All of Our Favorite Books

Adopting: Sound Choices, Strong Families
by Patricia Irwin Johnston

This book explores the process of adopting as an emotional journey that begins with infertility, single status and other family building challenges and takes the reader through the decision making, preparation and lifelong experience of adopting. Does a great job of looking at the deeper issues and acknowledging the complexity of adoption today including a focus on couples communication and infertility.

Pact says: Pat speaks clearly and directly to and for the infertile who choose to adopt.

Adopting the Hurt Child webstore.jpg Adopting the Hurt Child
by Gregory Keck & Regina Kupecky

Chapters on waiting children; attachment difficulties; impermanence; dreams and realities; giving your child a history; therapy; when adoption fails; success stories; international adoption, and reflections from the trenches.

Pact says: With the help of this book, families dealing with hurt children will realize that neither they or their children are crazy or alone. A Pact best seller.
Adoption and the Schools
by Lansing Wood & Nancy Ng

Powerful advocacy for adopted school age kids. How to influence your children's schools toward adoption positive reflections. Includes sections on curriculum, homework, attitudes of teachers and administrators, challenges for adopted kids and more. Spiral bound so handouts can be reproduced and distributed to schools within your sphere of influence.

Pact says: Highly recommended for the home library of every parent of an adopted child. A great book to help parents consciously address the school community.

Adoption is a Family Affair webstore.jpg Adoption is a Family Affair
by Patricia Johnston

Many times extended family are relieved to have a guide book that helps them know how to support their relatives who adopt This book offers guidance for friends and extended family members in interacting with pre- and post-adoptive families.

Pact says: A wonderful tool, easy to read and the suggestions are on target making this a perfect gift for extended family.

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AdoptionNation.jpg Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America
by Adam Pertman

In this revised edition of Adam Pertman's award-winning book, first published in 2000, readers will find updated information on every aspect of adoption and its changing role in American society. Pertman suggests ways our laws should be changed to improve the adoption process and remove the obstacles that keep the children who most need permanent homes from getting them.

Pact says: A Pulitzer nominated journalist, Pertman argues against adoption for profit and highlights positive adoption impacts on society.
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Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections
edited by Jean MacLeod and Sheena McRae

A manual for adoptive parents that covers the ages from "birth through pre-adolescence," this book offers articles (most of which are relatively brief) from many different contributors on a very wide variety of topics relevant to parenting an adopted child, with an emphasis on topics relevant to parenting the internationally adopted child. Many of the articles are accompanied by a list of resources for further reading.

Pact says: A wonderful tool, easy to read and the suggestions are on target, making this a perfect gift for extended family.
After-Tupac-and-D-Foster.jpg After Tupac and D Foster
by Jacqueline Woodson

After Tupac is a deeply felt novel about the power of friendship. Two 11-year-old African American girls are suddenly joined by D, a girl in foster care who talks about the need to find your Big Purpose. When D is unexpectedly reunited with her mother, she is lost to them without warning. The book tells the story of their two year relationship and how changed they are by their connection to one another.

Pact says: A very well-written novel that does a unusually good job of depicting the depth and power of friendship between tweens moving toward the teen years. The foster/adoption aspect of D’s story is a bonus..

allfamilies.jpg All Families Are Special
by Norma Simon

Beginning with an adoptive family, Norma Simon does a great job of describing the wide variety that exists among families. Big and small, one parent or two, adoptive or kinship, two mom's or none, she has made sure there is variety and validation for each and every constellation she describes and those she does not. With vivid illustrations, each family is talked about in terms that young schoolagers will relate to. Simon ends the book by talking about the ways families support each other during good times and bad.

Pact says: A very sweet book that affirms the differences between us while underscoring the significance of families. Ideal for classroom use or to curl up in a big chair and read with that child who needs to be reminded that his or her family is very special.
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All-the-Colors-of-the-Earth.jpg All The Colors Of The Earth
by Shiela Hamanaka

Reveals in verse the truth that, despite outward differences, children everywhere are essentially the same and all are lovable. Everyone is present and represented — the children come in all the colors of love.

Pact Says: A lovely and affirming book for preschoolers.

colors.gif All the Colors We Are
by Katie Kissinger

Demystifies skin color differences. Human beings have different skin tones to protect us from the sun's harmful rays. Melanin gives us color; all human beings have melanin in their skin, eyes, and hair. Each page has a spectrum of colors, allowing kids to match their own color to the colors on the page. Bilingual in Spanish and English.

Pact says: This is the best book we have found to help children view coloration from a scientific point of view rather than a judgmental one. We feel it should be in every child's library. A Pact bestseller.

Amazing.jpg Amazing Grace
by Mary Hoffman

When told she cannot be Peter Pan in the school play because she's a girl and because she's Black, Grace challenges the racist, sexist attitudes at her school (with the help of her family) and prevails. Grace's mother and grandmother teach her to fight bias by preparing, not by trying to protect her - a lesson useful for all parents.

Pact says: An inspiring favorite that should be in every child’s library!

AmericanBorn.jpg American Born Chinese
by Gene Luen Yang

Graphic novelist Gene Yang follows three different plot lines about Chinese youth trying to fit into American culture. This much-anticipated, affecting graphic novel about growing up different is more than just the story of a Chinese-American childhood; it’s a fable for every kid born into a body that doesn’t always fit in and the struggle to come to acceptance and peace within one’s own identity.

Pact says: Very relevant, particularly to Asian adoptees, who often feel caught between worlds.

American Eyes
Edited by Lori Colson

Short stories that burn with the conflicts and choices that occur when two cultures come together. The search for identity that is depicted in many of the stories sometimes leads back to Asian roots: in one selection, an adopted person journeys to her native Korea to find her biological parents. The many stories of culture clash and identity seeking, are relevant to all adopted youth, especially those of Asian descent.

Pact says: This book acknowledges racism for Asian youth and gives adopted Asians a context for seeing their own struggles toward identity in a larger context —opening the door to commonalities with non-adopted kids.

andTango.jpg and Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell

A true story about two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who become a couple, build a nest together and start a family by hatching an abandoned egg given to them by the zoo-keeper. The book is a gentle, fun and matter-of-fact illustration of the point that two-dad families and adoptive families both are just another kind of family.
antonioscard.jpg Antonio's Card/La Tarjeta de Antonio
by Rigoberto Gonzalez and Cecilia Alvarez

Antonio loves his routine-being dropped off at school by his mother in the morning and picked up by her partner, Leslie, in the afternoon. Some of the children in his class begin to make comments about Leslie's unusual height, her masculine appearance, and her paint-splattered overalls. It takes sharing a love of art and of family with Leslie for Antonio to feel ready to claim his family publicly. Sensitively written in English, with an excellent translation by Jorge Argueta, the narrative captures the social worries and concerns that children in all kinds of "nontraditional families" may experience.

Pact says: This story deals brilliantly with issues of inclusion.

An-Ya-and-Her-Diary.jpg An-Ya and Her Diary
by Diane Christian

An-Ya and Her Diary is a novel about an 11-year-old Chinese girl struggling to adjust to her new life in America with her adoptive family. Through the pages of her diary, the reader feels her confusion, her anger, and her slowly dawning understanding of what it means to be part of a family. This is a girl, and a family, who are going to make it. Written by an adoptive mother, there is compassion and understanding for the experience of an adopted girl that is both welcome and surprising.

Pact says: This is a well-written novel with a strong main character that depicts the complex emotional experience of someone adopted in middle childhood.

an-ya-reader-guide.jpg An-Ya and her Diary Workbook (Reader and Parent Guide)
by Diane René Christian

An-Ya and Her Diary is a novel about an 11-year-old Chinese girl struggling to adjust to her new life in America with her adoptive family. Through the pages of her diary, the reader feels her confusion, her anger, and her slowly dawning understanding of what it means to be part of a family. This is a girl, and a family, who are going to make it. Written by an adoptive mother, there is compassion and understanding for the experience of an adopted girl that is both welcome and surprising.

Pact says: The Reader and Parent Guide is a wonderful addition to the book and includes suggestions from adult adoptees and professionals.
AsianAmerican.jpg Asian American Dreams
by Helen Zia

Award-winning journalist Zia traces the changing politics and cultures of Asian Americans by examining the incidents that helped galvanize them. This well-written book is an important addition to the growing field of Asian American studies. The result is a vivid personal and national history, in which Zia guides us through a range of recent flash points that have galvanized the Asian-American community.

Pact says: This is the best book we have found to give an overview of the Asian American experience.

Attachment Parenting
by William and Martha Sears

A common-sense guide to understanding and nurturing your baby, encouraging early, strong, and sustained attention to the new baby’s needs, this book outlines the steps that will create the most lasting bonds between parents and their children. The heart of the Sears’ parenting creed is one every new parent should consider, particularly adoptive families.

Pact says: A great resource for parents, although the tone is occasionally prescriptive.

AuntHarriets.jpg Aunt Harriet's Railroad in the Sky
by Faith Reingold

Cassie and BeBe, the young protagonists of Ringgold's Tar Beach, take a fantastical flight. They encounter a remnant of the Underground Railroad whose conductor is Harriet Tubman. Rambunctious BeBe boards the train, leaving his worried sister to follow behind with only directions from "Aunt Harriet" & the kindness of strangers to guide her.

Pact says: Bountiful, color-rich images make for a useful tool to talk about slavery and the underground railroad of allies who worked to help free the slaves.

Baby webstore.jpg Baby
by Patricia Maclachlan

Larkin and her friend Lalo find a baby in a basket with this note: “This is Sophie. She is good…. I love her. I will come back for her one day.” Larkin’s family welcomes Sophie, but her arrival forces them to come to terms with a secret loss. Some are afraid to love Sophie, always wondering if her mother will return for her. In time, though, Larkin learns to make peace with love and loss. This story of a family’s responses to an abandoned baby is told with a child’s voice and focuses on the child’s role.

Pact says: Holding the reader captive from start to finish, BABY is sure to inspire discussion about family building through adoption and foster families.

BackOfTheBus.jpg Back of the Bus
by Aaron Reynolds, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

The story of Rosa Parks is told from a young black boys perspective and he and his mother ride on the back of the bus and watch Rosa Parks refuse to give up her seat for a white person.

Pact says: What is great about this book is that the story unfolds just as it would for a child, sometimes uncertain, trying to figure out not only the words but also the body language of the adults around him. This makes for a great conversation starter about how Rosa Parks and others reacted and stood up to segregation and racism.

Because I Loved You: A Birthmother's View of Open Adoption
by Patricia Dischler

This unique blend of Patricia's personal story (20 years post-placement) combined with her advice and research as to what expectant parents considering an adoption can anticipate at each stage of the process is very helpful because it goes beyond the placement to adulthood of the child placed for adoption. Patricia is careful to a fault not to overstep her boundaries by trespassing on her son's adoptive mother's territory, and she is thoughtful and articulate in her advice and insight.

Pact says: by a welcome voice that is too often under represented in the world of adoption.
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Becoming Naomi Leon
by Pam Munoz Ryan

Naomi is biracial, Mexican and white, the only one in the family who looks like a person of color. Her mother left Naomi and her little brother with her grandmother when she was quite young. When Naomi's mother reappears after seven years, the family conflict that ensues pushes Naomi's grandmother to bring the kids to Oaxaca to search for Naomi's Mexican father. Naomi gets a chance to learn about and become a part of her Mexican extended family. While in Mexico, Naomi finds her cultural heritage and her own voice.

Pact says: This book explores many issues that are relevant to adopted children - particularly those adopted transracially. The book's themes of bridging several families, connecting different cultures, and forging a personal identity gives transracially adopted kids much to think about.

becoming-the-parent-you-want-to-be.jpg Becoming the Parent You Want to Be
A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years
By Laura Davis & Janis Keyser

A sourcebook of strategies for the first five years, this book offers a developmental approach for both children and parents. Provides parents with energy to explore, experiment and grow along with their kids. The authors examine both the needs of children and the feelings of parents. Dealing particularly well with the topic of kids who push limits, the authors suggest practical means for responding calmly and effectively.

Pact says: Thought-provoking, challenging and enriching, a great resource for every new and not-so-new parent's shelf.

Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self
by David Brodzinsky

Emphasizing adoption issues as viewed “through the eyes of adopted people,” this book normalizes the developmental progressions of identity formation that are common to adopted people. Without pathologizing adoption, the authors demonstrate adoption as a lifelong issue.

Pact says: Excellent. Blending research, theory, practicality and sensitivity, the authors normalize developmental stages and understanding of children and adults who have been adopted.


$6.50
A self-assessment guide for adoptive families considering adoption across racial or cultural lines. This learning tool will help pre-adoptive parents decide for themselves if transracial adoption is the right choice for their family. It is designed to give parents feedback as to how challenging this form of parenting is likely to be for them depending on their personality, lifestyle, attitude about race and knowledge of races other than their own Professionals will find this tool invaluable.

Comments from the field: "This was a useful tool for increasing our awareness of our experience as a transracial couple and family and for opening areas of exploration for us as a couple, as parents and prospective adoptive parents. For example, completing the survey helped us to recognize some important differences in our individual responses and contributions to parenting, given that one of us is Caucasian and the other Hispanic. Until now, we had focused on our simlar interests and shared bilinguality, but we had missed that for one of us transracial issues have been central to learning to be a parent, while for the other these issues have not arisen at all. Thanks for helping us dig deeper."

    Susan McKenna & Rafael Coto

    Bulk pricing is available at the rate of $5.00 for 11-100, $3.50 for more than 100. Please email us for more information.
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Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens
By Debbie Riley & John Meeks

This book gives clinicians and therapists insight into adopted teens and is an important new contribution to the field of adoption. Adopted teens are facing complex issues that require therapists and clinicians who are educated about their unique struggles. The authors identify six adolescent "stuck spots" and discuss some of the ways that therapists and parents can help children process the issues when they arise.

Pact says: Directed to clinicians, this book is very useful to parents as well - offering insight into what adopted teens are feeling. Excellent resource!

Beyond Good Intentions
by Cheri Register

Cheri, the white mother of two adult daughters adopted from Korea, has written ten essays about pitfalls that well-meaning parents like herself can easily slip into. The author’s advice is based on her own experience of raising her daughters, her daughters’ reflections on their childhoods, and the experiences of many other adult international adoptees. She is direct and honest in looking at herself and what worked as well as what did not work for her daughters and the many other adoptees she has worked with and interviewed.

Pact says: These essays offer a thoughtful, candid look at the intersection between parental feelings and expectations and an adopted child’s emotional needs, whether they were adopted internationally or domestically.

Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness
by Jane Lazarre

A mother’s recognition of white economic, social, and moral complicity in the power structure of racism. “I am Black,” Jane Lazarre’s son tells her. This book is her memoir about learning to look at race in a way that passionately informs the connections between herself and her family.

Pact says: This book is fabulous; clear-eyed, thoughtful and moving. It is not about adoption but is about the experience of a white parent of Black children. Jane Lazarre is a terrific writer..

Bippity Bop Barbershop
by Natasha Tarpley, Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

In this companion book to the bestselling I Love My Hair, a young boy, Miles, makes his first trip to the barbershop with his father. Like most little boys, he is afraid of the sharp scissors, the buzzing razor, and the prospect of picking a new hairstyle. But with the support of his dad, the barber, and the other men in the barbershop, Miles bravely sits through his first haircut.

Pact says: Written in a reassuring tone with a jazzy beat, this book captures an important rite of passage forboys and celebrates African American identity.

Birth Mothers
by Mary Bloch Jones

70 women tell their stories of placing a baby into adoption; they include discovery of the pregnancy; birth and separation from the baby; relinquishment; later impact; raising other children; search; reunion; and more. Though the quality of the writing is mixed, each brief portrait is thoughtful and illuminates the courage and character of a mother who has placed her child for adoption.

Pact says: Great reading for anyone interested in the birth parent experience.

Birthright
by Jean Strauss

A Guide to Search and Reunion for Adoptees, Birthparents and Adoptive Parents This book is filled with storiesâ026direct quotes from adoptive parents, birth parents, and adopted people who have experienced search and reunion. Includes guidelines for beginning a search.

Pact says: Jean is a great writer and this is a good overview of what to expect and how to handle both the emotional and logistical steps that are often involved.

Black Baby White Hands: A View from the Crib
by Jaiya John

Transracial adoption remains a potent and charged idea in American social life. Now, the children of these adoptions are coming of age as adults. Dr. Jaiya John, through his honest memoir, presents us with a voice from deep within the heart of this cultural and psychological phenomenon. The first Black child in the history of New Mexico to be adopted by a white family, John’s story is a landmark. John’s adoptive parents taught him how to love; hence, he could readily accept and envelope his biological family. He takes a spiritual view of his path through adoption and life.

Pact says: A heartfelt memoir with a spiritual viewpoint.

Black is Brown is Tan
by Arnold Adoff

This collection of poems about biracial identity, presented in an accessible, conversational voice, has stood the test of time and serve as a good springboard for discussing racial heritage with children. Offering a clear and positive perspective for young people in general, the poems express the voice of a well-rounded character who values community while progressing toward self-realization.

Pact says: This poetry about biracial identity has been a favorite for over thirty years.

black-male-handbook.jpg The Black Male Handbook
by Kevin Powell

In his collection of essays for Black males on surviving, living, and winning. Kevin Powell taps into the social and political climate rising in the Black community, particularly as it relates to Black males. The Black Male Handbook creates a different kind of conversation—man-to-man and with Black male voices, all of the hiphop generation. The book tackles issues related to political, practical, cultural, and spiritual matters, and ending violence against women and girls.

Pact says: A welcome addition to any parent of Black children. Note: The book largely takes a traditional Christian viewpoint.
Black-Stats.jpg Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-First Century
by Monique W. Morris

Black Stats—a comprehensive guide filled with contemporary facts and figures on African Americans—is an essential reference for anyone who wants to check their facts about the African American population in 2014. With fascinating and often surprising information on everything from incarceration rates, lending practices, and the arts to marriage, voting habits, and green jobs, the contextualized material in this book will better attune readers to telling trends while challenging commonly held, yet often misguided, perceptions.

Pact says: Bravo to Ms. Morris. This book should be a reference in every school, every library and every family who cares about the well-being of Black children and families in America.

Borya and the Burps
by Joan McNamara, Illustrated by Dawn W. Majewski

This book is set in an orphanage in Eastern Europe and tells the story from the perspective of the child (Boyra) rather than the adults. Boyra watches and wonders about everything that is going on around him as his journey to adoption progresses.

Pact says: We love this book because it gives parents and children the chance to think about how kids feel safe and comfortable based on where they have been before rather than parents' own expections for what a child would want.

Breastfeeding-Without-Birthing.jpg Breastfeeding Without Birthing
by Alyssa Schnell

An incisive and graceful book specifically for adoptive mothers, mothers whose babies are born via surrogacy, and foster mothers, as well as for mothers who have had to terminate breastfeeding and now want to resume, and mothers who use a breast pump instead of feeding directly from the breast.

Whether you are an adoptive parent with a young child, or are waiting to be matched with a young child—even if you have no intention of breastfeeding—her chapters on attaching and promoting connection offer critical insights and are definitely worth reading.

Brendan-Buckleys-Universe-and-Everything-In-It.jpg Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything In It
by Sundee T. Frazier

Brendan Buckley is a 10-year-old biracial boy trying to understand why his white maternal grandfather is missing from his life – and why his parents won’t talk about it. Curious and determined, Brendan takes matters into his own hands and pieces the puzzle together. An engaging book about race, family and forgiveness. 2008 Coretta Scott King Award winner.

Pact says: This is a well-written book that deals with the issue of race and family conflict sensitively and intelligently. A very good book for older elementary-aged children..

Brief Chapter Impossible life webstore.jpg Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, A
by Dana Reinhardt

Simone has always felt different. As a member of a middle class professional family, studying for her SATs, facing dilemma’s about choosing to get drunk, having sex with boyfriends and smoking dope, she also happens to be adopted. Her parents ask her to consider meeting with and having contact for the first time ever with her birth mother, something that at 16 she isn’t sure about. She eventually agrees and finds that it really matters to her to find out her story.

Pact says: This book reads very true to upper- middle class teens who may be afraid to stir the emotional pot of search but in fact struggle to feel whole without information. A really good read.

Bright-Eyes-Brown-Skin.jpg Bright Eyes, Brown Skin
by Cheryl Willis Hudson

Olivia, Jordan, Ethan and Alexa all have “bright eyes, brown skin... warm as toast and all tucked in.” They are happy kids who are playful, cooperative, curious and full-speed-ahead. This paperback picture book is very appealing to young children, offering a recite-along rhyme which encourages a game to affirm each child’s own physical characteristics.

Pact says: The range of skin tones illustrated by the realistic images encourages children to respect diversity within their race and affirms the beauty of all brown skin, be it light tan or deep mahogany. .

Brothers.jpg Brothers and Sisters In Adoption
by Arletta James

This book is filled with stories…direct quotes from adoptive parents, birth parents, and adopted people who have experienced search and reunion. Includes guidelines for beginning a search.

Pact says: Arletta is a great writer and this is a good overview of what to expect and how to handle both the emotional and logistical steps that are often involved.

BrownBabies.jpg Brown Babies, Pink Parents
by Amy Ford

Brown Babies Pink Parents is a practical guide for Caucasian parents who are raising Black children. Author Amy Ford is the adoptive mother of three African American daughters. With firsthand experience in facing the challenges of Transracial adoption, she addresses a multitude of concerns from basic skin and hair care, racial socialization, accepting white privilege, and ways to celebrate the diversity of your family.

Pact says: Despite an unfortunate title that appears to trivialize race, this really is a helpful book with an upbeat, but realistic tone.

Bud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis

An orphaned runaway, Bud copes with the adult world with his numbered “Rules and Things.” His few treasures from his former life with “Momma,” are kept in a battered suitcase. One, a flyer advertising a musical group, leads him on a fantasy journey to an amazing reality as he looks to find a man he thinks might be his father.

Pact says: A great book that explores a child's sense of need for family and the whole notion of search and reunion.

Can We Talk About Race: And Other Coversations in an Era of School
By Beverly Daniel Tatum

Tatum starts with a warning call about increasing but underreported resegregation of America. A self-described “integration baby” born in 1954, Tatum believes that schools can be key to forging connections across the racial divide. Her strong voice calls into question many of the assumptions and approaches that schools have taken in addressing (or not) the success of children of color (and particularly Black children).

Pact says: We consider Beverly Daniel Tatum to be one of the truth-tellers about our current state of race relations and issues.

Caucasia066.jpg Caucasia
by Danzy Senna

Explores the internal cultural tug of war of a multiracial family. When their family breaks up, Birdie's Black father and sister move to Brazil to find racial equality, while Birdie and her white mother take on new identities and move to a small New Hampshire town where Birdie passes for white. Birdie tries to fit in but struggles to find a way to make both her white and black heritage to count. Her search for her sister leads to a search for her own identity.

Pact says: This is a well written book about the struggle for racial identity that multiracial youth face, particularly highlighting the differences between growing up with a strong African American influence versus living in a predominantly white environment.

Chocolate-Me.jpg Chocloate Me!
by Taye Diggs & Shavne Evans

Chocolate Me! tackles the topic of racially motivated teasing using simple text appropriate for even very young readers. The author notes that he spent part of his childhood is a predominately white community where he was constantly asked why his skin was dark and his hair kinky. The boy in the story is having the same experience. An appealing book with an affirming message about feeling good about one’s self - no matter what others might say. The book specifically affirms the beauty of African American skin and hair.

Pact says: A book that can offer a way to open the conversation with young children about a difficult experience.

Chrysanthemum
by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum's parents always told her that her name was perfect, and she thought so too until her first day of school when the kids teased her. An old classic that helps children explore their fears about being teased and desire to fit in.

Pact says: For every child who struggles when other kids make fun of them. Inspirational and funny.

ClapHands.jpg Clap Hands
by Helen Oxenbury

A simple and fun board book, that you can use interactively with your baby or young toddler. We carry it because of the appealing simple rhyming texts and the fact that the babies depicted represent all different races.

Pact says: Appealing simple rhyming texts, all the babies are different races. Fun for parents and children alike.

colorblind web store.jpg Colorblind
byTim Wise

Wise presents a very good argument that we are in no way living in a post-racial era. He takes the arguments often put forth by the liberal left and the conservative right and picks them apart one by one, using facts, details and statistics that are hard to argue with. If you already agree that we are a very long way from being “beyond” the issue of race, Wise will give you a detailed analysis to support that claim and a very nuanced picture of the many ways in which race impacts politics and public policy.

Pact says: Very interesting, well-written and accessible. If you are a reader who does believe in being “colorblind” Wise will give you a great deal to think about. Highly recommended.
TheColorsOfUs.jpg Colors of Us
by Karen Katz

Lena discovers that she and her friends and neighbors are all beautiful shades of brown. "I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up," says Lena. Then she sees everyone else in terms of delicious foods: Mom is the color of French toast. Lena's friend Sonia is the color of creamy peanut butter. Isabella is chocolate brown like the cupcakes they had for her birthday.

Pact says: A tasty approach to differences in skin color.

Con Mi Hermano / With My Brother
by Eileen Roe

A young boy treasures time with his older brother and is sad when he goes off to school. A nice depiction of brotherly love, with characters who just happen to be Latino and bilingual text. This simple, repetitive story paints a reassuring picture of family life and supportive relations. The Spanish text, rendered without regionalisms, is as direct and simple as the English version.

Pact says: A sweet book with colorful illustrations that speaks to how younger siblings look up to older ones.

Cool Salsa webstore.jpg Cool Salsa
by Lori Carlson

Growing up Latino in the United States sometimes means speaking two languages and learning the rules of two cultures. These poems celebrate the trials and triumphs that come with the experience with selections by Sandra Cisneros, Martin Espada, Gary Soto and Ed Vega. Bilingual in Spanish and English.

Pact says: These selections reinforce the bicultural experience of Latinos in general and give adopted Latinos insight into the cultural normalcy of their own experiences.

Copper-Sun.jpg Copper Sun
by Sharon Draper

Amari is 15 when she is kidnapped from her village in Africa and sold into slavery in America. She struggles to hold on to her memories and her sense of self as she is plunged into the horrors of slavery and clings to the hope that somehow, she may find her way back to freedom. There are a few moments, such as when Amari has a chance encounter with the man who she planned to marry in Africa, that stretch credibility. But overall, the story is a well-crafted and compelling read.

Pact says: well-crafted and compelling historical novel for older teens..

Daughter of the Ganges
by Asha Miro

Daughter of the Ganges is a moving, 2-part account of the author’s search for her roots in India, from where she was taken as an almost 7- year old to be adopted by a loving couple from Barcelona, Spain. The first part of the book details her first trip back to India as a 27-year-old, yearning to find the missing pieces in what little information she has about her first seven years of life. It is in the second part of her book, detailing her second return to India and her search for biological family, that her story takes some surprising turns, and where her simple language is used to greatest effect in describing what she discovers, and how it impacts her.

Pact says: She writes eloquently about the importance to her of searching and finding that connection, of seeing herself reflected in biological family members and of finally being able to imagine what her life would have been like had her circumstances been different. This last is a question that she had struggled with throughout her life in Barcelona.

DaveThePotter.jpg Dave The Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
by Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by Brian Collier

Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave.

Pact says: Dave The Potter, is a beautifully written book about an enslaved African man who was a talented potter. The book paints a lovely picture of Dave's artwork and how his pieces were crafted, but it seems to gloss over the fact that it was a brutal system that stole people’s freedom, families, and lives. As part of a collection this book is a great addition, as a stand-alone book to explain slavery this book is not enough.

davidsfather.jpg David's Father
by Robert M. Munsch

Julie was afraid of David’s father because he was a giant. David, who was adopted, is not a giant. When Julie gets to know David’s father, she finds out he is very nice after all! David responds, “Wait ‘til you meet my grandmother.”

Pact says: Every adopted child should have this book because it’s the only one that turns the tables and identifies the parents as “different “and the child as just a regular kid. Don’t miss this book. (Also available in Spanish, El Papa de David, for $5.95)

Day of Tears webstore.jpg Day of Tears: A Novel In Dialogue
by Julius Lester

This powerful and engaging historical novel is told in dialogue and through monologues. It also moves around in time, from the period when the story takes place to "interludes," in which the various characters look back on these events years later. It begins with a factual event-the largest slave auction in United States history that took place in 1859 on Pierce Butler's plantation in Georgia. Each character is well drawn and believable. Both blacks and whites liberally use the word "nigger," which can be jarring. The text itself is easy to read and flows nicely. Different typefaces distinguish the characters' monologues, their dialogues with one another, and their memories.

Pact says: Lester has done an admirable job of portraying the simmering anger and aching sadness that the slaves must have felt. Altogether this novel does a superb job of showing the inhumanity of slavery. It begs to be read aloud.

Day We Met You, The,
by Phoebe Koehler

Adopted children and their parents will want to celebrate that important day — the first homecoming — with this lovely and affirming book. Written for parents to read aloud, its details offer opportunities to reaffirm the details of this important homecoming.

Pact says: Affectionate and personal, it creates a mood that conveys comfort and reassurance.

Dear Birthmother webstore.jpg Dear Birthmother, Thank You for Our Baby
by Kathleen Silber

A collection of actual letters between adoptive parents and birth parents, and letters written by birth parents to their children, advocating for the benefits of openness and demonstrating, through the included letters, the ways in which initial - even though limited - openness provides the opportunity for increasing comfort and trust between birth parents and adoptive parents, to the benefit of the children loved by them all.

Pact says: Recommended by the Child Welfare League of America and Pact.

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dearprimo.jpg Dear Primo, A Letter to My Cousin
By - Tonatiuh, Duncan

From first-time author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh comes the story of two cousins, one in NY City, America and one in Mexico, and how their daily lives are different yet similar. Dear Primo covers the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of two very different childhoods, while also emphasizing how alike Charlie and Carlitos are at heart.

Pacts Says: Spanish words are scattered among the English text, providing a wonderful way to introduce the language and culture of Mexico to young children. A nice book for adoptees who are thinking about what life might have been in their country of birth vs what it is like in their American home.

decolres.jpg De Colores And Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children
By Jose-Luis Rozco & Elisa Kleven

Offers a selection of traditional children’s songs, chants, and rhymes from a variety of Latin American countries, with lyrics in Spanish and English translation, and music arranged for piano, voice, and guitar.

Pact says: A fun way to celebrate Latino culture as you and your children enjoy singing and learning the songs together.

Debating Race
by Michael Eric Dyson

Having risen from poverty to become an ordained minister and a tenured professor, Dyson has been called the Voice of Black America because of his ability to combine intellectual rigor with popular culture. Collecting 27 transcribed conversations with 27 thinkers, scholars and pop-political commentators, Dyson and company tackle practically every angle in America’s experience of race, including the legacy of the civil rights movustement, immigration reform, affirmative action, urban poverty and the war on terror.

Pact says: Dyson is controversial and provocative, offering real insight into the state of race in America.

Did My First Mother Love Me?
by Kathryn M Miller

Morgan knows her adoptive mother and father love her, but she wonders about her birth parents. Did they love her too? At the end of the book, there is a nice discussion for adults about how to talk about adoption with children.

Pact says: A Pact bestseller. Books that articulate the challenges of growing up adoption can be a real springboard to conversation and break through any sense of "being the only one" your adopted child may have. The illustrations are realistic and wonderfully detailed, using warm, clear colors and depicting simple scenes.

different.gif Different and Wonderful: Raising Black Children in a Race-Conscious Society
by Darlene & Derek Hopson

Written by African American psychologists, this book offers practical guidance for raising black children in a race-conscious society. Chapters focus on modeling, racial identification, sexuality, day-care and family relations. A great parenting book that approaches the process from an Afrocentric life view.

Pact says: This direct and clear book offers a positive and realistic approach toward preparing African American children to become positive, productive and self-respecting.

diffeentdragon.jpg Different Dragon, The
by Jennifer Bryan, Illustrated by Danamarie Hosler

This is an enchanting book of adventure and storytelling. Noah and his mother Go-Ma weave a tale of a boy in search of excitement and a dragon who doesn’t want to be fierce anymore. The author knows exactly how parents and young children tell stories, with input from the child driving the narration. The fact that Noah has two moms is incidental to the main story.

Pact says: Books that are creative and validating are important to children who live a “different” experience every day.

Dim Sum, Bagels and Grits: A Sourcebook for Multicultural Families
by Myra Alperson

Alperson will take you on a thoughtful, provocative and cheerful personal journey into the identity issues of multicultural adoptive families through her own experience of adopting her daughter Sadie from China as a single mother. This fascinating introduction to the diversity of approaches and attitudes among such families is enriched by voices not often heard from. Including lively stories from transracial adoptees and adoptive parents along with the author's own straightforward views.

Pact says: Alperson's approach provides a wonderful jump start to the thinking of anyone considering transracial adoption.

Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?; A Parent's Guide to Raising Multiracial Children
by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

This book takes a developmental look at raising multiracial children. The author is the white mom of Hapa (Asian/white) children. She asserts that race matters and offers concrete suggestions for how parents can talk with and shore up their kids to handle the racism and scrutiny they will face.

Pact says: A very accessible book, but the focus is limited to parents of two different races raising a child of mixed racial heritage.

Dona Flor
by Pact Mora, Illustrated by Raoul Colon

Un cuento de una mujer gigante con un gran corazon / A tall tale about a giant woman with a great big heart. A combination of color washes, etchings and pencils along with the expansive story and imagination of Mora, give Dona Flor a brilliant intensity that is representative of Latino lore. Spanish words and glossary. n a charming tale set in the American Southwest, Dona Flor is larger than life. At first the children are intimidated, but they grow used to Flor, who is always willing to help them out and learn that people’s hearts are more important than their looks.

Pact says:A beautiful book; a story with heart and imagination.

doubledip.gif Double Dip Feelings
by Barbara Cain

What we love about this book is that it identifies contradictory emotions and delivers the message that it is natural to have them. That makes this book really useful with children who are happy to be adopted but also sometimes feel sad. Unfortunately it has somewhat uninteresting iillustrations and somewhat boring text.

Pact says: This book doesn't give a lot of hints for resolving problems, but in the hands of a good therapist and/or creative parent it offers reassurance about having conflicted feelings.

dreamer.jpg Dreamer, The
by Pam Munoz Ryan, Illustrated by Peter Sís

The Dreamer is a fictionalized biography of the life of Chilean poet, activist and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda. It is a beautifully written book that contains elements of magical realism and poetry. The story is of Neruda’s childhood with a harsh, critical father who belittles his son’s imagination and sensitive nature. He struggles both to understand his father’s criticism and meet his demands and to find a way to be himself. Neruda’s life is changed by a kind uncle who appreciates Neruda’s gifts and provides an example of someone who stands up for his beliefs in the face of threats and adversity.

Pact says: There are many wonderful themes in the book and Ryan’s lyrical prose is a pleasure to read.

Dream Keeper, The
by Langston Hughes

Celebrates hopes, dreams, aspirations, life and love, a splendid combination of timeless words and illustrations, Langston Hughes' poems range from the romantic to the poignant, from the spiritual to the challenging.

Pact says: Langston Hughes represents the essence of the African American experience and this book of his amazing poems will give pride and inspiration to many. Also great to have on hand for school assignments!

english_american.jpg English American, The
by Allison Larkin

Never overly negative or treating adoption as if it is a disease, Alison shares great insights into some of the ways that adoption impacts our experience in the world and the way we look at things. This novel is perfect for anybody wanting to explore the journey of an adoptee and the honest feelings that it includes. With an authentic adopted heroine at its center, Larkin's compulsively readable first novel unearths universal truths about love, identity, and family with wit, warmth, and heart.

Pact says: A laugh-out-loud, cry-because-you-care kind of read. Really worthwhile.

Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is
by Abigail Garner

The author, who was herself raised by her gay dad and his partner interviewed over fifty adults in their 20's and 30's who had gay or lesbian parents. She offers an insiders' perspective on what it is like to grow up in an LGBT family, covering topics like coming out, how kids talk about (or hide) their LGBT parents, kids' experiences at school, how the children develop their own sexual identity, HIV/AIDS, and family breakup.

Pact says: This book is a must read for LGBT parents. he refreshingly acknowledges the challenges as well as the joys faced by kids and gives their parents and others who work with them some invaluable information.

Family of Adoption webstore.jpg Family of Adoption, The
by Joyce Maguire Pavao

An international therapy expert and adopted person, Joyce offers a clear voice in the world of adoption, describing the deeper truths that often go unspoken. Joyce really honors the perspectives and voices of each member of the triad, making her book one of the important texts on the core issues of adoption.

Pact says: Reading this is like listening to a wise friend; she links her personal experience with vast knowledge, creating that elusive “ah ha” experience.

Feel Good Book, The
by Todd Parr

A celebration of difference, this is a story of family love that includes adoption in a wonderful way. Everybody wants to feel good, from sweet (“Being together feels good”) to whimsical (“Catching snowflakes on your tongue feels good”) to downright silly (“Making sounds like a monkey feels good”), this is a bright catalog of good feelings.

Pact says: The central idea of acceptance, understanding and confidence is the unstated message of every page. Good job!

Finding Fernanda.jpg Finding Fernanda
by Erin Siegal

If you think of international adoption as an altruistic way of “helping” children from other countries, you will find Finding Fernanda by investigative journalist Erin Siegal an eye-opening book. How can we be sure if children are really “orphans” or stolen children?

Pact says: The vast majority of adopting parents don’t want to steal anyone’s child, but their desperate desire to become parents can lead them to place unreasonable levels of trust in anyone who might help them in that quest—turning them into obvious targets for “helpers” who are corrupt and unscrupulous. .

Finding Miracles
by Julia Alvarez

In spite of her family's openness, Milly Kaufman has never wanted to talk about her adoption. However, during ninth grade, Pablo Bolívar, a refugee from an unnamed Central American country, joins her class and immediately identifies her as someone who might have come from his family's hometown. The strength of this book lies in its description of adoption issues-Milly's feelings of abandonment and difference and her sister's fear that Milly's increased identification as Latina will destroy their close relationship.

Pact says: This book explores adoption and race in a way that will satisfy many teenagers who are thinking about these issues themselves and of course Alvarez is a really good writer.

First Part Last
by Angela Johnson

A Coretta Scott King award winner, this novel tells the story of a young father struggling to raise an infant. His parents are supportive but refuse to take over the child-care duties, so he struggles to balance parenting, school, and friends who don’t comprehend his new role. As one teen reviewer says; “You can’t go out and have fun all the time; you would have to stay in the house and take care of your child.”

Pact says: An opportunity for teens to concretely think about what it means to be a parent that includes real honesty about the struggles not just the glamour and appeal.

FirstR062.jpg First R, The; How Children Learn Race and Racism
By Debra Van Ausdale & Joe R. Feagin

A study of 3-and 4-year-olds in progressive multicultural day care centers showing that young children have a sophisticated knowledge of how race/ethnicity is used in our society to rank people—AND that they know this racial hierarchy makes many adults anxious, so they try to cover their knowledge.

Pact says: An extremely useful book that underlines the importance of explicitly teaching about race and tolerance. Although the book is academic in tone, the content makes this a worthwhile read.

FlightofStork.gif Flight of the Stork
by Anne Bernstein

Bernstein examines how children think differently from adults concerning sex and birth. Page after page of enlightening interviews take us deep into the minds of children three to 12 years old. The interviews demonstrate how a child's thinking changes with age. This understanding of child development will help adults communicate better with children about the origin of families as well as the origin of babies.

Pact says: Our favorite book about how children understand sex and family creation (including adoption).

Forever Fingerprints
By Sherrie Eldridge, Illustrated by Rob Williams

Forever Fingerprints uses a relative’s pregnancy as a springboard for discussions on birthparents and adoption. Lucie is excited to feel a baby moving in her Aunt Grace’s tummy, but it makes her question her adoption story in a different way. Discussion of each person's unique fingerprints gives Lucie’s parents the chance to honor Lucie’s connections to her birth heritage.

Pact says: This is a worthwhile vehicle to encourage the normal discussion of children’s experience of being adopted.

GirlWhoFell.jpg Girl Who Fell from the Sky, The
by Heidi Durrow

In her first novel, Durrow draws her own experience of growing up biracial through Rachel who, like Durrow, is the daughter of an African American man and a Danish woman. Rachel struggles with racial identity when her family moves from Europe back to the United States, as she responds to peoples expectations of her and how they expect her to act out her blackness.

Pact says: This is a great read that explores the intersection of race and class as well as the challenges and assumptions from both the white and black communities about how education, speech and her looks place her within the racialized continuum of her identity as a member of the African Diaspora.


Poignant short pieces are arranged in sections that represent the adoption process: the period before adoption takes place, the transition period when the child moves from one family to another, how adoption affects childhood, identity issues for those who grow up adopted, and search and reunion with birth relatives.

Pact says: A moving collection that dismantles adoption myths by showing adoption in all its complexity.

going natural webstore.jpg Going Natural
by Mireille Liong-A-Kong

Filled with suggestions and pictures of natural hairstyles, this is a great book that explores the how-to’s of natural hair care combined with ideas and support for feeling beautiful as an African American woman. Mireille grew up in South America and is all about helping Black women celebrate their beauty and hair.

Pact says: Great support and information for African American hair care and styles for girls and women (although the information can be applied to boys as well!)

Half and Half webstore.jpg Half and Half
by Claudine C. O'Hearn

Personal essays from seventeen writers, including Julia Alvarez, Indira Ganesan, James McBride, David Mura and Lori Tsang, this anthology reveals the constancy of the human concern to find the place that feels right, and the challenge of addressing and incorporating dual ethnic identity.

Pact says: This outstanding work offers food for thought for all readers, but in particular for those interested in transracial families or multiethnic identity.

Hair Dance!
by Dinah Johnson, Photographs by Kelly Johnson

Hair comes in all colors, textures, and styles. Whether it is worn long or short, in braids or cornrows, or left natural in an Afro, hair plays a big part in who we are and how we feel about ourselves. In this inspiring book, Kelly Johnson's stunning photographs of girls wearing a range of hairstyles and the lyrical words of Dinah Johnsonâ019s poem celebrate African American hair in all its radiant variety.

Pact says: Celebrating African American beauty and diversity is always important.

Hank Zipzer Collection
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Includes 4 titles: Niagara Falls, or does It?; I Got A "D" in Salmi; Day of the Iguana; The Zippity Zinger. These are laugh outloud books, as Hank and his friends (who just happen to be Chinese and African American, from middle class professional families) romp together through various antics and funny situations mostly created by Hank's struggles in school. Hank has learning differences which are really coming to the fore now that he is in fourth grade. Any child facing these issues will feel better about themselves and their struggles because of Hank and his fantastic ideas and adventures.

Pact says: This is a great series and a wonderful read, especially for kids facing learning challenges.

Hank-Zipzer-A-Brand-New-Me.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: A Brand-New Me!
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

It’s graduation time for Hank and all his friends— time to move on to middle school. The only problem is that there are tests that Hank has to pass in order to get into the same middle school as his friends.

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-A-Tale-of-Two-Tails.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: A Tale of Two Tails
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

When Hank decides to train his dog Cheerio to become the schools’ mascot, he thought it was a great idea. The only problem is Cheerio would rather slide in the mud in the park than practice his walk and jumps.

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-Barfing-in-the-Back-Seat.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: Barfing In The Back Seat
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Hank's Dad decides to enter a crossword-puzzle tournament, and wants to make a family road trip of it. The only caveat is that Hank has a homework packet to finish before they get there...which he somehow manages to lose at one of the stops along the way.

This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-Day-of-the-Iguana.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: Day of the Iguana
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

It's science project time in Ms. Adolf's class. This is good news and bad news for Hank-he loves science, but he hates the report part. So Hank turns to TV to take his mind off things. That is when he discovers his sister's iguana laid eggs in the cable box!

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-Dump-Trucks-Dogsleds.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: Dump Trucks and Dogsleds: I’m on my way, Mom!
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Hank's mom is having a baby and Hank is not thrilled about having to share his room. To cheer him up, his Dad takes him on a ‘pre-baby” ski trip but when his Mom calls to say the baby is coming early, Hank and his Dad have to find a way home from the trip, even though a freak snowstorm has hit.

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-Help-Somebody-Get-Me-out-4th-Grade.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: Help! Somebody Get Me Out of Fourth Grade!
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Hank's Parent-teacher conferences are coming up, and his teacher might tell his parents some awful things; like that He will have to repeat the fourth grade! What is Hank going to do?

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-Holy-Enchilada.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: Holy Enchilda!
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Hank's class is putting on a Multi-Cultural Day lunch; He is so excited – no reading, no writing-just cooking! Hank decides to make enchiladas but after his teacher takes a bite, her face looked like it was on fire!

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-I-Got-a-D-in-Salami.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: I Got a "D" in Salami
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

The most dreaded day of Hank Zipzer’s school year is report card day. When He finally gets it, it shows a D in spelling, a D in reading, and a D in math. Hank needs help, and he needs it fast!

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-My-Dog-is-a-Scaredy-Cat.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: My Dog’s a Scaredy-Cat: A Halloween Tail
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Hank decides to create the scariest haunted house ever and invite the school bully over to show him what scary really is. The only problem is Hank's dog Cheerio, is so scared of the haunted house that when Hank tries to find him, he's nowhere in sight!

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-My-Secret-Life-as-a-Ping-Pong-Wizard.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: My Secret Life as a Ping-Pong Wizard
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

When Papa suggests that Hank takes up Ping-Pong, he decides to give it a try but keeps it top secret because he thinks the other kids will tease him about it not being a "real" sport. But as it turns out, Hank is so good that he manages to get all the way to the Ping-Pong championship!

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-Niagra Falls-or-Does-it.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: Niagara Falls, or Does It?
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Hank Zipzer, he’s smart, he’s creative, and he’s funny. He wants to do well in school – he really does. Hank tries not to be lazy, like his parents claim. So why is he always getting into trouble?

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-What-Genius-Thought-That-Up.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: Summer School! What Genius Thought That Up?
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Summer’s finally here and Hank's best friends are going to this really cool summer camp. And what is Hank doing? He is going to summer school!

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-The-Curtain-Went-Up.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Fell Down
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Hank's school is putting on the play "Anna and the King of Siam" and Hank is trying out for the part of the King. There’s only one small problem; his Dad tells him that in order to be in the play, Hank has to get a B-plus on his math test!

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Ziper-The-Life-of-Me.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: The Life of Me (Enter at your own risk)
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Life was looking pretty good for Hank when Mr. Rock became his substitute teacher. But when he tells Hank he should go to his special after-school reading program, Hank is not so happy. That is until a really good thing happens: He meets this really cool (and cute) girl in the program.

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Hank-Zipzer-The-Night-I-Flunked-My-Field-Trip.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: The Night I Flunked My Field Trip
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

For a field trip, Hank's class is spending the night on a replica of a tall-masted sailing ship. It all sounded great until it turns out to be the worst field trip of the year!

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

hank-zipzer-zippity-zinger.jpg Hank Zipzer Series: The Zippity Zinger
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

When Hank Zipzer is chosen as his team’s softball pitcher, the pressure is on. Can Hank lead his team to victory-even though he thinks he is the worst athlete in the history of the world?

Pact Says: This series is filled with laugh-out-lout reads that highlights the challenges of kids facing learning disabilities and ADHD, reminding us with humor and clever storytelling that for all the struggles there can be positives to having a “different kind of brain” as well. Really useful for kids who struggle with learning challenges and the diverse friend group portrayed in the books is a great bonus!

Healing Parents: Helping Wounded Children Learn to Trust & Love
by Michael Orlans, Terry M. Levy

This book will be helpful to any parent who is struggling with parenting a "difficult" child. The author's philosophy is that a secure attachment provides the groundwork for a child's healthy sense of self, healthy relationships with others, and positive behavior.

Pact says: This book offers parents support in understanding and addressing issues, rather than didactic parenting prescriptions. The information will be a welcome relief to any parent who is facing a child's seemingly intractable behavior problems.


Sue is rare in her ability to create narratives that are both raw and honest while also being instructive in the deepest sense. If you pay attention, you will gain insight into the truest aspects of the intersection of race, adoption and humanity in the context of transracial adoption. Take the opportunity to be moved and educated about how to be a better parent and better child welfare advocate.

Pact Says: These intimate narratives address the deepest experiences of race, culture, identity and self esteem in a very personal way that is both brilliant and joyful. Every person, parent and professional working in or touched by adoption should read this.
Heart-and-Soul.jpg Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans
by Kadir Nelson

This book is unique in it’s telling of American History from the perspective of African Americans. It is more of an overview than an in depth work of history, but contains details that one often doesn’t learn in school. The story is told in the voice of an old man passing along the story of African Americans to the younger generation, giving it a conversational feel that reads much more like a story than a textbook. The book is greatly enriched by Nelson’s incredible artwork.

Pact says: A wonderful introduction to African American history for younger children that is engaging and very readable..

Heart of Parenting, The: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child
by John Gottman

This book is a guide to teaching children to understand and regulate their emotions, a skill the author calls “emotional intelligence.” On the basis of two ten-year studies of more than 120 families, the author argues that children who learn to acknowledge and master their emotions are more self-confident, physically healthier, do better in school and are more likely grow into emotionally healthy adults.

Pact says: In adoptive families, being able to express and deal with difficult emotions is extremely important, for both parents and kids. The book’s guide for how to empathize with your kids and how to talk with them about hard feelings like fear, sadness and anger is a tremendously helpful tool. Be aware that the book’s chapter titled “The Father’s Crucial Role” is dated and weak.

Heart of Whiteness, The: Confronting Race, Racism, and White Privilege
by Robert Jensen

A personal discourse on being white and the necessity of owning white privilege in order to stop it and make change in the racial landscape in which we live. Gives good insight into ways in which white privilege pervades and the reasons it matters.

Pact says: It is time for white people to acknowledge that they are at the heart of the race problems in America—this book is a call to action.

Heaven webstore.jpg Heaven
by Angela Johnson

"Last night Momma and Pops kept saying they should have told me what they had to tell me sooner. It's what people who haven't told the truth always say...." At fourteen, Marley is shocked to find out she was adopted. The truth seems to change everything. How could her parents have lied? Is her brother really her brother? Does she belong? As she processes the disclosure, Marley finds peace, realizing that her relationships with her family remain the same. She comes to understand both that they belong to each other as they always have and that it is important to know about her birth family and her birth heritage.

Pact says: A compelling book that expresses some of the fears and uncertainty adopted kids can feel at this age with a positive resolution for all.

Henrysfreedom.jpg Henry's Freedom Box
by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

The story recounts the true story of Henry Brown, a slave who was separated from his family and eventually meets and has three children with another slave. In a heart wrenching scene depicted in a dramatically shaded pencil, watercolor and oil illustration, Henry watches as his family—suddenly sold in the slave market—disappears down the road. Henry then enlists the help of an abolitionist doctor and mails himself in a wooden crate “to a place where there are no slaves!”

Pact says: the story depicts the evolution of a self-possessed child into a determined and fearless young man. A good way to help parents talk with their children about slavery and other losses (like adoption) that have to be overcome.

Hip-hop-Speaks-to-Children.jpg Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat
by Nikki Giovanni

This collection of poetry and song lyrics is a joy to read. Inside the beautifully illustrated book are works by everyone from W.E.B. Dubois to Tupac Shakur, Maya Angelou to Mos Def. The CD has many works performed by the artists including poems read by Langston Hughes and part of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Pact says: An accessible collection of poetry for children mostly by African American artists. Some poems touch deeply on the subject of race while others are just fun to read..

Hola, Jalapeno
by Amy Wilson Sanger

A board book. Delectable Mexican food along with wonderful pictures and bilingual text make this a fun and lively book to read with your littlest gastronomes.

Pact says: A nice book with a Latino flavor!

How It Feels To Be Adopted
by Jill Krementz

Nineteen kids from diverse backgrounds confide their feelings about being adopted. This book gives readers a diversity of experience and feelings that is both realistic and emotionally honest. Required reading for all touched by adoption.

Pact says: This classic is still the best book we’ve found explaining a variety of children’s perspectives of how it feels to be adopted. The inclusion of photographs brings a greater sense of immediacy and realism to the text and helps children to identify with others who share their experiences.

howtoopen.jpg How To Open An Adoption
by Patricia Martinez Dorner

A guide toward opening adoptions for adoptive parents, birth parents of minors and professionals. This book covers the benefits of opening adoptions; the issues raised if the request is initiated by adoptive parents or birth parents; professional help; preparation for contact; the first visit; the role of commitment of all the adults; when there is inequality among adoptive siblings; reopening open adoptions and more.

Pact says: Adopted children shouldn’t have to wait until they are eighteen to have their questions answered. Contact allows children to receive answers directly.

how-to-talk.jpg How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

An excellent communication tool kit based on a series of workshops developed by the authors. Faber and Mazlish provide a step-by-step approach to improving relationships with your child. The “Reminder” pages, helpful cartoon illustrations, and excellent exercises will improve your ability as a parent to talk and problem-solve with your children. The book can be used alone or in parenting groups, and the solid tools provided are appropriate for kids of all ages.

Pact says: This book has great practical suggestions and models conversations and scenarios for practice.

IAmLatino.jpg I Am Latino
by Myles Pinkney and Sandra Pinkney

A celebration of Latino children in all of their various shades, cultures, and customs. Poetic, affirmative text accompanies the striking photographs of children and uses the five senses to lead the reader on an exploration of Latino foods, music, and language.

Pact says: A great way to acknowledge the full richness of all Latino peoples and their various racial and ethnic heritages.

identical-strangers.jpg Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited
Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein

What Begins as an Adult Adoptee’s search for a birthmother, transforms to a search for an Identical Twin and the mysterious circumstances surrounding their separation as infants. After discovering they were part of a “Nature vs. Nurture” social experiment that resulted in the authors separation and placements into different Adoptive families.

Pact says: A fascinating story told in 1st person about the twins' life experiences having been adopted into separate families and then reuniting more than 30 years later. Themes include the problems of sealed adoption records, the potential for unethical practices by adoption agencies, and adoptees' unique perspective of the world.

Identity-trap.jpg Identity Trap: Saving Our Teens from Themselves
By Joseph Nowinski

Violent behavior, eating disorders., drug use and drinking; these are just some of the scary behaviors that are explored in this book. What is particularly relevant to adopted teens is the author’s premise that the solution to problematic behavior in children lies in their quest for identity. Dr. Nowinski offers solutions for parents seeking to help their children get to the root of their search and stop harmful behavior

Pact says: This book is highly relevant to adoptive families of teens and pre-teens because it focuses on one of the core issues of adoption: identity.

I-Like-Myself.jpg I Like Myself
by Karen Beaumont

Exactly what the title suggests, this is a book about an exuberant little girl who loves herself inside and out. The book uses simple, rhyming text to accompany Catrow’s colorful illustrations. “I like me wild. I like me tame. I like me different and the same.”

Pact says: It is a fun book with a good message that has proven to be appealing to younger children that features an African American girl who loves herself “no matter how she is feeling or what others might say.”.

I Love My Hair
by Natasha Tarpley

Kenyana doesn’t feel very lucky about her hair because no matter how gently her Mama combs, it still hurts. Mama shows her the many wonderful ways she can style it and encourages her to feel good about her special hair, but also to feel proud of her heritage.

Pact says: Reminds African American girls not to succumb to white ideas of beauty for themselves.
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I Love You Like Crazy Cakes
by Kennise Herring, Illustrated by Jane Dyer

This story follows a woman on her journey to adopt a babygirl from China. From paperwork to plane flight, the narrative chronicles the baby's trip from a crib in a bigr oom shared with many other babies to her own crib in her own room in her new room.

Pact says: This book acknowledges the baby’s first mother and time in an orphanage in an important and respectful way.

InGodsName.jpg In God's Name
by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Illustrated by Phoebe Stone

Everyone and everything in the world has a name. What is God’s name? In this appealing book relaying God’s many names, the energetic illustrations enhance the feeling of celebration. The visual elements of this book elicit a sense of wonder in the reader, all the more moving because people from many cultures share the belief in a higher power.

Pact says: This book can be particularly comforting to adopted children trying to make sense of their personal journey in a spiritual context. Non-deonominational, written by a Jewish Rabbi with an eye to interfaith sensitivity.

In On It webstore.gif In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You to Know About Adoption
by Elisabeth O'Toole

A book written forextended family and friends of adoptive families, In On It provides as solid introduction to the world of adoption. There are some great explanations about why new families might need space at first and the very particular kinds of support that parents adopting older children might need. And the way O’Toole addresses the need to respect a child’s privacy and a child’s birth family/country of origin were probably the best part of the book.

Pact Says: O'Toole gets a major ding for her discussion of adoption records, where she states that adoption records were sealed and legally inaccessible IN THE PAST, unfortunately this is still true in most states in 2013! To the authors credit, she has changed this for the 2nd printing.
In Their Own Voices
by Rita Simon & Rhonda Roorda

In this collection of interviews conducted with Black and biracial young adults who were adopted by white parents, the authors present the personal stories of two dozen individuals who hail from a wide range of religious, economic, political, and professional backgrounds. How does the experience affect their racial and social identities, their choice of friends and marital partners, and their lifestyles? In addition to interviews, the book includes overviews of both the history and current legal status of transracial adoption.

Pact says: This book should be in the library of every transracial adoptive family. Rhonda’s personal experience as an African American woman raised by white parents makes this volume compassionate and real.

In Their Parents' Voices
by Rita Simon and Rhonda Roorda

This is a collection of interviews conducted with the parents of Black and biracial adult adoptees who were interviewed for In Their Own Voices. In addition to personal interviews, the book also includes overviews of both the history and current legal status of transracial adoption in America.

Pact says: This book offers insights from experienced parents who discuss their experience and their children’s from the long view of having completed the task of raising their children. Another important contribution to the literature on transracial adoption.

SiblingsVoices.jpg In Their Siblings Voices
by Rita J. Simon & Rhonda M. Roorda

A companion collection of interviews conducted with the white siblings of black and biracial adult adoptees who were interviewed for In Their Own Voices. The narratives collected here detail the many sides of the transracial adoption experiment. The book offers more balanced insights from individuals whose parents made the decision for them but now offer their insights and reactions to the expeirence from their unique point of view.

Pact Says: This volume is the capstone in a landmark trilogy. There is no other work like it. It is historic, important, and provocative, with many findings that will be the primary source for scholars, as well as anyone interested in this complex subject.


Completely revised in 2013, this rewritten classic "moves beyond the debate to offer real solutions to real challenges. Reinforces the message that race matters, racism is alive, and families built transracially can develop binding ties." “Eloquent, interesting, and intensely practical, you can’t read this book without thinking differently about your own life as a child, a parent, and a member of our diverse society.” “Brimming with facts, examples, challenge and inspiration, and plenty of hard-nosed practical advice.” “Every adoption professional and transracial parent should read this book.”

Pact says: Humbly, since Pact’s co-founders wrote it, we think it’s pretty good!


Interracial Families, Interwoven Cultures
$18.00
A six-hour audiotape looking at the challenges of transracial adoption. Recorded at a day-long training program led by Beth Hall and Gail Steinberg, it concentrates on the child's experience in the world.
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Is-That-Me-Yelling.jpg Is That Me Yelling? A Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Kids to Cooperate Without Losing Your Cool
Rona Renner, RN

Unlike other parenting books on the topic written by psychologists and doctors, this one is written by a registered nurse who includes her personal experience alongside her professional experience, making it more useful to the busy lay person who may not have the patience or inclination to wade through clinical jargon. Part one focuses on understanding why parents yell and we think is the most interesting to me, while part two offers strategies to reduce yelling.

Pact says: Renner writes, “Calming your own state of mind is at the core of communicating with your children with love and respect.” All in all, this is a very good and helpful book that offers a nice view of mindfulness as it relates to discipline and family life.

It's All Good Hair webstore.jpg It's All Good Hair: The Guide to Styling and Grooming Black Children's Hair
by Michele Collinson

Learn how to do coils, knots, twists, and more. Featuring hair-care and styling tips from a variety of experts, and learn the secrets to braiding, relaxing, and locking,. Detailed instruction on how to care for a variety of hair textures from bone straight to wavy, to tightly coiled and everything in between. This book covers parting to combing to cornrows, twists and braiding. It also covers some basic style for boys.

Pact says: Nice reminders for readers about the importance of telling their children that they are beautiful and smart as they spend time together combing and styling.

It's Okay To Be Different
by Todd Parr

The colorful illustrations are integral to the text, often the "funny" is in the image. “It’s okay to have wheels” shows a kid in a wheel chair. “It’s okay to be a different color" shows a horse with a rainbow coat. “It’s okay to be adopted" shows a small yellow creature with a big blue eye and a big smile peeking out of a smiling big brown creature’s pouch.

Pact says: The central idea of acceptance, understanding and confidence is the unstated message of every page, but the book is not sappy or sugar coated. Good job! Funny and upbeat, this bright book delivers through a series of one-liners kids will relate to.

It's Perfectly Normal
by Robbie Harris & Michael Emberley

Changing bodies, growing up, sex, and sexual health

Pact says: This is an informative, well crafted guide that addresses kids’ concerns about their changing bodies and how they function. Best of all, it includes multicultural models and promotes an acceptance of difference beyond the norm, including wheelchair-bound people, aged people, Gay and Lesbian people, skinny people, fat people, people of all races — in short, a great diversity, and all treated with respect. Both physiological and psychological aspects of the issues are covered. Though topics of sexuality and sexual development are difficult for some, this book provides a positive foundation for discussion. This honest, trustworthy and highly entertaining book about sexuality and growing up is notable for its nonjudgmental section on homosexuality and for including same-sex couples throughout its illustrations. Truly excellent, on all counts.

Itssoamazing.jpg It's So Amazing!
by Robie Harris and Rebecca Emberley

Answers the many questions most children have about babies, bodies, love, sex, reproduction, and family. An inquisitive, loquacious bird and an embarrassed bee act as comic and straight man and serve as diverting foils to Harris's conversational narrative. Multicultural.

Pact says: This upbeat and caring book is the perfect beginning for talking with children because it answers the many questions most children have about babies, bodies, love, sex, reproduction, and family.

I Wish For You A Beautiful Life
by Sara Dorow

This collection of letters from birth mothers from the Ae Ran Won agency in Korea gives voices not often heard a chance to articulate their innermost emotions at the time of placement of their children for adoption. Their messages of hope that the children will have a positive life, sadness over personal losses, love for the children, and a level of guilt shed new light on what it is like to be a birth mother in Korea.

Pact says: This book is not intended for children.

Jacket, The
by Andrew Clements, Illustrated by McDavid Henderson

Story of a young white boy who begins to realize that he has assumptions and no intimate dealings with African Americans. At one point he says to his mom, “I realize I am prejudiced, why didn’t you tell me that I was?” As the story progresses he begins to realize that his mother and father and friends are, too, as they live in an all white neighborhood and don’t interact with Black people except superficially. He makes a visit to the young boy who was given his brother’s old jacket and comes to the realization that Black people aren’t really any different than he is, it was his stereotypes that were different.

Pact says: An exploratory novel told from the point of view of the white boy, this is a direct and simple story about race-based assumptions.

JalapenoBagels_0001.jpg Jalapeño Bagels
By Natasha Wing, Illustrated by Robert Casilla

Pablo wants to bring something that reflects all of his cultures to school for International Day. since his family has a bakery he and his family try out several "creative" recipies before he invents the Jalapeño bagels that he will take to school. Recipes are included at the back of the book.

Pact says: We always appreciate books that remind us that people can come in all kinds of packages and validate the history of Jews of color.

Kids Like Me In China
by Ying-Ying Fry

“Hi! My name is Ying Ying,” this book begins. “I am eight years old and I live in San Francisco. Like lots of kids in my city, I’m Chinese American. But I wasn’t born that way. When I was really small, I was just Chinese. Then my American parents came and adopted me, and that’s how I got the American part.” Ying Ying was adopted from an orphanage in Changsha, Hunan province, when she was a tiny baby. She speaks both Mandarin and English and is in third grade at the Chinese American International School in San Francisco where all of her studies are in both languages.

Pact says: Her parents have lived and worked in China and are also able to manage in Mandarin without an interpreter. The families’ language ability allowed them to interact on their own during this first visit to the “Social Welfare Institution” where Ying Ying spent her first weeks of life. Ying Ying was able to get to know the children and caregivers and really observe what orphanage life was like.

Kids, Parents & Power Struggles
by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Drawing on her clinical experience with families, Kurcinka builds up an image of the parent as an “emotion coach,” whose role is to build a strong, connected “team” by understanding the players’ strengths and weaknesses and showing by instruction and example how best to play the game.

Pact says: Kurcinka’s book gives a practical and often humorous account of how to achieve family harmony. Kurcinka doesn’t promise miracle cures, but offers creative techniques for using power struggles as pathways to family connection.

kids talk hair webstore.jpg Kids Talk Hair
by Pamela Ferell

As Ferrell writes in the introduction, "Hair care the hard way has left some tearful and unpleasant hair experiences. ... I imagine that all this trial and error stuff could be avoided if there were simple, user-friendly hair care instructions for grown-ups ... that explain: how kids' hair grows; how to shampoo or get gum out of hair; how to deal with head lice, ringworm and comb-out disasters and, mostly, how to make pretty hair styles."

Pact says: A practical and colorful book, essential for parents of African American daughters.

Kimchi-and-Calamari.jpg Kimchi & Calamari
by Rose Kent

This one is a definite keeper. Joseph is a 14-year-old boy with a great sense of humor, a love of candy and comic books, and some anxiety about asking a girl to the school dance. Joseph was adopted from Korea as an infant by his very Italian parents. They are supportive, loving parents but bad at talking with him about his adoption. Joseph is left in a quandary when he’s assigned an essay at school about his heritage and his parents just assume that writing about their Italian ancestors will suffice. He does some investigating on his own with the help of his best friend and a new boy who recently moved to the area from Korea. And in the end, Joseph’s parents do come through for him.

Pact says: A beautifully written and engaging story about learning trust and becoming part of a family that has great appeal..

Learning the Dance of Attachment
by Holly van Gulden & Charlotte Vick

A small book that packs a huge punch. Filled with practical advice and specific suggestions for how to enhance attachment in children of all ages, this books is popular for all families that have worked with Holly or know her work. As a parent herself, Holly understands that attachment is a lifelong process of learning to trust and believe in the relationship of adoption.

Pact says: The book gives parents and children real encouragement as they solidify their mutual attachment, which leads to children behaving better and parents feeling confident. Really helpful, especially for families with challenging children.

Let's Talk About It: Adoption
by Fred Rogers

Discusses what it means to be part of a family and tackles some feelings adopted children may have. The main message is that belonging in a family comes from being loved. Fred Rogers opens the door for adoptive families to safely talk about their good and not-so-good feelings in a book that reinforces family unity.

Pact says: This is a classic and every generation seems to love it.

Let's Talk About Race
by Julius Lester, Illustrated by Karen Barbour

Lester does a great job of talking about race and racism in terms that young children can absorb. “Why would some people say their race is better than another? Because they feel bad about themselves. Because they are afraid..." Using simple words interspersed with bold pictures of people with different skin colors, Lester gives children language with which to understand how race matters and how it doesn’t; “Beneath everyone’s skin are the same hard bones,” in the end, offering the opportunity to understand race as one, but not the only or the defining, characteristic of one’s self.

Pact says: Gives parents a way to talk about a topic that they are sometimes fearful to tackle. Every family should have this book.

LiberationofGabriel.jpg Liberation of Gabriel King, The
by K. L. Going

Frita Wilson and Gabriel King, Frita also happens to be the only Black child in their 4th grade class and Gabriel happens to be afraid of almost everything that takes courage. In the summer between their 4th and 5th grade year, Frita and Gabriel embark on a plan to overcome their fears that turns out to include some powerful lessons about oppression and standing up to racism.

Pact says: Frita and her family are a wonderful model of a strong African American family, Gabriel and his family learn what it means to be white allies against racism in a backdrop of the 1976 South including members of the Ku Klux Klan. A great book to introduce the need to speak out and band together against racism.

Lifebooks; Creating A Treasure For Your Child
by Beth O'Malley

This book offers clear advice about how to create a lifebook with your child stressing its importance in strengthening self esteem and identity. Filled with examples and suggestions for difficult subject matter.

Pact says: Because there has been a disconnection in the life of every adopted child, even if adopted at birth, it is very helpful to have recorded information about children’s personal history. And remember, it is never too late to create a lifebook with your child and this book has great suggestions for conversations and activities that will promote further discussion and insight for children.

listen-image.jpg Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges
By Patty Wipfler & Tosha Schore

$17.95
Behavior is the language of children, and Wipfler and Schore echo this in their terrific parenting book. This book is a fantastic tool that helps illuminate how parents can act skillfully in the face of this truth and remind us that our children are completely precious and good and—get ready for this one—so are mothers and fathers. Listen includes a short review in an early chapter of what we know about how the brain works and heals from hurts. This neurological outline draws from and overlaps nicely with what has been popularized by authors and speakers that may be familiar to a Pact audience. This chapter is followed by a longer section that names, explains and illustrates the five tools promised in the book title.

Pact says: Overall, this book is an incredible resource for any parent, and can be cherry-picked as needed by Pact families. Definitely recommended.
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Little Bit of Soul Food, A
by Amy Wilson Sanger

A celebration of soul food that is filled with bright colors and cheerful collages that is sure to be a hit with the very young.

Pact says: Enjoy this celebration of African American food traditions.

LittlePrinces.jpg Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal
by Conor Grennan

29-year old Conor Grennan begins a year long trip around the world with 3 months of volunteer work in a Nepalese orphanage to justify the extravagance. As his friends mentioned and he himself realizes as he stands on the doorstep, he has absolutely no skills for the job. Humility, insights into culture and the difference one person can make abound.

Pact says: The adoption triad has a lot to learn from this book, particularly those involved in international adoption.

LostandFoundwebstore.jpg Lost and Found
by Betty Lifton

Plot Summary: The late B.J. Lifton drew upon her own experience as an adopted person and on her extensive work with triad members to explore secrecy’s harmful effects on children’s identity. Lifton was a pioneer in adoption and this book is a classic.

Pact Says: This ground-breaking book has been described by many adult adoptees as the perfect description of some of their own unspoken feelings about being adopted and the sense of self they desire to integrate from not only their adoptive family but also their birth family.

love-me-feed-me.jpg Love Me, Feed Me: The Adoptive Parent's Guide to Ending the Worry about Weight, Picky Eating, Power Struggles and More
by Katja Rowell, MD

Feed Me, Love Me is accessibly written, well-organized, and encyclopedic in the breadth of the feeding issues it tackles and the strategies it suggests. Rowell covers a wide range of topics including an overview of factors that can cause feeding challenges, a review of various therapeutic interventions families may encounter, and strategies for moving towards the Trust Model of Feeding.

Pact says: Rowell's book is based upon her experiences helping hundreds of adoptive and fostering families. Their stories, often told in their own words, are useful and inspiring.
Lucy's Family Tree
by Karen Halvorsen Schreck, Illustrations by Stephen Glassler

Lucy, adopted from Mexico by white parents, feels “different,” hurt and weird when assigned to make a family tree. Her parents challenge her to find three families she thinks are “the same.” In so doing, her aha conclusion is that since most families are different in some way, any family that turned out to be the same would be the one who was different.

Pact says: This book does an authentic job of capturing the responses adopted kids have to the family tree assignment.

LuckyGirl.jpg Lucky Girl
by Mei-Long Hopgood

Mei-Ling Hopgood has written a wonderful memoir, Lucky Girl, about her reunion with her birth family in Taiwan. With her clear prose and journalist’s eye for detail, she creates a compelling story of how the relationship begins and how it develops over the years through visits and letters.

Pact says: One of the strongest aspects of Lucky Girl is the way Hopgood captures the complexity of reunion. As their relationships develop beyond first impressions, she learns some of the secrets and painful events that have shaped her birth family and the lives of her siblings. This inevitable evolution takes her readers on a rollercoaster ride of joy and sorrow, disillusionment and acceptance.

Making Room in Our Hearts: Keeping Family Ties Through Open Adoption
by Micky Duxbury

Micky, a therapist as well as an adoptive parent (and Pact member!), interviewed hundreds of triad members about their life stories and experiences with open adoption. Based on interviews with over one hundred adopted children, birth and adoptive parents, extended family, professionals and experts, this book is an effective and invaluable resource.

Pact says: There is no other book that offers a compilation of first hand stories of families living with open adoption. It is especially useful for those considering open adoption as it demystifies and offers a realistic model for what is best for kids. Kudos!

making-sense-of-adoption.jpg Making Sense of Adoption
by Lois Melina

A parent’s guide – conversations and activities for families formed through adoption, donor insemination, surrogacy, and in vitro fertilization. When to tell, What to tell, and how to tell. Children who are adopted have predictable and often unspoken concerns about themselves and how they joined their families.

Pact Says: An adoption classic designed particularly for families with closed adoptions.
MamaDoYou.jpg Mama, Do You Love Me?
by Barbara Joosse & Barbara Lavallee

A story set in Alaska about unconditional love. An Inuit daughter searches for the limit of her mother's love in board book format. A well-loved favorite.

Pact says: This is an imaginative and reassuring story presenting a model for terrific parenting.

mamalita.jpg Mamalita
by Jessica O'Dwyer

Mamalita is an honest, gripping first person account of a very difficult Guatemalan adoption a few years before the country was "closed" due to widespread corruption in 2007. O’Dwyer is not blind to the ambiguities of her privilege as a upper middle class American trying to adopt a baby in a third world country, although in her eagerness to have a child, she sometimes looks the other way.

Pact Says: Worth noting is that a few years after the adoption was completed, O'Dwyer was able to find Olivia's birth mother, the book ends with a moving description of her reunion with Olivia.
Mama-Miti.jpg Mama Miti
by Donna Jo Napoli

A lyrical and beautifully illustrated book inspired by the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai that describes the importance of the greenbelt movement in a very personal way, through the experiences of women who come to her for help. The text is simple and lyrical (She ends each encounter with, “Thayu nyumba – Peace, my people.”) and depicts the greenbelt movement and it’s importance from a very personal standpoint.

Pact says: A beautiful and inspiring book. Kadir Nelson did the book’s illustrations – these are a mix of paint and collage – and they are as powerful and beautiful as the rest of his work..

mamarock.jpg Mama Rock's Rules
by Rose Rock

Although she’s finished raising her 10 kids (including her son Chris Rock) and caring for 17 foster children, this mom has never stopped giving advice. Divided into chapters like “I Am Your Mama, Not Your Friend,” “No Child Really Wants to be Left Alone,” and “Feed Them and They Will Tell You Everything,” Rose’s rules are sensible and well illustrated, embracing traditional values like discipline, everyday spirituality and togetherness.

Pact says: Practical and fun, Rose Rock shares her no-nonsense approach to parenting.

Measure of Our Success webstore.jpg Measure of Our Success
by Marian Wright Edelman

An inspirational book by America's premier advocate for children. In this book, written for her own children, Ms. Edelman details the lessons for life she hopes to pass along to the next generation.

Pact says: Marian Wright Edelman is a powerful role model. Beautifully written and highly recommended.

Megan's Birthday Tree
by Laurie Lears, Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

When Kendra, Megan’s birth mother, writes to say she is getting married and moving to a different town, Megan is worried she will forget her, especially since the “birthday tree” she planted when Megan was born is in her old backyard. The story ends when Megan finds out that Kendra has transplanted the birthday tree, and will be continuing to send pictures of it to Megan each year.

Pact says: Very sweet, perhaps somewhat idyllic but this book definitely explores the importance of their birth parents to children this age.


Just knowing about books is not enough. We all hear that reading is good for children but many parents don't know how to start or how to make reading fun for their kids. They are looking for help in deciding how to choose books for themselves and particularly their children. Parents as well as clinicians and educators are often looking for strategies for how to use books to jumpstart important conversations with children about their feelings and concerns about race and adoption. An excellent resource on these topics is Mirrors & Windows, a booklet about using books with young children written by Pact for parents and teachers. Topics Include: Book Facts, Helping Children Love to Read at Different Ages and Stages, Choosing Books, How Reading Helps Children Process Feelings, Suggestions for Teachers with Adopted Students.
Mixed webstore.jpg Mixed: An Anthology of Short Fiction on the Multiracial Experience
Edited by Chandra Prasad, Introduction by Rebecca Walker

This anthology of nineteen essays examines the complexities of multiple heritage for those of Asian and Pacific Island heritage. Section one takes a historical view, section two focuses on family and identity, three looks at community and politics, and four explores the impact of mixed Asian heritage outside of the US.

Pact says: Prasad begins each piece with a biographical sketch of the writer and concludes each with a commentary, which makes for an absorbing and thought-provoking collection.

mommyfar.gif Mommy Far, Mommy Near
by Carol Antoinette Peacock

Elizabeth was adopted from China. While her mother finds many openings to talk about adoption -- looking at her album, pointing out differences in how they look, describing how they adopted their dog, etc. - it isn't until Elizabeth sees a Chinese mother and daughter at the playground that she understands that she has lost her own birth mother. Elizabeth's mom doesn't try to fix what she cannot but responds perfectly with her show of love.

Pact says: The game of “look” (a must-do ritual for reinforcing attachment and truly seeing one another) is enfolded in the story.

Monster webstore.jpg Monster
by Walter Dean Myers

Monster is a gripping, complex novel about a 16-year-old boy on trial for his life. Steven Harmon is a “good” boy from a loving family—a good student who agrees to be the lookout in a drugstore robbery. In the course of the robbery, a man is killed. We see Steven’s absolute terror, both of losing his future to prison and of the violence surrounding him in jail. We see the grief of his parents and his guilt at being the cause. We also get a look at the racial dynamics at play in the criminal system.

Pact says: A multi-faceted novel about how we are defined both by our choices and by the way others see us.

More, More, More, Said the Baby
by Vera Williams

Three wonderful, funny multicultural stories with pictures that show babies in families having fun with their parents and grandparents. Sometimes the child and adult are of the same race; sometimes they're not.

Pact says: A heartwarming imagination-tickler that all kids should experience.

Mother for Choco, A
by Keiko Kasza

Choco wished he had a mother, but who could his mother be? The story is about belonging. The story ends with Mrs. Bear acknowledging that she will perform the parenting needs Choco is missing—fun, love, nurture, protection—even though she doesn’t look like Choco. The word adoption is never once used in this story.

Pact says: A great validation that a mother is who takes care of you, and a family can be found, not just born.

Mulberry Bird
by Anne Braff Brodzinsky

Although she loves her baby very much, a young mother bird chooses adoption because she is unable to give him the home that he needs. This gentle story shows her struggle with this decision and illustrates her hope that her baby's life can be fulfilled through adoption.

Pact says: This re-illustrated version of a beloved classic offers a reassuring answer to every adopted child’s question, “Why is there adoption and why was I adopted?”

Multiplication-is-for-White-People.jpg Multiplication is for White People
by Lisa Delpit

Delpit is an impassioned advocate for the needs of children of color and at the center of her book is a message what the debate about the achievement gap desperately needs.

Pact says: Parents and educators who are concerned about the education of children of color can learn a great deal from Delpit’s knowledgeable, passionate and thoughtful analysis.

MyNameisMaria.jpg My Name is Maria Isabel
By Alma Flor Ada

Maria Isabel is hurt when her teacher decides to call her Mary to distinguish her from two other Maria’s in the class, but it interferes with her performance in school. Maria is proud of her name and heritage. Eventually her teacher understands.

Pact says: When shy Maria Isabel finally finds a way to tell the truth about her feelings she acknowledges that she isn’t comfortable trying to be someone else with a different name. The story speaks to experience of anyone who has felt insecure when authority figures seem to want to change their identity - the parallel to adoption is obvious.

mypeople.jpg My People
by Langston Hughes, Photographed by Charles Smith, Jr.

The inspirational words of Hughes’ poem are brought to life through a collection of sepia-colored photographs that capture the diverse features, hearts, and souls of its subjects. Introducing the poem two or three words at a time, Smith pairs each phrase with a portrait of one or more African-Americans; printed in sepia, the faces of his subjects materialize on Black pages.

Pact says: Inspire a child with beautiful depictions in word and photo of what it means to be part of the African diaspora!

MySistersVoices.jpg My Sisters' Voices: Teenage Girls of Color Speak
Edited by Iris Jacob

This book is a compilation of writing from girls of color aged 11 to 19. The author/editor describes her journey to deciding to create such a book: "I felt my struggle had not been truly identifies. I felt as though girls of color had a unique and rarely validated struggle. I believed that in adoption to bearing the weight of being teenagers and female, we also carry the enormous issues of race and ethnicity. " Each piece is preceded by an often empathetic reflection by Ms. Jacob herself. Bravo!

Pact says: A wonderful contribution to the field that gives insight to adults and validation to girls as they journey towards womanhood.

nappy.gif Nappy Hair
by Carolivia Herron

In a unique and vibrant picture book that uses the African American call-and-response tradition, a family talks back and forth about adorable Brenda’s hair. The family delights in poking gentle fun with their hilarious descriptions, all the time discovering the inherent beauty and value of Brenda’s hair.

Pact says: Nappy Hair celebrates the glory of Black beauty. While children of Black heritage may delight to see this story, it is equally important for children of all backgrounds to see positive reflections of children of African American heritage.

jimcrow.jpg New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander

Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits.

Pact says: Most provocatively reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action blur our vision of injustice.

ninthward.jpg Ninth Ward
by Jewell Parker Rhodes

New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina is the setting for this tense novel that blends the drama of the catastrophic storm with magical realism. Twelve-year-old Lanesha's teenage mother died while giving birth to her, and, because her mother's wealthy uptown family won't have anything to do with her, she is raised in the Ninth Ward by loving Mama Ya-Ya, 82, who feels like her "mother and grandmother both." This book has strong female characters and is well written with engaging characters and has a strong message about facing fear and adversity.

Pact says: There is an adoption theme: at the end, a vision of Lanesha’s birth mother appears to help her survive a crisis after having died in childbirth.

No-Biking-in-the-house-without-a-helmet.jpeg No Biking In The House Without A Helmet
by Melissa Fay Greene

This book was a light, funny read that appeals to a broad audience. Anyone raising children can appreciate Greene’s description of her family life. She writes about all of her children with a lot of love and genuine appreciation for them as people. The book is definitely about adoption – specifically international adoption of older children – but it is also about life in a big family. She talks about good (and not so good) reasons to adopt and the importance of open adoption as well as the importance of cultural connections.

Pact says: Where the book deals specifically with adoption-related issues, Greene hits the right notes.

NurturingAdoption.jpg Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma
by Deborah Gray

With higher and higher percentages of children joining their families through adoption, both parents and the professionals with whom they consult need new skills. From the author of Attaching in Adoption (a former Pact favorite!) comes this new tool designed to help placement professionals and therapists understand adoption, attachment and research on the impact of neglect, abuse, early trauma, and institutionalization on the developing brains of children can guide their practices in new directions.

Pact says: We recommend it for parents who want to practice therapeutic parenting strategies as well.

Of Many Colors
by Peggy Gillespie

The families include transracial, interracial, same-race blended, adoptive, single parent, and two-parent families, both heterosexual and homosexual.

Pact says: A beautiful contribution. In this moving and intimate look at multiracial family life, the compelling photograph of each family is accompanied by revealing text culled from interviews with the family members—children as well as adults—who describe in their own voices the joys and challenges of life in a multiracial family.

oftheeising.jpg Of Thee I Sing, A Letter to My Daughters
By Barack Obama, Illustrated by Loren Lon

A tender letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to 13 historically important Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation; from the artistry of Georgia O’Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson and the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children. Illustrated by a best-selling, award-winning artist whose images capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood.

Pact says: We can all be inspired by America’s first Black president to see ourselves in the many positive traditions and heroes that are part of our collective heritage.

Oh-the-Things-Mommies Do.jpg Oh The Things Mommies Do!
by Crystal Tompkins

Choco wished he had a mother, but who could his mother be? The story is about belonging. The story ends with Mrs. Bear acknowledging that she will perform the parenting needs Choco is missing—fun, love, nurture, protection—even though she doesn’t look like Choco. The word adoption is never once used in this story.

Pact says: A great validation that a family can be found, not just born. Available in paperback or as a board book.

On Mother's Lap
by Ann Herbert Scott

This book explores the issue of whether Mom has room on her lap for both of her children. The answer is, “There’s always enough room for us both.”

Pact says: A book to cuddle with.

OneCrazySummer.jpg One Crazy Summer
edited by Rita Garcia-Williams

In 1968, three Black sisters from Brooklyn are put on a California-bound plane by their father to spend a month with their mother, a poet in Oakland. It’s the summer after Black Panther founder Huey Newton was jailed and there are men in berets shouting “Black Power” on the news. Beautifully written, this book iraises questions of cultural identity and personal responsibility.

Pact says: With memorable characters (all three girls have strong voices) and vubrabt story, this is a book well worth reading.

once.jpg Once They Hear My Name
edited by Marilyn Lammert and Mary Anne Hess

Nine adult Korean adoptees ranging in age from 25 to 53 speak in interviews about their struggles growing up and how they’ve chosen to navigate the complex journey towards identity acceptance. Each adoptee’s story appears to be transcribed verbatim; phrases spoken out loud are fine in conversation, but translated to paper they sometimes weaken the story’s impact.

Pact says: For a person who is new to the experiences of transracial adoption, this book is certainly worthy.

Once Upon a Quinceanera : Coming of Age in the USA
by Julia Alvarez

Alvarez explores the quinceańera, the coming-of-age ceremony for Latinas turning 15. She structures her book around one particular girl’s ceremony, from the dreamy planning stages through the late hours of the actual, dizzying affair. Both sympathetic and critical, Alvarez wants readers to focus on creating positive, meaningful rites of passage for the younger generation.

Pact says: Alvarez underscores both the value and complexity of the ritual in the Latino community.

one-wonderful.jpg One Wonderful You
by Francie Portnoy

"You are unique because you are a wonderful blend of both your families." This straightforward, clear and entertaining book talks in language kids can understand about genetics, heritage and what adoption really means. The simple message reinforces basic information in an appealing way. Multicultural cartoon-like illustrations add appeal.

Pact says: We love the inherent message of completeness, helping children from the beginning feel great about BOTH their family legacies. Written by an adoptee, there is no question that the book's validating message will help children feel comfortable in their skin as they process the facts of their adoption. And it has some humor as a bonus!

Open Adoption Experience, The
by Lois Melina & Sharon Kaplan Roszia

This book covers all the bases, from theory to reality. It addresses both the easy and the challenging realities of living an open adoption. The many personal stories make the book believable and useful for all kinds of situations. It is sometimes a bit dense, but it makes for a perfect reference manual.

Pact says: An important reference manual for many issues of open adoption.


Although transracial adoption is generally considered win-win, it has too often exacted a heavy toll on children when white parents approach it from a color blind or child-saving mentality. Through gripping essays, poetry and are, transracially adopted writers and artists from around the world carefully explore explore this most intimate aspect of globalization.

Pact says: Experts on their own experience, the writers of Outsiders Within offer an illuminating and provocative glimpse in to the world of transracial adoption that will make many of us uncomfortable but validates the lives of those children currently placed for adoption across racial and cultural lines. A must read!

Over The Moon: An Adoption Story
by Karen Katz

Once upon a time a teeny-tiny baby was born. At the same time, a man and a woman had a dream. They saw the baby in a basket surrounded by beautiful flowers and they knew it was the child they had been longing for. Bright, exuberant illustrations tell the story of how one family came together with the lively appeal of Guatemalan folk art.The child has brown skin and looks Central American.

Pact says: The message is reassuring, the illustrations are delightful and the text is happy.

Pablo's Tree
by Pat Mora

Five-year-old Pablo can hardly wait to see how Abuelito, his grandfather, has decorated Pablo's tree for his birthday. When Mama first told her father that she was going to adopt a baby and name it after him if it were a boy, Lito went out and bought the tree for his grandson. He moved the tree from place to place and watered it, but he waited to plant it until the day that Mama finally brought Pablo home. And every year since then, Lito has decorated the tree for Pablo's birthday.

Pact says: This book is a powerful tool for all adoptive families, at any stage of pre or post-adoption. Illustrates a family ritual and how it promotes deep and enduring attachments for a child as he grows.

ParentingAdopAdol.jpg Parenting Adopted Adolescents: Understanding & Appreciating Their Journeys
By Gregory Keck, Edited by Lynda Mansfield

Written in a casual, accessible style, Keck's underlying point is that all children who are adopted into their families must deal with the developmental issues of adolescence as well as adoption-related issues, either simultaneously or alternately. Keck mines his experience as a clinician and includes stories from his many years of practice. Keck's personal and professional experience allow him to write with expertise and a special sensitivity to teens who come from chaotic beginnings and have lived in multiple foster homes, and to the issues of young men, in particular.

Pact says: Beth Hall, Pact’s Director, her children and several other Pact teens contributed to this volume.

parenting-as-adoptees.jpg Parenting as Adoptees
by Adam Chau & Kevin Ost-Vollmers

Through fourteen chapters, the authors of Parenting As Adoptees give readers a glimpse into a pivotal phase in life that touches the experiences of many domestic and international adoptees—that of parenting. The authors, who are all adoptees from various walks of life, intertwine their personal narratives and professional experiences, and the results of their efforts are insightful, emotive, and powerful.Includes contributions by: Bert Ballard, Susan Branco Alvarado, Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter, Lorial Crowder, Shannon Gibney, Astrid Dabbeni, Mark Hagland, Hei Kyong Kim, JaeRan Kim, Jennifer Lauck, Mary Mason, Robert O’Connor, John Raible, and Sandy White Hawk.

Pact says: Most, though not all, of the adoptees were adopted transracially.
Parenting From the Inside Out
by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell

The authors explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way that we parent. Drawing upon stunning new findings in neuro-biology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories that will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.

Pact says: Highly relevant to adoptive families, because it guides parents through creating the necessary foundations for a loving and secure relationship with their children.

parenting the hurt child webstore.jpg Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow
by Gregory Keck and Regina Kupecky

Keck and Kupecky welcome parents of children with attachment issues to a world of easy to grasp ideals and practical ideas. In smart, honest and everyday language they describe families-in-process; families where parents are not to blame for their children's problems but are responsible for doing as much as they can to help their kids grow beyond difficult beginnings.

Pact says: A really helpful guide for parents of challenging children.

Parents Wanted
by George Harrar

Andy is twelve years old and was removed from his parents several years before. He meets a couple at his 5th adoption party whom he chooses to adopt him and they do. Parents Wanted chronicles Andy’s experience as he moves in with them and becomes their son. It includes very telling passages as he copes with loyalty issues regarding his birth parents, ADD, shame about being adopted and fear of being rejected again.

Pact says: What is wonderful about this book is that it is written from a twelve-year-old’s voice giving kids and parents alike a window into how a kid who has been through several placements and group homes views the world and the actions of the adults who are SUPPOSED to be caring for him. Really insightful.

peace.jpg Peace, Locomotion
by Jacqueline Woodson

Through letters to his little sister, who is in a different foster home, Lonnie, 11 years old, also known as "Locomotion," keeps a record of their lives while they are apart. Jacqueline Woodson is a children's lit goddess who takes incredibly complicated emotions and presses them down to diamonds. An example of some of the heartfelt writing includes: You one of us now; When the relatives stop coming; When you don't know where your sister is anymore; When every sign around you says; Group Home Rules: Don't do this and don't do that until it sinks in one rainy Saturday afternoon; while you're sitting at the Group Home window; reading a beat-up Group Home book; wearing a Group Home hand-me-down shirt; hearing all the Group Home loudness; that you are a Throwaway Boy; And the news just sits in your stomach; hard and heavy as Group Home food.

Pact says: Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this book. Now.

People Could Fly, The: American Black Folktales
by Virginia Hamilton

Virginia Hamilton, Newbery Medal winner and recipient of the National Book Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award, teams up with two-time Caldecott Medal winners, Leo and Diane Dillon, in this classic collection of American black folktales, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. By turns droll, grisly, and spine-tingling, the 24 stories celebrate the indomitable human spirit, surviving under the most crushing circumstances of slavery. Four groups of stories: Animal Tales; Tales of the Real, Extravagant and Fanciful; Tales of the Supernatural; and Slave Tales of Freedom.

Pact says: An excellent of stories rooted in the African American experience.

Perpetual-Child.jpg Perpetual Child: Dismantling The Stereotype
by Diane Rene Christian & Amanda Transue-Woolston

Filled with significant moments in the lives of the authors, these essays give us sometimes raw and always gripping insight into the complex loyalties and feelings of adopted people; the writing is excellent and clearly conveys the strengths of adult adoptees who are the only group in present-day American who are treated as children because they cannot obtain personal information about their birth identity.

Without a doubt, we can learn more about adoption from listening to adult adoptees than from anyone else. This book gives all of us a welcome chance to deepen our understanding of our families and of ourselves.

Peter's Chair
by Ezra Jack Keats

The new baby is home and Peter's world has really changed. So Peter runs away until his parents welcome him home with his own grown-up chair. Peter eventually realizes his status as big brother is very special.

Pact says: Addressing sibling rivalry, this book has stood the test of time and is both charming and reassuring.

piecesofme.jpg Pieces of Me
by Edited by Bert Ballard

A collection of heartfelt poems, essays, songs, and artwork that give voice to the unique struggles and experiences of adopted teenagers. Organized into thematic sections ("Gathering the Pieces," "Stolen Pieces" and "Fitting the Pieces"), the individual contributions are sometimes painful, sometimes hopeful, sometimes direct offers of advice. The unifying message to teenage readers is that they are not alone-others share their feelings and experiences.

Pact says: A valuable resource for young adoptees and those who love them.

Pinballs, The
by Betsy Byars

Coming to terms with Living in foster care. You can't always decide where life will take you when you're stuck in foster care. Three kids in foster care - Pinballs, as wisecracking Carly dubs them - collide in a warm and caring home and learn to pin their hopes on each other. This books engages these three children in many conversations and also enlightens us about their real feelings as they struggle to feel good about themselves in the face of the loss of their birth family and placement in foster care.

Pact says: A hopeful story that will give all adopted and foster children a vehicle to explore their feelings whether they were placed at older ages or as infants.

a-place-in-my-heart.jpg A Place In My Heart
By Mary Grossnickle

$16.95
Charlie the chipmunk is adopted into a family of gray squirrels. He wonders about his birth parents. His mother gives him permission to be curious and care about his birth parents and shows him there is always room in our hearts for all of the people we care about and love. This book gives parents excellent models for how to talk to their young children about the deeper issues of adoption.

Pact says: We love this book and it is written by an adoptee, giving it real authenticity.
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pleasebaby.jpg Please, Baby, Please
by Spike Lee and Tonya Lee

An energetic toddler has tons of important things to do. Her parents must be patient, understanding and love her unconditionally..The book’s end, in the final wordless picture, a loving embrace leaves no doubt of who loves this baby.

Pact says: A loving book that just happens to have all African American characters. Also available in a board book $7.99.

push_out_image.jpg Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School
By Monique W. Morris, EdD.

$26.95
Pushout begins to fill the gap in the literature with a deeply intersectional analysis of Black girls and the school-to-prison pipeline. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with Black girls in four states (CA, NY, LA, and IL), as well as observations of classrooms in alternative school and juvenile detention settings, Morris explores the experiences of some of the most vulnerable Black girls as they navigate school settings that are poorly equipped to support Black girls but well-equipped to punish them.

Pact says: There is much to like about the book, particularly its intersectional approach to this long-neglected subject.
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raising.gif Raising Nuestros Niños
by Gloria Rodriguez

Focusing on the needs and issues of children ages birth to 12, this book offers a wide range of information ranging from basic parenting issues to an overview of Latino [Hispanic] culture. The cultural section includes information from recipes to outlines for a Quincińera.

Pact says: Singles and gays be prepared, there is a long section on the importance of marriage to children. But access to the Latino perspective and approach to family and children counterbalance this challenge.

Raising Your Spirited Child webstore.jpg Raising Your Spirited Child
by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Children who are more intense, perceptive and persistent may also be less adaptable, have more energy, and exhibit more difficult behavior. This optimistic book offers support and practical advice to parents raising spirited children. The author advises “progress, not perfection”.

Pact says: The engaging writing clearly presents practical skills for parenting. Highly recommended to parents of adopted children, many of whom act out their feelings about their core experiences by having difficulty with transitions, testing authority, fighting bedtime, and other challenging behaviors.

Real Parents, Real Children
by Holly van Gulden

Want to know what your kids are thinking/feeling about their adoption? Want great ideas about how to talk to them from infancy on? This is a book about some of adoptive life’s essential moments, those instances when, in a split-second of time, you’re called upon to tackle core issues and challenges.

Pact says: While there are many must-reads in books about adoption, we think Holly offers insights no adoptive parent can do without. Highly recommended.

RedDustRoad.jpg Red Dust Road
by Jackie Kay

From the moment when, as a little girl, she realizes that her skin is a different color from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her birth parents, her Highland mother and Nigerian father, the journey that Jackie Kay undertakes is full of unexpected twists, turns and deep emotions. Taking the reader from Glasgow to Lagos and beyond, Red Dust Road is revelatory, redemptive and courageous, unique in its voice and universal in its reach. It is a heart-stopping story of parents and siblings, friends and strangers, belonging and beliefs, biology and destiny, and love.

Pact says: Jackie had wonderful adoptive parents who did everything to support their daughter's identity, racially and in adoption - this book underscores the reality that adoption is truly a lifelong issue. Susan Ito says, "Red Dust Road is the best adoption memoir I have ever read!"

rethinking-normal.jpg Rethinking Normal: A Memoir In Transition
by Katie Rain Hill

In her unique, generous, and affecting voice, nineteen-year-old Katie Hill shares her personal journey of undergoing gender reassignment.

returnable-girl.jpg Returnable Girl, The
by Pamela Lowell

Since her mother left two years ago, 13-year-old Veronica has been in a succession of foster families. Now she is living with a new foster mother, a child psychologist who is willing to tackle Ronnie’s lying, stealing, and violent outbursts. Difficult issues–betrayal, depression, emotional abuse–are handled without melodrama or sensationalism.

Pact says: Ultimately, the novel celebrates the resilience of both teens and adults, the bonds formed in healing, and the journeys traveled the physically and emotionally by Ronnie as she seeks to find her place.

Rosa webstore.jpg Rosa
by Nikki Giovanni and Brian Collier

Together Nikki Giovanni and Brian Collier tell the story of Rosa Parks and of the strength of the African American community that surrounded her and stood with her. Giovanni is a skillful writer and paired with Collier’s beautiful illustrations her text offers children a look at history that will fill them with appreciation for these icons of the Civil Rights Movement.

Pact says: A beautifully written and illustrated book for children that emphasizes the role of the whole community in Parks’ victory over injustice..

Ruby Lu, Brave and True
by Lenore Look

These are the adventures of almost 8 year old Ruby Lu, a Chinese American girl. The book is a fun-filled look at a few days in the life of an Asian American kid.

Pact says: This is a great book about a little girl whose family has figured out how to live two heritages -- the one of their parents and grandparents, and the other in the US. There's a glossary and pronunciation guide for the Cantonese words and phrases sprinkled throughout the book. It is geared towards the younger end of the 3rd to 5th grade group.

RubyLuEmpress.jpg Ruby Lu: Empress of Everything
by Lenore Look, Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

Sequel to Ruby Lu, Brave and True. When Flying Duck comes from China to live with her family, Ruby Lu's happy world is turned upside down as suddenly everyone is speaking in a foreign language at home, their evening dinners are greatly altered, and she is suddenly mandated by her family to become Flying Duck's guide at school. More adventures and realizations about what it means to immigrate and how to communicate ensue when you don't speak the same language ensue.

Pact says: Great books for American kids of Chinese descent, and for anyone else who wants to read about a little girl whose family has figured out how to live two heritages -- the one of their parents and grandparents, and the one here in the US.

Sadako and the Thousand Cranes
by Elanor Coerr

Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the atom bomb was dropped on her home city of Hiroshima. When she was twelve, she developed leukemia. Facing long days in bed, Sadako spent the time folding paper cranes, for the legend holds that if a sick person folds 1000 cranes, the gods will make her well again. She folded 644 cranes before she died. Children all over Japan helped collect money to build a monument to her.

Pact says: An inspiring story of one child’s courage in the face of adversity and the tremendous outpouring of support she received.

Sam's Sister
by Juliet C. Bond

Finally -- a book that acknowledges the birth siblings of adopted children. Sam's Sister follows six-year-old Rosa as she comes to understand her mother's dilemma, learns about adoption, experiences his birth and placement with Sarah and Joe. We are delighted that Rosa and her family are Latino.

Pact says: We hope this book makes it into every adoptive and birth family home as well as becoming a staple for agency personnel to use with their prospective clients. Buy a copy for your own children and your adopted children's birth siblings. Even if your child doesn't know his or her birth family, this story delivers a terrifically positive message. Four stars.

Secret of Me, The
by Meg Kearney

Being adopted is a fact of life for fourteen-year-old Lizzie: she and her older brother and sister are all adopted. Lizzie struggles with telling her boyfriend that she is adopted for fear he will think there is something wrong with her and she especially struggles with explaining to her family that she would like to know more about her birth parents. A tender, sometimes intense, look at the inner life of an adopted teen. Autobiographical.

Pact says: This book or poems expresses a range of emotions that will be familiar to all teens, and especially to those who have been adopted and are secretly wondering if their questions are "normal."

seeds_cover.jpg Seeds From A Silent Tree
by Tonya Bishoff & Jo Rankin

A collection of poetry, fiction, and personal narratives written exclusively by Korean adopted people. Explores issues of adoption, identity, race, and sexuality. Born in one culture, raised in another, assigned new names and families, thirty men and women write of their complex experiences.

Pact says: Presents some of the core issues of being adopted from a Korean perspective. Collections from the voices of adoptees are always helpful to opening a wider discussion of adoption for both parents and children.

Setting-Limits-with-your-Strong-Willed-Child.jpg Setting Limits WIth Your Strong Willed Child
by Robert J. Mackenzie

A well-written and helpful guide to raising strong-willed children that is centered around clear and respectful communication between parents and children. The first half of the book examines temperamental traits that are commonly found in children who will repeatedly test the rules; the second half details several strategies parents can use that are firm and will short circuit power struggles, while staying respectful of children’s feelings.

Pact says: This book encourages parents to take a look at the messages we may inadvertently be sending our children with our words and actions. A book many parents will want to read keep by their bedside table..

Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind
By Suzanne Fischer Staples

Exploring the challenges of a young Muslim girl growing up in Pakistan, Shabanu struggles to find her own identity. Set against the backdrop of desert life in present day Pakistan, this book offers a passionate and deeply personal portrait of a young girlâ019s struggle for identity in a culture that forbids even token expression of independence for women.

Pact says: The first in a triplicate of books that explores life for a middle school-aged girl in a non-Western culture that asks her to choose between family loyalties and personal dreams.


Shades of Black
by Sandra L. Pinkney

Embraces the beauty and diversity of African American children. Using simple poetic language these photographic portraits and descriptions of varied skin tones, hair texture and eye color convey a strong sense of pride in a unique heritage.

Pact says: Pictures of the real faces of African American children demonstrate in a visual way the true diversity of "black" people, allowing young children to understand that blackness derives not from the color but from the culture of a people.

skin i'm in webstore.jpg Skin I'm In, The
by Sharon Flake

Maleeka Madison feels like a freak in her inner-city middle school. The kids pick on her because she is ‘the darkest, worst-dressed thing in school’ and because she gets good grades. Flake is honest about how mean people are. The characters are complex....The gum-smacking, wisecracking dialogue in the hallways, the girls’ bathroom, and the classroom will pull readers into a world too rarely represented in middle-grade fiction.

Pact says: Funny and clever, A thoughtful novel about the impact of skin tone in how African American’s see themselves and their beauty.

TheSkinYouLiveIn.jpg Skin You Live In, The
by Michael Tyler and David Lee Csicsko

This picture book takes a cheerful look at human diversity by focusing on skin. Rhyming verses describe the many experiences that can be had in it in a variety of hues. The poem ends by emphasizing the importance of the " 'You' who's within" and pointing out that skin is something that makes individuals different and similar at the same time.

Pact says: This is an affirming addition to the collection of books dealing with self-esteem and multiculturalism.

slant-book-cover.png Slant
by Laura Williams

Williams, a Korean adoptee herself, tells the story of thirteen-year-old Lauren Wallace, a Korean adoptee who is the only Asian-American in her suburban Connecticut middle school. Taunted by a pair of classmates who call her "gook," "chink," and "slant," Lauren is saving her money to pay for eye surgery. Anyone who has been thirteen will relate to Lauren's everyday problems and concerns. During the course of the novel, she gets her ears pierced, buys her first bra, argues with her emotionally distant father, and longs to be asked to the school dance. Ultimately, Lauren does decide against the eye surgery.

Pact says: We commend Williams for dealing with difficult issues in Slant. We hope that more "tween" novels will take on transracial adoption, racism, and belonging.

So Much
by Trish Cooke

Mom and baby (who happen to be brown-skinned), are home alone when Auntie and then Uncle and Nannie and Gran-Gran and the cousins come to visit. And they all want to hug and kiss and squeeze and eat the baby right up because everybody loves the baby so much!

Pact says: A wonderful evocation of a moment in a Black family's life. A Pact bestseller.

Soul Looks Back In Wonder
by Tom Feelings

Included in the anthology are verses by Margaret Walker, Maya Angelou, Lucille Clifton, and Eugene B. Redmond, and a previously unpublished poem by Langston Hughes. This is a unique and moving collaboration that celebrates the sustaining spirit of African creativity. Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration.

Pact says: A beautiful book, filled with compelling words and pictures that inspire. This is a great book to have on your shelf for this age range as they look for information for class projects and inspirational historical figures of color they can admire and study.

Spirit of Open Adoption webstore.jpg Spirit of Open Adoption, The
by James L. Gritter

Viewing adoptive families as resources for birth families facing unplanned pregnancies, this book defines excellence in adoption by the replacement of fear, pain and shame with honor, respect, and reverence of each participant for one another. Open adoption is seen as a model built on candor, commitment, community, and cooperation. Gritter expresses deep concern about for-profit adoption.

Pact says: This book gives a compelling explanation of the why and reason open adoption is the "best" form of adoption we have today.

Stanford-Wong-Flunks-Big-Time.jpg Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time
by Lisa Yee

Stanford Wong is a middle school basketball star who has just found out that he’ll need to go to summer school if he wants to pass 6th grade. He spends the summer sneaking to school so that his friends don’t find out and trying to connect to his distant and disappointed father. Along the way, he finds out who his friends are and learns a lot about himself. This is a very entertaining, well-written book with an interesting cast of characters.

Pact Says: An excellent book that looks at peer pressure and stereotypes of Asian American kids. Yee is a talented writer who has given us a very engaging, fun book with good messages about the power of persistence and believing in one’s self..

staroftheweek.jpg Star of the Week
by Darlene Friedman and Roge

The authors take a sensitive, often upbeat look at Cassidy-Li’s feelings about her adoption as she puts together her personal poster. “I love my parents, but I’m sad about my birthparents,” she says, stating simply the complicated dichotomy which adoptees live.

Pact says: Star of the Week serves as an excellent springboard for discussion about taking adoption to school.

Sticks and Stones: (7 ways Your Child Can Deal with Teasing)
by Scott Cooper

This book gives parents tips on how to teach their children basic communication skills to deflect or diffuse conflict. It is the best we have found for teaching positive communication and conflict resolution.

Pact says: These very simple communication techniques are presented through a confusing metaphor, as the author labels the techniques using habits of particular birds—thus, assertive self expression is taught as “The Way of the Blue Jay.” Nonetheless, it does a good job of letting parents know what will be helpful to kids.

stories-of-adoption.jpg Stories of Adoption: Loss and Reunion
by Eric Blau

Annette Baran, a leading adoption educator, writes, “The pages within this extraordinarily moving volume offer, in photographic image and personal reflection, a rare opportunity for the reader to share the inner feelings of adopted people, birth parents, and adoptive parents.”

Pact Says: Eric Blau has captured a special human story in each of his photographs, and the individual stories speak an emotional truth about how adoption affects people’s lives. Highly recommended. A Pact bestseller.

perfectlyprima.jpg Sugar Plum Ballerinas: #3 Perfectly Prima
by Whoopi Goldberg, Deborah Underwood and Maryn Roos

Perfectionistic Jerzey Mae desperately wants to be a ballet dancer. But she's frustrated by her own lack of talent--and by her friends' jokes about her terrible dancing. Things get even worse when her little brother Mason attends her ballet class, totally embarrassing Jerzey in front of her prima ballerina idol, Miss Camilla Freeman. (Hardcover)

Pact says: Fast paced and entertaining, with unique, multicultural characters and positive messages about friendship, honesty, materialism, and forgiveness as well as the challenges of life for girls, these books are fun to read and give a positive message to girls of color in particular.

plumfantastic.jpg Sugar Plum Ballerinas: #1 Plum Fantastic
by Whoopi Goldberg, Deborah Underwood and Maryn Roos

Moving is never easy, but for Alexandrea Petrakova Johnson, the move from a small southern town to Harlem is unbearable. Al's winning personality leads her to make a few friends, but just as things seem to be getting better she courts jealousy by being cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the annual performance of The Nutcracker. This first book in a series earnestly addresses the effects of moving, making friends, and settling into a new routine.

Pact says: Fast paced and entertaining, with unique, multicultural characters and positive messages about friendship, honesty, materialism, and forgiveness as well as the challenges of life for girls, these books are fun to read and give a positive message to girls of color in particular.

Terribleterrel.jpg Sugar Plum Ballerinas: #4 Terrible Terrel
by Whoopi Goldberg, Deborah Underwood and Maryn Roos

Terrel is always in charge, whether she's making lists for grocery shopping (her favorite hobby, AFTER ballet), keeping her brothers in line, or organizing father-daughter time in with her dad. Lately, though, her dad's been acting a little strange--wearing new clothes and way too much aftershave. Things get even weirder when he surprises Terrel with his new girlfriend during a night out at the ballet - a night that was supposed to be father-daughter time.

Pact says: Fast paced and entertaining, with unique, multicultural characters and positive messages about friendship, honesty, materialism, and forgiveness as well as the challenges of life for girls, these books are fun to read and give a positive message to girls of color in particular.

toeshoetrouble.jpg Sugar Plum Ballerinas: #2 Toeshoe Trouble
by Whoopi Goldberg, Deborah Underwood and Maryn Roos

Nine-year-old Brenda Black is a budding ballet dancer and wannabe doctor. Brenda and her friends hatch a plan to "borrow" their ballet teacher's prized ballet shoes, autographed by a famous prima ballerina. The plan goes awry when Tiffany's pooch chews them to shreds, and the Sugar Plum Sisters must fix the unfixable.

Pact says: Fast paced and entertaining, with unique, multicultural characters and positive messages about friendship, honesty, materialism, and forgiveness as well as the challenges of life for girls, these books are fun to read and give a positive message to girls of color in particular.

talkingwith.gif Talking With Young Children About Adoption
by Mary Watkins & Susan Fischer

What does your child understand about adoption? This book is filled with practical guidance and examples of what to say when.

Pact says: Offers clear direction on how to listen rather than tell. The point is to understand what children are thinking rather than to hand them a politically correct doctrine of adoption thinking. We wish there was more discussion of birth parent stories.

Teammates
by Peter Golenbock & Paul Bacon

An account of Jackie Robinson’s difficulties as the first Black player in Major League baseball this book relates the acceptance and support he received from a white teammate. This single moment is a great way to talk about racism, courage and true brotherhood.

Pact say: A great example to demonstrate how white allies can support people of color.

Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born
by Jamie Lee Curtis, Illustrator Laura Cornell

A heartwarming story with real-life details your child can connect to — about how the phone rang in the middle of the night and the scream you let out when they said I was born; how Grandma and Grampa slept through it like logs; how the airplane had no movies and no peanuts; how you couldn’t grow a baby in your tummy; how you went to the hospital and felt very small; how tiny and perfect I was; about how I didn’t like my first diaper change — and all those lively memories of specificity and love.

Pact says: A good book although we are sorry no mention is made of birth parents.

Temperament Tools
Working With Your Child's Inborn Traits
By Helen Nelville & Diane Clark Johnson, Illustrated by Dave Garbot

Working with your child’s inborn traits can be challenging. Research shows that temperament is something we are born with. When you understand what makes your adopted child tick, you can adapt your parenting style to your child’s individual needs, making your job much easier.

Pact says: This book is a very hands-on practical approach to understanding children’s temperament and how it influences their behavior, giving parents really helpful tools for understanding and responding to what often feels like challenging behavior.

Tequila Worm, The
by Viola Canales

This story of family and community is an affectionate picture of the life of a Mexican American family. The book is rich with details about celebrating el dia de los Muertos, preparing for a quinceanera, rejoicing in the Christmas nacimiento, and the lore of the tequila worm. Sofia celebrates festivals and rituals with her family throughout the year as she grows into a young woman, and faces a decision about how to leave home to attend a private boarding school that will open the world to her, but take her away from her family.

Pact says: The novel describes not only how these traditions are celebrated, but also their role in tying together the Mexican American family and community. Sofia's struggle with how to hold onto the values of her heritage and family while becoming her own person is sure to resonate with teens exploring identity.

Wisdom-of-Parenthood.jpg The Wisdom Of Parenthood
by Michael Eskin

This tiny volume packs a punch. It’s not meant to be read without getting involved. It’s filled with long, complex sentences that ask us to engage in active thought processes; it is intricate but also compelling. That being said, The Wisdom of Parenthood is short, sweet, and really worth the effort.

Pact Says: The author’s premise is that real parenthood—regardless of genetic connection—is based not on biology, but rather on an individual’s voluntary commitment to parent. This book is a true validation of families of every type, and an unexpected breath of fresh air.

Third Choice, The
by Gail Moscone and Leslie Foge

This is the first book that accurately details the predictable emotional steps in the journey of placement, from the initial decision through common events during the first year after placement. Written in a warm conversational tone filled with personal experiences, this book is engaging, respectful, and realistic.

Pact says: Finally! An intelligent guide for women in the process of placing a child for adoption.

This many miles from desire web store.jpg This Many Miles from Desire
by Lee Herrick

Lee’s poems are a collection of wise, heartfelt, honest poems that feel like songs, sad songs you play alone at midnight to remind your soul to live. In settings as diverse as Korea, Latin America and Fresno, California, the poems speak of the emotional experience of being adopted, of one man’s search for identity, of the problem of abandonment--but most of all, they speak of the constancy of love.

Pact says: There is no blame or bitterness here at all. These are songs of grace and acceptance and joy.
Three Names of Me
by Mary Cummings, Illustrated by Lin Wang

A book that has a touching overall tone but does so in the context of inviting acknowledgment of the adopted girls history and connections before she became the girl she is now in her adoptive home. In this book, the main character, Ada, is a Chinese adoptee who is reiterating the story of her journey to her adoptive family, “Ada Lorane Bennett. That is my name. But it is not the first name I have had. It is the third.”

Pact says: Ada’s story takes her to America, but she remembers her “China mother” and her homeland with love and affection.

Thunderhead071.jpg Thunderhead: A Children's Hair Care Video For Parents
by Pamela Farrell

$24.95
Learn how to prepare the hair to do a simple braid, and cornrow with this 22-minute video that demonstrates easy comb-out for natural hair. Learn how to do a 6-step shampoo at home, an easy blow dry, and two adorable braid styles you can complete in 15 minutes. Great for moms, dads, grandparents. Kids love it too.

Pact says: This clear and practical video show you how to do hair, "hands-on." Highly recommended. VHS
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toddler webstore.jpg Toddler Adoption
by Mary Hopkins Best

Practical, realistic and supportive advice for adoptive parents of kids adopted as toddlers. This is essential reading for those adopting children between 13 months and 4 years at the time of placement.

Pact says: Hopkins-Best’s discussion of the factors that make adopting a toddler different from adopting either infants or older children with special needs is well grounded and a good read.

guide.gif Trainer's Guide for Transracial Adoption
$60.00
Includes:
  • The Trainer's Guide A manual filled with practical outlines and exercises designed for professionals working with pre-and post-adoptive transracial families.
  • Handouts & Overhead Guides Handouts & Overhead Guides in 3-ring-binder designed for handout replication (permission to duplicate granted with purchase).
  • Below The Surface by Beth Hall & Gail Steinberg A Self-Assessment Guide For Anyone Considering Adoption Across Racial Or Cultural Lines.

A Transracial Curriculum Guide for professionals working with pre- and post-adoptive families includes sections for use with Below The Surface, a self-assessment for families considering adoption across racial and cultural lines. The videotapes "Visible Differences" and "Struggle for Identity" are described for usage in the curriculum although the videotapes themselves are not included with the Trainer's Guide. This kit offers step-by-step outlines and instructions for planning workshops using Pact materials and two instructional videotapes exploring transracial adoption issues. The trainer's guide includes advice on how to use the materials, how to establish topic priorities and suggested exercises for pre- and post- placement families. Instructions include goals, trainer preparation, agendas and handouts. Modules for 12 individual workshops as well as all-day sessions are described. Pre-Adopt Series and Post-Adopt Series Planners as well as Full-Day and Half-Day Workshop Planners are suggested.

Comments from the field: “For two decades, Pact has offered outstanding services to children of color in need of adoption…. Pact has consistently demonstrated its ability to develop and provide the highest quality of services to effectively meet the needs of these special children and their families."

    Winna Davis, San Francisco Mayor's Office of Children, Youth and Their Families

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Transnational Adoption: A Cultural Economy of Race, Gender and Kinship
by Sara Dorow

Dorow provides an honest and intriguing look at hard topics, discussing the children who are available for adoption, for example, Dorow describes how the “industry” of adoption encourages the invisibility of special-needs children, while the “healthiest,” and thus most “salable” children get the best care in orphanages. Also addresses institutional racism, gender and class issues in adoption.

Pact says: This is a challenging read. Dorow brings her sociologist’s sensibility to this academic text. She insists that we look at the whole truth, including who benefits and who is served when adoptions happen.

Transracial Adoption and Foster Care: Practice Issues for Professionals
By Joseph Crumbley

This book describes specific ways practitioners can work with transracial families to ensure that children develop positive racial and cultural identities. Dr. Crumbley also addresses such concerns as cultural competence and recruitment of adoptive and foster parents of color. Case studies and “myths” of transracial adoption provide valuable background information.

Pact says: Joe Crumbley is one of the adoption world’s clearest thinkers about transracial placements. Informed by his expertise as a clinician and his experience as a Black American, he has created an important book for anyone interested in the identity development of adopted children of color.

Tripping on the Color Line
by Heather Dalmage

Dalmage describes how people of all races support their own sense of racial identity and safety by erecting and maintaining "racial borders" - welcoming people of their own race inside and keeping those of other races out. Multiracial people, transracially adopted people, and all members of first-generation multiracial families share many experiences as they cross these racial borders.

Pact says: This is an accessible and stimulating read, useful for anyone interested in racial identity issues.

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
by Sherry Eldrridge

Eldridge says that "buried feelings caused by the loss of birth family must be identified and grieved or the child's ability to receive and give love will be diminished. The parental challenge is to learn the 20 unspoken feelings, create a nonjudgmental atmosphere for the child to grieve and cheer the child on."

Pact says: This is a unique and perceptive treatment of the core issues of adoption from a child's view and gives a clear voice to feelings not easily articulated.

Under Our Skin: Kids Talk About Race
By Barbara Birdsey, Photography by Robert Crum

Six youth of different ethnic backgrounds offer words of wisdom and hope for the future: Tad, Caucasian; Rosa, Latina (Hispanic); Akram, Arab; Jenny, Chinese; Jason, African American; and Janell, Native American, who candidly discuss how the traditions of their different cultural heritages affect their daily lives, their views on race, and their experiences with prejudice.

Pact Says: A great example of how to talk about race for younger children who will look up to these older children as mentors.

Voices from Another Place
edited by Susan Soon Keum Cox

Voices from Another Place is a from-the-heart collection of poetry, fiction, memoir, essay, photography and artwork, created by adopted Koreans after adulthood. Their diverse and unmistakably honest voices cast light on issues common to all adoptees, to those who were internationally adopted in particular and to Koreans who have grown up in American or European cultures. The importance of connecting to one’s full identity, including culture and country of origin is made clear through their open sharing of works expressing their deepest experiences.

Pact says: Highly recommended.

voices-in-first.jpg Voices in First Person: Reflections on Latino Identity
by Lori Marie Carelson, Photos by Manuel Rivera-Ortiz, Illustrated by Flavio Morais

Carlson has drawn from both established and new writers, focusing on finding Latino voices that speak to contemporary readers. Collected here are poems and short stories whose subjects range from finding God in the clouds to a lust for eating chicken, from someone’s fingers on the hole in your jeans in a crowded café to someone asking, once again, “So, where are you from?” This collection sparkles

Pact says: The entire package encourages endless browsing, flipping, and double-dipping. Great reading and resources for all readers.

Wake Up, Little Susie
by Ricki Solinger & Elaine Tyler May

A highly readable history of the difference in services provided to African American women facing unplanned pregnancies compared to white women in the United States, including the impact this had on whose children were available for adoption and how the “race factor” played into the development of a child-welfare system that underserves children of color and their birth parents.

Pact says: An exceptionally clear statement of the effects of racism on women and children in crisis. Highly recommended.

Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech

Sal, trying to deal with the fact that her mother left her, tells the story of her friend Pheobe whose own mother is gone. While dealing with the painfully realistic reactions children have to such departures, it also gives us glimpses into families that are rock solid in their love and devotion. Creech is able to repeatedly bring up the motif of “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins”, without ever becoming preachy or didactic. A Newberry Book Award winner.

Pact says: This great read gets straight to the heart of how children find resolution to the loss of connections.

Wanderer, The
by Sharon Creech

Much to the concern of her adoptive parents, Sophie joins her grandfather, uncles and male cousins on a voyage across the Atlantic to England on a 45-foot sailboat. Proving her bravery and competence to the all-male crew; she keeps a journal. as her past reveals itself. This is a deep wrenching suspenseful novel that you will think about long after you finish reading it.

Pact says: Because Sophie is adopted, this book feeds into the secret wonderings of every adoptee.

Wanting A Daughter, Needing a Son
by Kay Johnson

A well-researched study of child abandonment and adoption in China. The author offers a historical explanation of China's "one-child" policy, as well as an explanation of the pressures that lead families to decide to parent boys, not girls. The author also discusses the informal adoption system through which many families in China do, in fact, take in and keep their girls.

Pact says: This book is ESSENTIAL reading for any family adopting from China.

Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963, The
by Christopher Curtis

10-year-old Kenny and his family, the "Weird Watsons", set out on a trip like no other. They're going to Birmingham, Alabama, during one of the darkest moments in America's civil rights history. In the midst of the warmth and hilarity of the family, they encounter unexpected violence and some painful racist history.

Pact says: Being familiar with "isms" is strengthening for all kids. This award winning account of racism in the south has plenty of spice and no sugarcoating. It grabs the reader and won't let go.

Wavy, Curly, Kinky: The African American Child's Hair Care Guide
by Deborah Lilly

In Wavy, Curly, Kinky, renowned stylist Deborah Lilly shows parents the best ways to style and maintain African American boys’ and girls’ hair from infancy to the preteen years. She presents clear, easy-to-follow hair care guidelines for the three different types of African American hair and gives you expert recommendations for the best products and techniques for each hair type.

Pact says: Another good addition to your hair care library.

wearetheship.jpg We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball
by Kadir Nelson

Describes the glory years of Negro league baseball in the early 1900s, profiling its star athletes and highlighting the challenges faced by the players and the sacrifices made to live out their dreams and play the game they loved. The narrative is divided into nine innings, beginning with Rube Foster and his formation of the first Negro League in 1920 and closing with Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier into white major league baseball. In between are fascinating snippets of the events and men who formed the Negro Leagues. Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who began playing with the Negro Leagues, provides the foreword.

Pact says: The incredible artwork along with the stories makes this book a valuable collectors’ item for every family library.

We See The Moon
by Carrie Kitze

This is a story written from the adopted child's perspective, asking the questions about his or her birthparents that are often unspoken. “What do you look like? Where are you now? Do you think of me?” It teaches children that their birth family is always with them in their hearts.

Pact says: We love this book! It is simple, refined and beautiful, it succeeds in transforming the sadness of separation into a healing experience, inspiring readers to find their own meanings. Every adopted person deserves a copy of this book.

WeShallOvercome.jpg We Shall Overcome: A Song That Changed the World
The power of song is linked with the power of a people to rise up and fight oppression. This book traces the history of the inspiring anthem, exploring the influence of traditional African music and Christian hymns in shaping its lyrics and tune and offering insight into the song's role in civil rights, labor, and anti-war movements in America.

Pact says: A great book to explore the history of overcoming slavery and the civil rights movement and learn the songs that were integral to the movements.

whale-talk.jpg Whale Talk
by Chris Cutcher

A group of misfits brought together by T. J. Jones to find their places in a school that has no place for them. T. J. is convinced that earning the varsity letter jacketâ013unattainable for most, exclusive, revered, the symbol (as far as T. J. is concerned) of all that is screwed up at Cutter Highâ013will prove that they have found their niche. Heâ019s right. Heâ019s also wrong. A multi-layered plot includes the history behind T. J.â019s personal rage, his foster fatherâ019s bizarre karmic destiny, and an alumnus who makes his mixed-race daughter scrub away her blackness with a Brillo pad. Crutcher captures perfectly the emotions and humor of teens facing injustices. His sensitive treatment imparts dignity and depth to kids that are different while telling an entertaining story.

Pact says: Nice to have a story that has a male adopted teen as the main character.

What Are You?
by Pearl Gaskins

Through the lively voices of 45 young people, ages 14-26, speaking of the shame and pride that fill their own lives, this book helps us begin to understand how it feels to grow up outside traditional racial boundaries. Their views about the challenges of coming-of-age when the complexities of race are part of each milestone are honest, to-the-point, inspirational, and remarkably insightful. Includes extensive resource lists.

Pact says: This collection of authentic writing conveys the emotional impact of being of mixed race in a time of identity politics. The more you read, the better you can see both the common issues they share and the unique human qualities of each writer.

what color is my world webstore.jpg What Color is My World?
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfield, Illustrated by Ben Boss

The simple story that brings the book together is of a brother and sister helping a handyman fix up their new house. But while they work, this “handyman” starts to tell them about all of the things around them, from their cell phones and computers to the foods they are eating that were improved by the inventions or innovations of African American scientists and inventors. Pact says: The information is just a glimpse at each person, but the message of the book is that African Americans have made significant contributions to every aspect of our lives and it is presented in a way that is enjoyable rather than dry or didactic.
what-is-a-part-of-me.jpg What is a Part of Me?
by Ola Zuri, Illustrated by Jenn Simpson

A transracial adoptee of African descent herself, author Ola uses this simple text to ask questions about why she was adopted, where she comes from, who her birth parents are to name just a few. This book gives adopted children of color permission to ask questions about themselves and explore the circumstances and ongoing feelings they have about being placed transracially.

Pact says: Ola always puts forward a message of support and strong self-esteem that adopted chlldren respond to because of her validating and empowering tone.
What's Going On Down There
by Karen Gravelle

This book is forthright without being sober or scary. Facts about puberty, sex, and sexually transmitted diseases, and also what happens to girls during puberty are presented clearly and completely, along with answers to an assortment of related questions. The authors also manage to slip in some counsel about wise decision making, though the emphasis is on information, not values. Illustrations are multicultural.

Pact says: Part manual, part trusted friend, this book takes a straight forward approach to sexual development for boys. This down to earth, practical and positive book provides comprehensive information in a friendly and supportive way and will provide a broad overview inclusive of both father and son’s questions and experiences. Extremely useful!

When Sophie Get's Angry - Really, Really Angry
by Molly Bang

When Sophie's little sister grabs her toy Sophie looks to her mother for help but mom says Sophie needs to learn to share. This makes Sophie feel like "a volcano ready to explode". Overcome, she runs outside, finds solitude, is able to cry, think about what she has done, and manage to calm down. Ends with loving hugs.

Pact says: Supportive book for any child who has ever lost her temper - or might ever lose her temper.

Whoever You Are
by Mem Fox and Leslie Staub

Whoever You Are urges readers to accept differences among people, to recognize similarities, and, most importantly, to rejoice in both. The book offers a “‘we-are-all-the-same-under-the-skin’ message for the very young. An essential book that acknowledges in the simplest of terms our common humanity.

Pact says: Vivid colors underscore a vibrant and essential message.

Whole Me, The
by Ellen Baron

A story in verse about the experience of kids being adopted from the foster care system. Intended for kids aged six to twelve, we feel this book is appropriate for kids four years and up. It is presented in picture book format that children may feel makes it a "baby" book. Nevertheless, it presents authentic feelings children often have about the move from foster care to adoption.

Pact says: This book fulfills a unique purpose and will be important for children who have moved and lost more than one family.

Whose Knees Are These?
by Asim

Playful rhymes answer the title question. The text refers to knees so brown and so strong and toes so brown and sweet.

Pact says: These titles add welcome diversity to board-book collections.

Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria?
by Beverly Tatum

Young people can be observed segregating themselves by race. Tatum explains this tendency as a way of affirming racial identity and outlines the process of developing racial pride through a series of predictable stages. Includes differences between races.

Pact says: A fascinating and clearly presented map of steps toward integration of racial identity, this book affirms the need to understand the process and to talk about it. Highly recommended.

Will There Be A Lap For Me?
by Dorothy Corey

Kyle loves to sit on his mom's lap but now that she is expecting a baby, her lap is getting smaller and smaller. The characters just happen to be African American.

Pact says: This reassuring story about a black family answers big-sibling universal questions.

W.I.S.E. UP Powerbook
by Marilyn Schoettle

This child friendly book gives children easy to remember tools to cope with uncomfortable comments from others. They learn to think about their options, and make wise choices based on the word W-I-S-E:(W)alk away, say (I)t’s private, (S)hare something, or (E)ducate. This book offers practical advice and has parent suggestions for helping children handle questions from outsiders.

Pact says: A must-read written in a kid friendly cartoon like style, filled with practical advice, this book is an ideal conversation starter for parents and children to develop strategies about handling adoption questions. This book is without a doubt the best book available to help kids work through ways to respond to friends and strangers questions.

WoundedChildren.jpg Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families
by Jayne Schooler, Betsy Keefer & Timothy Callahan

The book offers a detailed look at the importance of attachment and what happens to a child cognitively, psychologically and behaviorally when it does not take place. While the book is not without optimism, it is realistic about what parenting a traumatized child can be like and the impact it has on parents and families.

Pact says: The books strongest function is in providing an overall picture and a wealth of information about the possible issues and their root causes, as well as pointing out red flags, both in a child’s behavior and in the dynamics of potential adoptive families.

Yell-oh Girls!
by Vickie Tam

Emerging voices explore culture, identity, and growing up Asian American. This collection includes 80 brief selections by budding teen writers. Tam presents the pieces according to theme and ends each section with a “Mentor Piece” by an established Asian-American writer on her own coming-of-age. This book certainly lays to rest the notion that race and racism are not issues for Asian Americans.

Pact says: Very important reading for Asian American girls and everyone who loves them!

Yellow: Race in America beyond Black and White
by Frank Wu

A leading voice in the Asian American community tackles what is means to be Asian American in contemporary America. Wu suggests that the widespread stereotyping of Asian Americans, while "superficially positive," is inherently damaging. Mixing personal anecdotes, current events, academic studies, and court cases, Wu not only debunks the myth of a "model minority" but also makes discomfiting observations about attitudes toward affirmative action, what he calls "rational" discrimination, mixed marriages, racial profiling, and assimilation versus multiculturalism.

Pact says: A fascinating and clearly presented discussion of the Asian American experience.

yes-yout-teen.jpg Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind
by Michael Bradley

A funny, blunt, and reassuring book. psychologist Bradley uses current brain research, he points out that the most sophisticated parts of the mind are not developed until the end of adolescence and that parents are still the most influential force in their kids' lives. Overall, the message is that kids can become fine people even if they screw up a lot,Using crisp, believable anecdotes that are alternately poignant and hysterically funny, Bradley homes in on real-life scenarios, showing parents, for instance, how to respond when their teen is "raging," and how to set curfews and limits.

Pact says: Bradley draws a vivid picture of what the teen is going through, and gives parents the tools to be effective parents.

Yo! Yes
by Chris Raschka

Two boys, one Black and one white, meet on the street. In a simple story that uses just nineteen words ("yo" appears twice, "yes" six times), two boys meet as strangers who strike up a conversation on a city sidewalk. One hails the other, who is cautious. The first persists. The other responds. Gradually they become friends.

Pact says: So bountiful it feels as if it's spilling off the pages, energetic illustrations create mirrors to see ourselves in and windows to see others. Friendship across differences is supported.

you-hear-me.jpg You Hear Me? Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys
edited by Betsy Franco                 

Through these mostly free-verse lines, the hopes, dreams, fears, and desires of young men from different cultures and  races shine through. They pull no punches with their words in these openly honest, raw, and sometimes tender selections. They talk about what youâ019d expect-drugs, girls, AIDS, sex, parents-sometimes in unexpected ways.

Pact says: The poetry is fresh and gives the reader insight into what todayâ019s youths have to say, and itâ019s refreshing that the words came straight from them. Teens will recognize themselves in the words.

Young People's HistoryVII webstore.jpg Young People's History of the United States, A
by Howard Zinn, adapted by Rebecca Stefoff

Includes Volume II: Class Struggle to the War on Terrorism

History told from the viewpoints of slaves, workers, immigrants, women, and Native Americans with color images, a glossary, and primary sources. Begins with a look at Christopher Columbus' arrival through the eyes of the Arawak Indians and leads the reader through the strikes and rebellions of the industrial age.

Pact says: While the title is not catchy the information is an important counterpoint to the information too often presented in school textbooks, particularly for people of color.

Yum, Yum, Dim Sum
by Amy Wilson Sanger

This board book is fun, a charming introduction to dim sum, and even a little bit educational for adults. The rhymes are simple and catchy, and the illustrations (with pictures made from scraps of fabric) are intriguing.

Pact says: A winner.

Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs: #1 The Burried Bones Mystery
By Sharon M. Draper

When Ziggy gets the word that the trip to Camp Caesar is on, he can't wait to tell his friends, the Black Dinosaurs. But the four pals couldn't know what excitement awaited them. In this third adventure, the boys learn a lot about American, Native American, and African-American history.

Pact says: Great books about a group of four boys who just happen to be African American, good friends and prone to adventures and mystery. Great reads that will especially inspire young boys. These books are fun but also teach history and pride rooted in the African American community.

Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs: #3 Shadows of Ceasar's Creek
By Sharon M. Draper

The four pals couldn't know what excitement awaited them on their trip to Camp Ceasar. In this third adventure, the boys learn a lot about American, Native American, and African-American history.

Pact says: Great books about a group of four boys who just happen to be African American, good friends and prone to adventures and mystery. Great reads that will especially inspire young boys. These books are fun but also teach history and pride rooted in the African American community.

Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs: #4 The Space Mission Adventure
By Sharon M. Draper

The lure of space travel, aliens and astronauts launches the boys on another wonderful adventure that will capture the imagination of all who have imagined traveling in outer space.

Pact says: Great books about a group of four boys who just happen to be African American, good friends and prone to adventures and mystery. Great reads that will especially inspire young boys. These books are fun but also teach history and pride rooted in the African American community.

Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs: #5 The Backyard Animal Show
By Sharon M. Draper

The Dinosaurs stage a neighborhood animal show to raise money for the local wildlife rescue center to try to do their part to help the animals keep their habitat safe.

Pact says: Great books about a group of four boys who just happen to be African American, good friends and prone to adventures and mystery. Great reads that will especially inspire young boys. These books are fun but also teach history and pride rooted in the African American community.

Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs: #6 Stars and Sparks on Stage
By Sharon M. Draper

The boys participate in a school talent show hoping to win the prize so they can fix up their clubhouse until they meet a girl who probably needs the money more than they do.

Pact says: Great books about a group of four boys who just happen to be African American, good friends and prone to adventures and mystery. Great reads that will especially inspire young boys. These books are fun but also teach history and pride rooted in the African American community.

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