The most recommended books about foster care

Who picked these books? Meet our 62 experts.

62 authors created a book list connected to foster care, and here are their favorite foster care books.
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Book cover of Beautiful Demons

Autumn Stevens Author Of Faelaw

From my list on fantasy starters that bring out the heroine in you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t lay claim to expertise in the fantasy genre, but I am passionate about it! My best friend introduced me to fantasy a few years ago, and my life has never been the same. As a nerdy kid, I read high-brow books like Wuthering Heights and War & Peace, but it wasn’t until I started reading, writing, and watching fantasy stories like LOTR that my imagination really ignited. I’m a woman with picky tastes, so finding a good story that I can relate to is an ongoing and satisfying quest. Most importantly, if I can make even one person’s day brighter with my own writing, it’s all worth it.

Autumn's book list on fantasy starters that bring out the heroine in you

Autumn Stevens Why did Autumn love this book?

This story starts with Harper getting kicked out of a foster home before being sent off to the spooky Shadowford Home for Girls in the fictional town of Peachville, Georgia. Things go from bad to worse when a local cheerleader is found dead, and Harper gets sucked into a small-town mystery.

The book reads like a paranormal detective story, with a touch of romance. Harper is no P.I., but she is magic, and the twin mysteries of her origins and the town’s history dovetail nicely as the story progresses.

I particularly sympathized with the heroine’s plight as an outsider at a new school, something I’ve experienced many a time myself. The good thing about it is, it makes for some moving storytelling.

By Sarra Cannon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beautiful Demons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Harper Madison isn't like other girls. She has extraordinary powers, but her inability to control them has gotten her kicked from so many foster homes she's lost count. Shadowford Home for Girls is her last chance, and she hopes Peachville High will be the fresh start she needs.

At first, life appears to be looking up for Harper. She's making new friends and is strangely drawn to the guy next door. But when evidence ties her to the gruesome murder of a Demons cheerleader, Harper discovers this small town has a big secret.

Beautiful Demons is a fast-paced YA novel…


Book cover of Finding Fish: A Memoir

Jonathan T. Jefferson Author Of Mugamore: Succeeding without Labels - Lessons for Educators

From my list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first twenty-five years of my life appeared to be atypical for an inner-city African American boy from a large family. Only a small number of children were bused to more “academically advanced” schools. I earned that honor by frequently running away from the local school. Overcoming the challenges of being a minority in a demanding, predominantly Jewish, school district eventually benefited me greatly. In the early 1970s, my parents did something unprecedented for a working-class African American family from Queens: They bought an old, dilapidated farmhouse in Upstate New York's dairy country as a summer home. What other unusual life experiences that impact people of color have taken place on the American tapestry? 

Jonathan's book list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies

Jonathan T. Jefferson Why did Jonathan love this book?

Without deliberately seeking to preach or teach, this book educates its readers about the depths of the struggles faced by children raised in the absence of loving adults. Coping mechanisms and resilience led Antwone Fisher to acquire his dreams. Unfortunately, many who have been in a foster care system never find themselves.  

By Antwone Q. Fisher, Mim E. Rivas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finding Fish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Baby Boy Fisher was raised in institutions from the moment of his birth in prison to a single mother. He ultimately came to live with a foster family, where he endured near-constant verbal and physical abuse. In his mid-teens he escaped and enlisted in the navy, where he became a man of the world, raised by the family he created for himself.

Finding Fish shows how, out of this unlikely mix of deprivation and hope, an artist was born -- first as the child who painted the feelings his words dared not speak, then as a poet and storyteller who…


Book cover of Delicate Scars

Sai Marie Johnson Author Of Simply Scarlet: A Sensual Tale of Lust and Love

From my list on steamy books with a bite.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for this type of writing because I am talented at it and I feel that illustrious and sensuous writing with an erotic flair is something very under-sung and often stigmatized. It has been more accepted since the Fifty Shades of Grey trend, but I feel there are so many authors who have yet to achieve the recognition they deserve for their efforts in this artistic and intriguing genre!

Sai's book list on steamy books with a bite

Sai Marie Johnson Why did Sai love this book?

I like to read books that I can relate to and I was a foster child; sexually, spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally abused and as a result was the victim of many narcissists. It was my desire to overcome those patterns that drove me to read books like Delicate Scars and because I feel I have been the person who was delicate and gained scars to become stronger – this is why I chose to read and fell in love with this book.

By Alta Hensley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Delicate Scars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

USA Today Bestselling Book.

I was going to ruin her. 

I knew it the moment I laid eyes on her. She was too naive, too innocent. 

I would wrap her in the darkness of my world till she no longer craved the light... only me. 

I should walk away, leave her clean and untouched... but I won't. 

I hold her delicate heart in my scarred fist and I have no intention of letting go.

***

It all started with a book... doesn't that sound crazy?

For your entire world to come crashing down around you over research for a book?…


Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

By Leslie Tall Manning,

Book cover of Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

Leslie Tall Manning Author Of Maggie's Dream

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Mentor Laugher Research nut Avid reader

Leslie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Winner of the Literary Titan Book Award

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family’s happiness.

But Marilyn’s quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by…

Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

By Leslie Tall Manning,

What is this book about?

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family's happiness.

But Marilyn's quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by the courts as the new guardian. Caleb…


Book cover of Reuben’s Story: From Birth to Adoption

Holly Marlow Author Of Delly Duck: Why A Little Chick Couldn't Stay With His Birth Mother

From my list on helping adoptive parents be better parents.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an adoptive parent and I often use stories to help my children to understand and process emotive topics. While we were going through the adoption process, I couldn’t find any stories that adequately explained why some children can’t stay with their birth families, so I decided to create my own! I found the waiting during the adoption process quite unbearable and put every spare minute to good use, reading books by adoptees and birth parents, so that I could understand the experiences of the people affected most by adoption. These autobiographies were a tough, emotional read at times, but they all changed me for the better. 

Holly's book list on helping adoptive parents be better parents

Holly Marlow Why did Holly love this book?

After his adoption was finalised, 8-year-old Cai asked his mother to help him create a story to share with his friends, to explain his story, and together they used his words to create Reuben’s Story. The short, powerful story is written in “Reuben’s” voice, discussing the events that led to him being in foster care, then adopted. He talks in a matter-of-fact way, as 8-year-olds do, about things that 8-year-olds should never experience, and about his life after adoption. I initially bought this for my children, but read it myself first and found it incredibly moving. I recommend that all adoptive parents read it, especially those who adopted older children. 

By Joanna Clifton, Cai Clifton (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reuben’s Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reuben is adopted when he is old enough to remember his time with his birth family, various foster care placements, and the transition to his adoptive family, after meeting his adoptive parent, Taylor, at an activity day. Reuben's account is written in his own voice, which makes the story engaging and accessible to young readers.

This book is based on a true story of a boy's journey from birth, through foster care, to adoption, as an older child. It can be used to help older adopted children with life story work, where the events can be related to and compared…


Book cover of The Sand Dancer

C. Becker Author Of Saving Euphoria

From my list on that have a connection with trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a B.S. degree in Medical Technology and connect my stories with science. The more I began researching problematic issues in our society for the subject matter of my trilogy, the more I began to empathize with the different kinds of suffering that people endure. I’ve incorporated traumas in all of my Euphoria trilogy stories, from illicit drugs, illnesses, loss, burns, skin regeneration, and human trafficking. Societal awareness is my passion; presenting issues to people who don’t realize these problems are as widespread as they actually are. 

C.'s book list on that have a connection with trauma

C. Becker Why did C. love this book?

I found the novel The Sand Dancer a compelling mystery. I felt sorry for Carrie, the main character, who lost her parents when she was two years old. As I read about Carrie’s troubling life, bouncing from one foster family to another until she turned eighteen, I wanted her to find some answers to her past to have that closure and move on with her future. The suspense in this story is quite a page-turner. She showed that she was a strong woman and quick thinker.

By Lydia Emma Niebuhr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sand Dancer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two-year-old Carrie Morton was found alone in a cabin behind the man the county sheriff had just shot to death. Although a game warden reported seeing a woman at the cabin, the woman was never found. The woman's identity and disappearance remained the subject of rumors that followed Carrie as she moved through a series of foster homes on her way to adulthood.

After Carrie left her last foster home, she remained in Sanstone, living a life without close ties to anyone. Her treasured moments were on a small section of the beach where she could be alone and escape…


Book cover of Unlikely Match: A Transplant Romance

Alana Oxford Author Of Scotsman in the Stacks

From my list on romances with G to PG rated love scenes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to tell people that I found my passion in life and it's books. I write them, read them, review them and I’ve been a librarian for 17 years. (I’ve worked in libraries for longer than that. Over 25 years!) It’s been dark times recently and romance has become my happy place. I’m a sucker for romances with pretty covers, quirky characters, and not so much of the on-page spice. If there’s some travel involved, even better!

Alana's book list on romances with G to PG rated love scenes

Alana Oxford Why did Alana love this book?

This book blew me away. I have never read a book like this, let alone a romance. The female main character suffers from a rare liver disease that requires a donor for her survival. Sounds pretty grim, right? Well, the prognosis is dire but the story is charming, heartwarming, and ultimately up-lifting. I enjoyed the perspective of a main character hoping for a donor in addition to the unfolding love story. (There’s also an amazing bestie relationship to make you swoon.) Plus, the cover is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a work of art all the way around. 

By Laura Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unlikely Match as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Could the man I hate be the perfect match I need?

I’m Jules Kelly, a certified bohemian boss babe, whose hip tech company just won subsidized office space in the coolest co-working space in town. From a distance I seem poised to take over the world (or at least the travel industry), and I would be if it weren’t for two big complications:

1. A rare and seriously inconvenient disease is tanking my health by the day, and my only hope for a cure—a transplant—is moving further from my grasp.

2. A soulless database company is sharing my new office…


Book cover of A Family Is a Family Is a Family

Jessica Sinarski Author Of Riley the Brave Makes It to School: A Story with Tips and Tricks for Tough Transitions

From my list on back to school.

Why am I passionate about this?

My super-power is making brain science accessible and entertaining for children and adults alike. I am living this out as an author, mental health counselor, and the founder of BraveBrains. In addition to training parents and professionals, I have the joy of sharing my passion and expertise through podcast appearances, blogs, and articles. The lightbulb moments are my favorite, and I'm committed to helping people bring what they learn back home in practical ways. I write picture books because the magic of reading and re-reading stories light up the brain in a powerful way. But don’t worry…I always include some goodies for the adults in the back of the book.

Jessica's book list on back to school

Jessica Sinarski Why did Jessica love this book?

Many kids secretly fear the questions that come up at the beginning of the school year about their family. If you are living in foster care or have been going through something difficult in your home life, talking about family can be challenging. This playfully illustrated story helps create a safe space for all different kinds of families. Great for reading at home with your child or with the whole class to nurture a welcoming environment.

By Sara O’Leary, Qin Leng (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Family Is a Family Is a Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways but the same in the one way that matters most of all.

One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of stepsiblings, and another has a new baby.

As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them family…


Book cover of Orphan Train

Victoria Arendt Author Of Broken Pencils

From my list on historical fiction set in the 1930s and 1940s.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most people, the carefree days of childhood are brought to a halt with the passage of time and the death of loved ones. As a wistful, dreamy, and introspective person, I wished to revisit the past, if only for a moment, to see what my grandparents experienced in their earlier lives. Currently, I’m under the spell of the 1930s and 1940s, and historical fiction books are an engaging way to learn about these marvelous decades.  

Victoria's book list on historical fiction set in the 1930s and 1940s

Victoria Arendt Why did Victoria love this book?

The Orphan Train is a novel about forgotten and neglected children left to fend for themselves in an antiquated welfare program. The story weaves memories of an old woman with the naiveté of a present-day teenager teaching the reader that everything is not as it appears.

Christina Baker Kline breathes life into a horrible moment of American history making us rip the bandage off, look at our past and see the unexpected silver lining.

By Christina Baker Kline,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Orphan Train as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times Bestseller

“A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of America’s history. Beautiful.”—Ann Packer

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, and unexpected friendship.

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they…


Book cover of Smoke Signals

Don Dupay Author Of Behind the Badge in River City: A Portland Police Memoir

From my list on getting people thinking about the bigger picture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a longtime writer and author, who basically learned the craft of writing from over 17 years with the Portland Police Bureau. Some of the best writers are working and retired police officers because, when you write those daily reports or detailed investigative reports, you learn how to write. I've written six books, two of which have been published by Oregon Greystone Press, the Indie Publishing company operated by my wife, Theresa. I graduated from Portland State University in 2017 and was listed in the commencement program as “the oldest PSU graduate” of that year. I was 80. I live in Portland with my wife, Theresa, also a writer and author. 

Don's book list on getting people thinking about the bigger picture

Don Dupay Why did Don love this book?

This is a book that shares intimate glimpses into the lives of a handful of Native Americans living on an Indian Reservation in the late 20th century. The book is full of humor, irony, and wit and was later made into a popular film. There are moments that are amusing and funny, but loneliness and a sense of apathy make their way into the storyline as well, as Victor, the lead character, tries to navigate the unpredictable family life he finds himself in. As a small boy he witnesses the damaging effects of alcoholism and what it does to his father and other family members, much like Sherman Alexie did himself. Victor is deeply resentful of his father’s abandonment when he was a child, and resents his friend Thomas for admiring his father for things like eating 15 pieces of fry bread in one sitting.

Victor struggles to find his…

By Sherman Alexie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Smoke Signals 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?

Book by Alexie, Sherman


Book cover of Spells for Lost Things

Cathleen Barnhart Author Of That's What Friends Do

From Cathleen's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Crossfitter Traveler Reader Cat whisperer

Cathleen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Cathleen Barnhart Why did Cathleen love this book?

I bought this book because I’m a huge fan of Jenna Evans Welch, having devoured her Love & series.

I fell in love immediately with the two main characters, Willow and Mason. I adore stories told from two points of view (which is why I wrote one), and the two characters’ voices and stories are so different from each other and so compelling that I was completely hooked.

Mason’s story is a hard one: he’s in foster care because of his mom’s addiction, and all he wants to do is find her and be with her. As a reader, I could see what a terrible idea this was, but Mason, of course, can’t. The slowly unfolding relationship between Willow and Mason is also beautifully rendered and so sweet.

By Jenna Evans Welch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spells for Lost Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Love & Gelato comes a poignant and “beguiling” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) novel about two teens trying to find their place in the world after being unceremoniously dragged to Salem, Massachusetts, for the summer.

Willow has never felt like she belonged anywhere and is convinced that the only way to find a true home is to travel the world. But her plans to act on her dream are put on hold when her aloof and often absent mother drags Willow to Salem, Massachusetts, to wrap up the affairs of an aunt Willow…