Only some of the many illustrated books available about adoption, foster care, love and kindness, loss of a loved one, abuse, trauma and bullying for (young) children
Rosie’s Family An Adoption Story by Lori Rosove (author) and Heather Burril (illustrator) Rosie is a beagle who was adopted by schnauzers. She feels different from the rest of her family and her brother, who is the biological child. A story about belonging in a family, regardless of differences, which deals with questions children who are adopted, may have.
Finding the Right Spot: When Kids Can’t Live with their Parents by Janice Levy (author) and Whitney Martin (illustrator) A story about resilience, hope, disappointment, love, sadness, and anger for children who are in foster care.
Maybe Days written by Jennifer Wilgocki and Marcia Kahn Wright and illustrated by Alissa Imre Geis deals with the issues of foster care, the children’s questions and feelings.
Murphy’s Three Homes: A Story for Children in Foster Care by Jan Levinson Gilman (author) and Kathy O’Malley (illustrator) This story follows a cute puppy through his placement in three new homes, as well as through his anxiety, self-doubt, and hope for a new, loving family.
I Love You like Crazy Cakes by Rose A. Lewis (author) and Jane Dyer (illustrator) This beautifully illustrated book is about a woman who travels to China to adopt a baby girl, based on the author’s own experience and is a celebration of the love and joy a baby brings into the home
Shaoey & Dot: Bug Meets Bundle is a tale told from the point of view of a little ladybug, Dot, who finds a mysterious bundle one day. Dot stays with the little bundle as she is carried to the place “where babies come to be found” and promises to stay with the little child throughout her journeys toward getting a family. This tale is written by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth, and was inspired by the story of their adoption of three little girls from China.
A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kaza – Choco was a little bird, who lived all alone. He wished he had a mother, but who could be his mother? One day he set off to find her.
Star of the Week: A Story of Love, Adoption and Brownies with Sprinkles by Darlene Freedman (author) and Roger Roth (illustrator) A story of a child’s quest to come to terms with her adopted past. It also presents writing opportunities for students to explore who they are and how their roots have an impact on their lives.
The Mulberry Bird: An Adoption Story by Ann Braff Brodzinsky (author) and Angela Marchetti (illustrator) Α beautifully illustrated book, written from the perspective that a birth mother might want to parent her child, but the insurmountable pressures against her might make this impossible. Mother Bird tries to bring up her baby bird against all odds. When a storm scatters her nest, she is forced to think about how best to care for her baby bird, and faces the heart-breaking choice of either continuing to struggle on her own, or giving her baby to another family of birds, to look after him and care for him in their strong, secure nest.
The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale by Grace Lin ‘There is an ancient Chinese belief that an invisible red thread connects all those who are destined to be together’
Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept by Jayneen Sanders (author) and Craig Smith (illustrator) A beautifully illustrated picture book that broaches the subject of keeping children safe from inappropriate touch. A book that teaches ‘body safety’ to children in a way that is neither frightening nor confronting.
Please Tell: A Child’s Story about Sexual Abuse by Jessie (author) Written and illustrated by Jessie, a young girl who was sexually molested
A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes and Sasha Mudlaff (authors) and Cary Pillo (illustrator) A child’s self-help book for children who have experienced trauma. It is about how sometimes we try to hide from the scary feelings created by trauma and how we may feel nervous and have bad dreams or act out because of our trying to suppress those feelings.
Healing Days: A guide for kids who have experienced trauma by Susan Farber Strauss (author) and Maria Bogade (illustrator) A resource that helps children who have experienced trauma. It teaches kids about fight, flight or freeze responses to trauma and it acknowledges the painful feelings that result from trauma, and also, offers specific strategies for coping and recovery.
The Right Touch: A Read Aloud Story to Help Prevent Sexual Abuse by Sandy Kleven (writer) and Jody Bergsma (author) suitable to read aloud to children
Your Body Belongs to You by Cornelia Maude Spelman (author) and Teri Weidner (illustrator) In reassuring language, the author explains that a child’s body is his or her own and that it is all right for kids to decline a friendly hug or kiss. Cornelia Spelman has also written a series of little books for children about emotions
My Body Belongs to Me: A Book about Safety by Jill Starishevsky (author) and Angela Padron (illustrator) This book offers parents, teachers and counselors a tool that they can use to help children feel and stay safe because without being taught about body boundaries, a child may be too young to understand when abuse is happening—or that it’s wrong. The rhyming story and illustrations provide a way to sensitively discuss the topic, guiding young children to understand that their private parts belong to them alone.
My Body is Private by Linda Walvoord Girard (author) and Rodney Pete (illustrator) The book presents a conversation between a mother and her daughter. Important issues are discussed in a non-frightening yet serious manner and without providing too much detail about what can happen during a sexual abuse encounter. Privacy is defined and several examples are given so that young children can understand.
I Said NO! A kid to kid guide to keeping your private parts private by Kimberly King (author) and Sue Rama (author and illustrator) I Said No is written from a kid’s point of view to help children set healthy boundaries for their private parts. To help Zack cope with a real-life experience he had with a friend, he and his mom wrote a book to help prepare other kids to deal with a range of problematic situations.
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie (author) and Robert Ingpen (illustrator) It is a moving book for children of all ages and parents/ adults. It can help us explain life and death of a relative, a friend, or a pet, in a sensitive, caring, beautiful way. It tells us about beginnings and about endings and about living in between. It has beautiful illustrations and it talks about plants, animals and people.
Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley (author and illustrator) This book is a touching look at death, and how life goes on with wonderful artwork and marvelous characters. Badger’s friends are saddened by his passing, but they come to realize that everyone lives on through their gifts of kindness and the happy memories that remain.
Everett Anderson’s Goodbye by Lucille Cliffton (author) and Ann Grifalconi (illustrator) This book is written in simple rhyme for a young child who has lost a parent and it goes through the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). As the last stage of grief is acceptance, the book ends with “and no matter what happens when people die, love doesn’t stop and neither will I.” The illustrations of this young African American boy and his mother are lovely charcoal line drawings.
The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy (authors) and Kim Shaw (illustrator) In this book the kids at Pete’s new school get involved, instead of being bystanders when they witness a bully in action
These three books below tell the story of an ongoing case of bullying from three third graders’ perspectives. Luisa describes being targeted by bullying in Weird!, Jayla shares her experience as a bystander to bullying in Dare! And in Tough!, Sam speaks from the point of view of someone initiating bullying.
Dare!: A Story about Standing Up to Bullying in Schools by Erin Frankel (author) and Paula Heaphy (illustrator)
Tough!: A Story about How to Stop Bullying in Schools by Erin Frankel (author) and Paula Heaphy (illustrator)
Weird!: A Story about Dealing with Bullying in Schools by Erin Frankel (author) and Paula Heaphy (illustrator)
Chocolate Me! by good friends Taye Diggs (author) and Shane W. Evans (illustrator) A picture book based on experiences of feeling different and trying to fit in as kids, that encourages people, especially kids, to love themselves. The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.
Chrysanthemum written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes is a funny school story about teasing, self-esteem and acceptance. Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect until her first day of school…..
Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig (author) and Beth Adams (illustrator) After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she’s told to meet the school counselor, so she can learn to be a better friend. Katie gradually realizes that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, as well. Told from the point of view of the bully rather than the bullied, it provides children with tools they can use to identify and stop relational aggression. More suitable for older children and young teenagers
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (author) and Patrice Barton (illustrator) This gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and can allow them to flourish. The book sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children. It includes discussion questions and resources for further reading.
Stand in My Shoes by Bob Sornson (author) and Shelley Johannes (illustrator). Emily asks her big sister what the word empathy means, but she has no idea that knowing the answer will change how she looks at people. Empathy is the ability to notice what other people feel. Empathy leads to the social skills and personal relationships which make our lives rich and beautiful, and it is something we can help our children learn.
Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman because love is the greatest gift we have to give to our children
Have You Filled A Bucket Today? Carol McCloud (author) and David Messing (illustrator) and ……..
Fill a bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin (authors) and David Messing (illustrator)
Both two books give children the idea that being kind and loving is important to their own happiness.
Will You Fill My Bucket? by Carol McCloud and Karen Wells (authors) and Penny Weber (illustrator) A question asked by children from twelve different countries. An award-winning picture book with sweet rhyming prose, repetition, and vividly captivating illustrations delight the senses and express the joy and love we hope for all children. ‘Bucket filling, the essence of being loved and loving others, occurs in those little moments in a day when you stop and just listen, cuddle, play, or spend time with a child’.