Books For Preschool About Adoption, Race, and Family

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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. .

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

WhereDoI.jpg Where Do I Belong?
by Ola Zuri

A story of a Transracially adopted child who is the only black person in the family and feels sad and lonely. The child tries to feel good about themselves and make good choices. The goal is to encourage children to love themselves first and remember that God loves them, even if they don't feel comfortable in their family.

Pact says: This book is written to children who feel like they don't fit and to parents of transracial adoptees to give them insight into their child's experience. Some children may not relate to the story but it can still be used as a conversation starter.

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.

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.

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