Adoption is such a gift, for parents and kids alike and that’s what makes this list of picture books about adoption even sweeter. We’ve rounded books about adopting a new sibling or pet. These stories are perfect for explaining to adopted kids how loved they are or helping a sibling welcome an adopted or fostered family member. If you’re looking for adoption books geared toward older kids, check out our list of middle grade books about adoption and foster care.
21 Beautiful Picture Books About Adoption
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Can I Be Your Dog?
Published: March 13, 2018
Arfy is a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he’d make. His letters to prospective owners share that he’s house broken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won’t anyone open their heart–and home–to a lonesome dog? Readers will be happily surprised to learn just who steps up to adopt Arfy.
Home for A While
Published: February 2, 2021
Calvin is in foster care, and he wants to trust someone, anyone, but is afraid to open his heart. He has lived in a lot of houses, but he still hasn’t found his home. When he moves in with Maggie, she shows him respect, offers him kindness, and makes him see things in himself that he’s never noticed before. Maybe this isn’t just another house, maybe this is a place Calvin can call home, for a while.
We Belong to Each Other
Published: March 9, 2021
At first, Grace feels as if she doesn’t belong because she is the only sheep at White Cottage Farm. But as she experiences the love of the other animals and of the kind man and woman and their baby, she begins to feel safe in her new home and recognizes that God provided her with a loving family.
What Will I Do with My Love Today?
Published: March 8, 2022
What Will I Do with My Love Today? is a sweet adventure picture book by celebrity Kristin Chenoweth, known for her role in Broadway’s Wicked and her Emmy Award–winning performance in the ABC hit series Pushing Daisies. Join young Kristi Dawn as she joyfully walks around New York City, sharing her love through acts of generosity—from singing in the church choir to helping a neighbor weed her garden. When she meets a lonely dog looking for a home, Kristi shows that adoption is one of the most loving and life-changing gifts of all.
Through delightful rhyme and examples of child-friendly (and pup-friendly!) acts of generosity and kindness, Chenoweth shares the powerful message that the more love you give, the more love you get back! This read-aloud picture book
- is perfect for kids ages 4 to 8,
- tells a meaningful story alongside playful illustrations from Maine Diaz,
- is a great gift for baby showers, adoption parties, soon-to-be older siblings, and dog-loving kids,
- is a meaningful way to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day, National Dog Day, and National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day,
- and is a fun gift for fans of Kristin Chenoweth.
Inspired by Chenoweth’s inspiring, love-filled message, your kids will jump out of bed every morning and say, “What will I do with my love today?”
A Crocodile in the Family
Published: November 23, 2021
The birds decide to take the egg home and take good care of it. When the egg eventually hatches, the family is surprised to discover that it isn’t a baby bird inside—it’s a baby crocodile!
The birds raise their new baby crocodile as one of their own, and as their curious community continues to ask questions about why they keep him, the family says the answer is simple. Because he belongs, that’s why!
Published: June 3, 2014
This is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Gaston works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch. He sips—never slobbers! He yips—never yaps! And he walks with grace—never races! Gaston fits right in with his poodle sisters.
But a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park—Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette—reveals there’s been a mix-up, and so Gaston and Antoinette switch places. The new families look right…but they don’t feel right. Can these puppies follow their noses—and their hearts—to find where they belong?
A Piglet Named Mercy
Published: April 2, 2019
Mr. Watson and Mrs. Watson live ordinary lives. Sometimes their lives feel a bit too ordinary. Sometimes they wish something different would happen. And one day it does, when someone unpredictable finds her way to their front door. In a delightful origin story for the star of the Mercy Watson series, a tiny piglet brings love (and chaos) to Deckawoo Drive — and the Watsons’ lives will never be the same.
And Tango Makes Three
Published: June 1, 2005
At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo get the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.
I Love You Like Crazy Cakes
Published: September 1, 2000
This story of a woman who travels to China to adopt a baby girl, based on the author’s own experiences, is a celebration of the love and joy a baby brings into the home. Full color.
A Most Unusual Day
Published: April 10, 2018
Something rather extraordinary is happening in Caroline’s life today . . . her family is adopting a new baby sister! A warm and loving story about school, family, siblings, and adoption, for anyone eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new sibling.
Today is a very unusual day! Caroline wakes up late, forgets her socks, and feels strange all the way to school. She tries to help her teacher, but everything is mixed up today and all Caroline manages to do is make a great big mess. Finally, the school day ends and Caroline rushes outside to greet her parents, who are having a rather extraordinary day themselves. In their arms they hold Caroline’s new baby sister, who has just arrived from far away.
When the Babies Came to Stay
Published: March 24, 2020
The first baby arrived on the mail plane, the second two on the ferry, the fourth asleep on a pile of nets, smelling of mackerel. Who were the babies? Where did they come from? The notes left with them said “Please keep this baby safe” and “Please give my child shelter.” Only the librarian can take them home, and the library is where they grow up. The whole island helps to raise them. The fisherman teaches them to cast from the pier, the ferryman shows them charts of the sea, and from the harbormaster they learn to recognize birds.
I’ve Loved You Since Forever
Published: March 6, 2018
With Kotb’s lyrical text and stunning pictures by Suzie Mason, young ones and parents will want to snuggle up and read the pages of this book together, over and over again.
In the universe,
there was you and
there was me,
waiting for the day our
stars would meet. . .
We Belong Together: A Book About Adoption and Families
Published: November 1, 2007
In a kid-friendly, accessible way, this book explores the ways that people can choose to come together to make a family. It’s about sharing your home and sharing your heart to make a family that belongs together.
Wolfie the Bunny
Published: February 17, 2015
The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can–and might–eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it’s Wolfie who’s threatened, can Dot save the day?
Little Pink Pup
Published: June 10, 2010
Pink was the runt of the pig litter. He was so small that the Kerby family didn’t think he would survive—so they brought him into the house where he met Tink, a new dachshund mom. When Tink saw Pink, she immediately adopted him into her family, and helped nurse him back to health. Pink thrived in his new family: the puppies didn’t mind that Pink looked nothing like them—he was just their size.
Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg
Published: October 14, 2014
In this heartwarming story, a dragon in need of an egg finds an abandoned egg in need of a mommy. It seems like the perfect fit, but when that egg hatches, the little baby doesn’t look like all the other dragons. In fact, he looks a lot like a penguin! Of course, his mommy loves him no matter what. But the other young dragons aren’t so sure. Little do they know that their feathered friend’s differences will save the day! Sometimes things happen for a reason . . . and some families are just meant to be together.
Yes, I’m Adopted!
Published: July 29, 2014
“Yes, adoption makes me special, it means that I am loved…”
This brightly colored children’s book illustrates how adoption is brought about by love. Written from a child’s point of view, the rhyming verse takes you through an adoption journey from start to finish. It is perfect for anyone, young or old, whose life has been blessed by adoption.
My New Mom and Me
Published: March 22, 2016
Told from the point of view of a puppy who is adopted by a cat, this gentle and reassuring tale is perfect for very young readers and listeners.
When the puppy comes to live with his new mom, he is nervous. After all, his mom has stripes and he doesn’t. But his mom says she likes that they look different, and soon the puppy likes it, too. (And who cares what anyone else thinks!)
The puppy’s new mom does all the things other parents do. She plays with him, takes care of him, and sometimes even makes him mad! But that’s okay, because when he’s feeling sad, she knows just what to say.
A Mama for Owen
Published: March 27, 2007
Owen the baby hippo and his mama were best friends. They loved to play hide-and-seek on the banks of the Sabaki River in Africa. That was all before the tsunami came and washed Owen’s world away.
But after the rain stops, Owen befriends Mzee, a grayish brown tortoise. He plays with him, snuggles with him, and decides he just might turn out to be his best friend and a brand-new mama.
I Wished for You: An Adoption Story for Kids
Published: January 1, 2008
Thus begins this beautiful story for adoptive families. I Wished for You: An Adoption Story follows a conversation between a little bear named Barley and his Mama as they curl up in their favorite cuddle spot and talk about how God chose them to be a family. Barley asks Mama the kinds of questions many adopted children have, and Mama lovingly answers them all.
With endearing prose and charming watercolor illustrations, I Wished for You is a cozy read that affirms how love is what truly makes a family.
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born
Published: July 19, 1996
Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell, the New York Times bestselling team behind Today I Feel Silly and I’m Gonna Like Me, bring us a tender and funny picture book for every parent and child. Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born is a special celebration of the love and joy an adopted child creates for a family.
In asking her parents to tell her again about the night of her birth, a young girl relives a cherished tale she knows by heart. Focusing on the significance of family and love, this a unique and beautiful story about adoption and the importance of a loving family.
A beautiful adoption story, Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born also speaks to the universal childhood desire to know more about the excitement, awe, love, and sleeplessness that a new baby brings to a family.
Tell me again about the night I was born.
Tell me again how you would adopt me and be my parents.
Tell me again about the first time you held me in your arms.
There they are: 21 of the best picture books about adoption. Which of these books have you read? Which ones did I miss?