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