Maya’s Journey Home by Susan Lindsley and Tina Christiansen (ages 3-6) – When this book arrived in the mail, my 13-year-old daughter picked it up to read while I was cooking dinner. “Aww, this is so sweet” was her assessment, and I agree. This sweet book tells the story of how two little pandas in a Chinese orphanage find their forever families. The bright watercolor illustrations are wonderful.
I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose A. Lewis (ages 4-8) is based on Lewis’s adoption of her daughter. It starts with a letter to Chinese officials and ends with Lewis taking her new daughter back to America to meet her new family. I Love You Like Crazy Cakes is full of beautiful illustrations and offers abundant reassurances of love to adopted children.
We See the Moon by Carrie Kitze (ages 4-8) – Wonderful book to open the birthparent and adoption dialog between parent and child. This is a story written from the child’s perspective, asking the questions that dwell in their hearts about their birthparents…What do you look like? Where are you now? Do you think of me? It will help children use the moon as a private tool to connect with a family that is always with them in their hearts.
Waiting for May by Janet Morgan Stoeke (ages 5+) – Written from the perspective of a brother awaiting the adoption of his new little sister from China, this book is can be used to introduce siblings to the idea of adoption, or explain the Chinese adoption process to a child adopted from China.
Finding Joy by Marion Coste (ages 5-8) – This book explain the reason why baby girls are abandoned in China in a non judgemental way. The book also talks about the joys and concern of the prospective adoptive parents. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful.
Three Names of Me by Mary Cummings (ages 8-11) – This is a sweet story told from the perspective of a girl adopted from China. The title derives from her explanation of why she has three names (one unknown from her birth parents, one from the orphanage, and one from her parents). The emphasis in on the love between parent and child, but it also addresses the love between birth mother/first mother and child.
The Jade Dragon by Carolyn Marsden and Virginia Shin-Mui Loh (ages 8-12) – This is a fairly easy to read chapter book about two Chinese American girls. One girl was born in America to Chinese immigrants and the other girl was born in China and adopted by an American family. The girls are in second grade so I think it would be appropriate for 8 year olds rather than waiting until the suggested age of 9. After some initial reluctance the girls become friends and develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be Chinese-American.
An-Ya and her Diary by Diane René Christian (ages 9+) – Story of a pre-teen child adopted from China. It tackles issues of adoptee loss, race and challenges along the attachment journey. The novel is told in diary format and chronicles ‘An-Ya’ as she transitions from life in a Chinese orphanage to life in the United States. It is suitable for tweens/teens and adults.
Arthur: Big Brother Binky is a fantastic DVD on international adoption. Arthur’s best friend, Binky, is about to become a big brother. His parents are adopting a baby from China. I just love this DVD.
New Clothes for New Year’s Day (ages 3-6) by Hyun-joo Bae – This is not an adoption book, but a great way to introduce Korean culture. This beautiful picture book shows a young Korean girl welcoming in the New Year in classic Koran style. It’s nice to have a book that features Korean New Year celebration rather than the Chinese New Year.
Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park. (ages 4-7) – Oh, I love this book, and not just because I love the dish. A busy Korean mom and her young daughter prepare bee bim bop for dinner. In addition to learning about a traditional Korean dish, you’ll also get a picture of Korean family life.
Babies Can’t Eat Kimchee! by Nancy Patz (ages 4-7) – This is the tale of a big sis and a new baby and has nothing to do with adoption. The big sister recites what she can do that the baby can’t. The family is Korean American and through the story you get to know more about Korean culture.
Asian Children’s Favorite Stories: A Treasury of Folktales from China, Japan, Korea, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia by David Conger, Patrick Yee, Marian Davies Toth, and Kay Lyons (ages 4-8) – A collection of 13 stories from several Asian countries. Note: a bear’s violent death is depicted in one of the tales.
Korean Children’s Favorite Stories by Kim So-Un and Jeong Kyoung-Sim (ages 9-12) – An older collection of thirteen Korean folk tales that contains new illustrations.
Dreaming a World: Korean Birth Mothers Tell Their Stories by Sangsoon Han (ages 12-adult) – A collection of stories from Korean Birth Mothers about their experience of giving up a child for adoption.
I Wish for You a Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children edited by Sara Dorow (ages 12-adult).
Voices from Another Place: A Collection of Works from a Generation Born in Korea and Adopted to Other Countries by Susan Soon-Keum Cox. This book is a collection of poetry, fiction, memoir, essay, photography and artwork by adult adoptees adopted from Korea to the US. This is not a children’s book, but would be appropriate for teens. It would be particularly powerful for parents and teen to read together. It shows a diversity of feeling and captures the experience of transracial/transcultural adoption from people who have lived the experience. As one adult adoptee said: “It was touching and heartbreaking and very healing for me.”
I Am Latino: The Beauty in Me by Myles and Sandra Pinkney (ages 2-8) – This is a wonderful picture book celebrating all aspects of being Latino, from the food to the language. This is not an adoption specific book, just an affirmative book for being brown and from a Latin American country.
Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale by Karen Katz (ages 2-8). Story of parents flying to a far away place to pick up their baby girl.
Mommy’s Heart Went POP! by Christina Kyllonen and Peter Greer (ages 4-8) – A beautifully illustrated children’s book about adoption from Africa. It focusses on how excited the parents are to meet their new child and how much they love them.
Yafi’s Family: an Ethiopian Boy’s Journey of Love, Loss and Adoption by Linda Pettitt (ages 4-8) – The story of a six-year old Ethiopian boy’s adoption. It focuses on Yafi’s relationship with his family, both his first family in Ethiopia and his new family. A great book, especially for an older child who has memories of his family.
Africa Is Not A Country by Margy Burns Knight (ages 6-10) – While not specifically about adoption, Africa Is Not A Country is a celebration of African culture and a great introduction for a child to their birth culture.
Borya and the Burps: An Eastern European Adoption Story by Joan McNamara (ages 3-6) – Cute tale from the child’s perspective written by my friend Joan, a kind, compassionate woman who is both an adoptive mom and an adoption social worker.
Rebecca’s Journey Home by Brynn Sugarman (ages 4-8) – On the eve of adopting a baby girl from Vietnam, a Jewish family reflects on their happy preparations for her arrival and their eagerness for her to become an addition to their family, as well as a blessed part of the Jewish people. Brothers Jacob and Gabriel raise the points that their new sister will be Vietnamese, Jewish and American all at the same time. It’s a good look at how to honor an adopted child’s birth culture while also including her in her new culture. “Now the baby had three names. She had a Vietnamese Name: Le Thi Hong. She had an English name: Rebecca Rose. And she had a Hebrew name: Rivka Shoshanah.”
Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies by Ann Turner- “Let me tell the story this time, Momma,” says a 4 year old Asian boy. “Once I was a picture you held in your hand,” he begins, and tells how he “flew through night and moon and stars” to his new home. He was frightened on the plane ride but held tight to the picture of his new family. When he arrived, his parents welcomed him at the airport with open arms. Although this book was more a reflection of older style international adoptions where the child was escorted rather than the parents traveling to bring the child home, it is still a sweet tale and was one of my family’s favorites. The country is not specified, but looks east Asian and is probably Vietnam.
*As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases, but we only recommend books that we value. Thanks for your support!