I am all about a great read aloud, but a read aloud about a subject that’s close to my heart? Even better! Using books about adoption can be mirrors and windows for our little learners: mirrors that show relatable stories and windows to give students a peek into something new. This is a powerful time during the day!
I wanted to share some books about adoption that can help you introduce this concept to your students. Students may come from diverse families or know someone else who does. Some students may have never even heard of adoption.
Kids are always curious about anything new they haven’t seen before. Teachers have a fabulous opportunity to build some background knowledge about adoption. There are so many wonderful children’s books to help you do it, but here are a few that I think will work great in the classroom.
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This book is a great choice for introducing the idea of adoption to your kiddos. It’s about a little bird who’s looking for a mother. After asking several animals, a mother bear comes along and takes him home to her other children: a pig, an alligator, and a hippo. Choco learns that his mother doesn’t have to look like him, just care for him like a mother would.
While this book is simple, I love it because it’s easy to understand, and you can introduce the adoption language that’s appropriate for your group of students. HERE is a link with some tips on positive adoption language.
Beautiful illustrations and words make this one of my favorite books about adoption. It describes the process of adopting a child from Africa by a caucasian family with two biological children. It tells the story of how the family talks about the new child, gets the home ready, and is always thinking about the child who is growing in Mommy’s heart instead of her belly. This book shows the beauty of international adoption through a simple story of excitement and love for a child.
This adorable book is about a baby brown bear who arrives at the zoo and is very scared, so a polar bear takes him in as her own. Even though they don’t look alike, the baby brown bear fits in with his new family and is very loved.
It does touch on some negative things people may say to those who don’t have traditional families, but it’s a wonderful tool to use to teach empathy and that it’s okay for families to look different. Students will love the pictures and the message!
The sweet book is one of several by Kirk in the Miss Spider series. On her first day after popping out of her egg, Miss Spider is searching for her mother. Betty the Beetle tries to help her find her mother, but after no luck, she offers to have Miss Spider stay with her. Miss Spider learns that a mother’s love can come from anyone “who loves you the best”. There’s also a well-done animated video of the book HERE.
This book helps explain that we can celebrate our physical differences and find commonalities that make families. For example, Kitz writes “I don’t have your eyes but I have your way of looking at things.” The illustrations depict a wide variety of skin tones and ethnicities throughout the book. What a great way to show that families come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but it is what’s on the inside that matters the most.
Students will relate to Cassidy-Li as she goes through the process of finding pictures of her family for her poster for Star of the Week in her kindergarten class. Because she was adopted as a baby from China, she doesn’t have any pictures of her birth parents. Her family helps her come up with a creative way to include them.
This book does a great job diving deeper into the emotions, confusion, and issues that might come up for an adopted child. It’s marketed for children ages five to nine. Younger students will be able to understand this book, but there’s definitely room to dive deeper with older students.
Remember to preview books about adoptions (as you would for any book you read to students) yourself to make sure they’re appropriate for your group of students. You can find many of them being read on YouTube! If you have adoptive families in your classroom, you can ask them for their favorite read alouds to share, too.
Do you have any other books about adoption you would add to this list? Head to my Facebook group and let me know there!