Reading can help caregivers communicate hard topics to their kids. Here are several book recommendations for kids in foster care.
We are a book family. I’ve always looked to books to help me gain a deeper understanding about things I’m interested in. I also have a deep love for fiction and the ways it helps us build empathy by giving perspectives of people different from us.
Utilizing books when addressing things with the kids has become a standard in our home. Books can explain and relate to the kids in a way that meets them at their level and sticks with them. We’ve read books on making friends and missing people we love. Books about what to do when we’re angry or when we feel left out have helped our kids through different experiences.
Therefore, finding books to help our kidsprocess their experience in foster care and the meaning of adoption has been important. I’ve picked four books that stand out from our library that have been beneficial to our family. Reading these books with any biological kids you may have is also valuable. Stories about kids in foster care can help them to understand what a peer may be experiencing. It can help them be a good friend and learn how to support kids in foster care.
Book One – Maybe Days : A Book for Children in Foster Care
We have several books along the same lines of this one. However, Maybe Days seems to do the best job of explaining the experience of foster care. It also describes the role of people the child encounters in foster care such as therapists, social workers, judges, and more. It also validates a variety of experiences and emotions.
This book also includes a great resource at the end for foster parents and other adults. This afterword gives valuable advice for supporting and talking with kids and what types of reactions to expect. The book is appropriate for ages 4 – 10 and does a great job being informative but also easy to read.
Book Two – A Terrible Thing Happened
Any book that reads more like a story but can be deeply relatable to the kiddos is a great addition to the library. We have a few that stand out, but our kids really identified with A Terrible Thing Happened. The story does a great job of identifying the different physical, emotional, and mental side effects of experiencing trauma. Watching the main character experience these side effect then receive help at gaining coping mechanisms and tools to process and heal is a great lesson.
The story is written for children who have witnessed violence or experienced trauma. It can be relatable for kids in many circumstances and help them find common ground and build empathy. Similar to the last book I shared, it also has an afterword with resources for parents. In addition to a comprehensive list of other recommended books, it also outlines 15 helpful tips on how to work with kids that have experienced trauma.
Book Three – A Little Spot of Feelings : Emotion Detective
I honestly recommend these books to any parent, but they’ve been especially helpful as we process emotions and feelings with our kids. This book is part of a series which can get more specific based on feelings like anger, anxiety, sadness, love, and more. This particular one in the series helped us talk about a variety of emotions in a way that was very practical to the kids. It outlines the physical cues of different emotions and provides language to help kids identify more specific feelings.
This book has some fun extras. The one we got includes a mirror on the inside of the back cover. This is a fun addition for practicing what different emotions may look like on your child/s face! Ours also came with a set of “feeling spots” which are 7 plush characters each labeled with one of the main emotions covered in the book. The kids regularly grab one of the “spots” if they have a feeling they want to express. Finally, the removable outer cover of the book has an incredible feelings chart on it that we have hanging on our fridge. It has 55 total feelings with faces on it that help to really empower our kiddos to more specifically name what they are feeling. Maybe instead of sad, they are more uneasy or embarrassed. Instead of just happy they might be hopeful or optimistic! It shows the kids the broad range of emotions and helps them build the language to share how they feel.
Book Four – Adoption is Both
While not universal to all kids in foster care, talking to kids about adoption can be very difficult. When our kids first heard the word, we wanted to be sensitive to how complex it is and help them understand the fullness of what it means. Adoption can easily be praised as something to be celebrated and a positive experience. However, recognizing the trauma and pain that can come with it too is important.
This book was perfect for the ages of our 6 and 7 year old. It allowed us to talk about the good things that come with adoption as well as the hard things. While it means gaining a forever family, it can also mean losing people that the child cares for and loves. It empowers an adopted child to decide how they want to share their story. It also validates the mix of emotions that often come with this journey.