Children’s books about adoption and families. This list of books for children aged 2-11 in primary school EYFS and years 1-6 in KS1 and KS2 contains recommended topic books to appeal to all reading abilities. We have picked a range of picture books and children’s novels to read aloud, in groups or individually and discuss in PSHE, citizenship, class time or book clubs. This list of reading suggestions is revised regularly and includes stories by Samuel Langley-Swain, Jamie Lee-Curtis, Todd Parr, Phoebe Koehler, Frank Cottrell Boyce, and Justin Richardson.
Adoption and families – our recommended children’s books
What We’ll Build by Oliver Jeffers
Destined to be a modern classic, this is a simple, yet powerful and inspiring story of a father and daughter and their plans and dreams to build a life and a better world to live in. Moving and imaginative, this is a book to read again and again – to help children communicate what they want to build, and what they think life should be like. With stunning and vibrant artwork, this is an ideal impetus for whole class literacy across the primary age range.
Who’s Your Real Mum by Bernadette Green and Anna Zobel
A sensitive story that encourages children to talk and think about a diverse range of family setups. When Nicholas asks his friend Evi which of her two mums is her real mum – she answers with a series of clues to the reader an imaginative journey. An ideal book to read and discuss with KS1 children, and a useful text for literacy lessons.
The Blanket Bears by Samuel Langley-Swain
A touching story for younger readers about two bears who are fostered. Ideal to share with a class, and useful for creating accessible talking points regarding families, fostering and adoption in KS2 PSHE lessons.
Who’s In My Family? by Robie Harris
When Nellie and Gus visit the zoo they see all sorts of different families. As they stop and ask questions to each other, they realise that there are all sorts of families and all of them are loving and normal. A really useful topic book to discuss with children.
Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis
A warm-hearted story about an adopted child that helps explain to children where they came from. A great picture book to read to your child and a useful book for a topic table on adoption and families.
I Don’t Have Your Eyes by Carrie A. Kitze
A book that shows children that physical differences don’t define families or relationships. A helpful book to read to an adopted child, or share with a class in KS2 to promote discussion.
I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
A book that celebrates diversity and distinctiveness. Fun and joyful it helps children embrace and enjoy what makes then unique. A good book to stimulate discussion and early writing.
We Belong Together by Todd Parr
With bright bold images and a sensitive and easy to follow story, this is a great book to promote art ideas for a family, adoption or all about me topic in KS1.
The Day We Met You by Phoebe Koehler
This classic picture book tells the story of a young couple preparing to welcome an adopted child to complete their family. Designed to be read to a young child to explain where they came from, this is a thought-provoking picture book to read to classes in both KS1 and lower KS2 in circle time or PSHE.
Adoption by Anita Ganeri
This book invites children to question and consider how they feel about the concept of adoption. The book explores many different situations and scenarios with a deft alacrity.
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce
A fun and fast-moving middle-grade novel about an alien who is fostered by a large family on a farm. An interesting sideways look at family relationships and an ideal topic book for family topics in upper KS2 classes.
The Most Precious Present in the World by Becky Edwards
This picture book promotes the message that you don’t have to look like your parents and siblings to be part of a family, and that love, ties, and relationships are far more important than appearances. An ideal topic book.
Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
A positive large-format book with vibrant illustrations. Great for family reading or reading aloud to a class before discussing. It’s also useful as an impetus for art activities.
Little Stork’s New Home by Carolyn Robertson
A sensitive picture book that carefully explains the process of adoption in a way small children will understand and empathise with.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
A warm story about two penguins who decide to adopt a child. With the help of a zookeeper, Roy and Silo start a family. A useful topic book to help discuss and explain how all families are based on parental love.
The Teazles’ Baby Bunny by Susan Bagnall
The Teazle rabbits adopt a newborn bunny in this moving picture book story for children aged 3-6, produced by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.
Patina (Track) by Jason Reynolds
An inspirational story that shows upper KS2 readers that adopted and fostered children can achieve amazing things and overcome difficulties.
The Child of Dreams by Irena Brignull
When a young girl wants to find out why she never had a father, she sets out on a quest to answer the questions her mother is unable to provide. On the way, she talks to animals and finds out from them what really makes a family special. Tender and evocative, this is a great book to read to classes in upper KS1 or lower KS2.
I Wished for You: An Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond
Barney the bear asks his mother poignant questions about where he came from in this moving and atmospheric picture book about adoption. Ideal to read to children aged 2-5.
Dustbin Baby by Jacqueline Wilson
April knows she was found in a dustbin and fostered. But it’s not until 14 years later that she begins to ask questions and want to find out more about where she came from and who her real parents were. An engrossing and powerful read for older KS2 and early KS3 pupils that is ideal for book club discussion.
What Type Of Family Are We? by Lizzy Seaton
A visually engaging picture book that explores families in every imaginable form. The animal illustrations, which include hippos, lions, chimpanzees, elephants, and camels will appeal to children in KS1.
I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb
A stunning and beautifully illustrated picture book set to verse that tells the story of Hoda Kotb’s adopted child, Haley Joy. A wonderful book to read to your child.
Looking for more topic books? Try our books for topics in KS1 and KS2 page.
We also have a list of recommended reading books for children aged 3-11.
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