The best books with adoption feels

Who am I?

I went into foster care at nine months old, was adopted three years later, and as an adult I was reunited with five siblings I never knew I had. I’ve spent my whole life wondering or searching for the truths about my past. 

I wrote...

The Name She Gave Me

By Betty Culley,

Book cover of The Name She Gave Me

What is my book about?

Rynn was born with a hole in her heart—literally. Although it was fixed long ago, she still feels an emptiness there when she wonders about her birth family. As her relationship with her adoptive mother fractures, Rynn finally decides she needs to know more about the rest of her family. Her search starts with a name, the only thing she has from her birth mother, and she quickly learns that she has a younger sister living in foster care in a nearby town. But if Rynn reconnects with her biological sister, it may drive her adoptive family apart for good.

This powerful story uncovers both beautiful and heartbreaking truths and explores how challenging, yet healing, family can be.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Klara and the Sun

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Book cover of Klara and the Sun

Why this book?

This book is not one you’d associate with the subject of adoption, but it caught my adopted heart right from the beginning. It opens with Klara, an ‘artificial friend’ waiting in a store and hoping that someone will choose her to go home with them. There turns out to be a certain girl she hopes will choose her to join her family. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking book that takes place in a futuristic setting, but touches on so many universal truths about love and belonging. 

American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption

By Gabrielle Glaser,

Book cover of American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption

Why this book?

The dedication of this non-fiction book says, " all families separated by a culture of secrecy.” The book flap says, “Gabrielle Glaser breaks the secrecy that surrounded a lucrative network of adoption agencies, doctors, and social scientists.” One reason I knew I had to read this book was that it talked about Louise Wise Agency, the adoption agency I was adopted through. They are now closed, but their practices have since come under scrutiny. Because of their methods, I was told lies that I lived with for most of my childhood and was kept from reuniting with my siblings when they first started searching for me.

For Black Girls Like Me

By Mariama J. Lockington,

Book cover of For Black Girls Like Me

Why this book?

This novel is about eleven-year-old Makeda, who is adopted and Black and her parents and big sister are White. Keda is a great character and I loved this coming of age story that touches on family and identity. Also, the writer is an adoptee and I’m always looking for more adoption stories written by adoptees.


By Kaela Noel,

Book cover of Coo

Why this book?

This is a beautiful and charming middle grade novel about a girl who is raised by a flock of pigeons in the city. Coo is a magical book and it has a special place in my heart. As an adoptee, I often felt out of place and puzzled by the world. I wondered where I had come from, and how I’d ended up where I was. I related to Coo’s journey into the world of people and her love for her flock. 

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

By Mary E. Pearson,

Book cover of The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Why this book?

Jenna Fox wakes from a year-long coma after a terrible accident and tries to figure out who she is now. This is a book with futuristic medicine and technology, but the feelings and emotions are universal. Jenna’s struggle to find out the truth about her past, and her place in the present make this one of my very favorite books, which I’ve read and reread many times.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in robots, adoption, and identity?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about robots, adoption, and identity.

Robots Explore 56 books about robots
Adoption Explore 15 books about adoption
Identity Explore 69 books about identity

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like See No Color, Stitching Snow, and The Search for Wondla, 1 if you like this list.