The best books with adoption feels

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Klara and the Sun

Betty Culley Why did I love 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. 

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Klara and the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The #1 Sunday Times Bestseller*
*Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021*
*A Barack Obama Summer Reading Pick*

'A delicate, haunting story' The Washington Post
'This is a novel for fans of Never Let Me Go . . . tender, touching and true.' The Times

'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges…


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

Betty Culley Why did I love this book?

The dedication of this non-fiction book says, "...to 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.

By Gabrielle Glaser,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked American Baby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book

The shocking truth about postwar adoption in America, told through the bittersweet story of one teenager, the son she was forced to relinquish, and their search to find each other.

During the Baby Boom in 1960s America, women were encouraged to stay home and raise large families, but sex and childbirth were taboo subjects. Premarital sex was common, but birth control was hard to get and abortion was illegal. In 1961, sixteen-year-old Margaret Erle fell in love and became pregnant. Her enraged family sent her to a maternity home, and after she gave birth,…


Book cover of For Black Girls Like Me

Betty Culley Why did I love 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 Mariama J. Lockington,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked For Black Girls Like Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda's family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena - the only other adopted black girl she knows - for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda's sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can't seem to find one real friend.

Through it all, Makeda can't help but wonder: What would it…


Book cover of Coo

Betty Culley Why did I love 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. 

By Kaela Noel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Coo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

“An unforgettable story of friendship, love, and finding your flock.” —Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Medal-winning author of Hello, Universe

In this exceptional debut, one young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart. Gorgeous and literary, this is an unforgettable animal story about friendship, family, home, and belonging. For readers who love books by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.

Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in…


Book cover of The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Betty Culley Why did I love 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.

By Mary E. Pearson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Adoration of Jenna Fox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters…


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Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade

By Kimberly Behre Kenna,

Book cover of Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade

Kimberly Behre Kenna Author Of Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

From early childhood, I escaped into nature when times got tough—climbing trees, exploring the woods, and chatting with beach creatures. When I had to be indoors, books were my escape, and most of my favorites had rich nature settings that were so well-drawn that I could see them and feel like I was actually there. Following strong protagonists as they deal with life challenges by interacting with nature was an affirmation for me and still is. As a parent and former fifth-grade teacher, I’ve witnessed the power that books have to lessen loneliness and inspire hope and activism. 

Kimberly's book list on middle grade kids and nature mingle

What is my book about?

Artemis Sparke has had it with humans. She heads to the nearby salt marsh to hang out with the birds, plants, and mollusks who don't make a big deal of her stutter. The shoreline sanctuary is predictable, unlike her family and friends, and the data in her science journal proves it.

But one day that data goes haywire, and her bird friend RT confirms it: the salt marsh is dying. Artemis discovers that the historic hotel where she lives with her mom may be part of the problem, but speaking up would mean confronting the cranky hotel owner who happens…

Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade

By Kimberly Behre Kenna,

What is this book about?

"...Artemis Sparke is pure energy! ...Kenna's well-crafted debut is a timely gift." -Leslie Connor, National Book Award finalist and author of The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle and Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?

When Artemis Sparke has had it with humans, she heads to the nearby salt marsh to hang out with the birds, plants, and mollusks who don't make a big deal of her stutter. The shoreline sanctuary is predictable, unlike her family and friends, and the data in her science journal proves it. But one day that data goes haywire, and her bird friend RT confirms it: the…


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