The best books about foster care

Who picked these books? Meet our 48 experts.

48 authors created a book list connected to foster care, and here are their favorite foster care books.
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What type of foster care book?



By Maryann Jordan,

Book cover of Zander

Marysol James Author Of Enemy Within

From the list on first books of great romance series.

Who am I?

I’m the best-selling romance author of 29 books which span six series. I love creating whole worlds for readers to enter and spend time with smoking-hot bodyguards, motorcycle club members, ex-military bad boys, sexy cowboys, and MMA fighters. Although I love pretty much everything about writing for a living, I do get special joy from having characters from one series wander into a different series and interact with a totally different group of people – keeping track of all the relationships definitely keeps me on my toes! I have three new books coming out this year, so I’m really looking forward to sharing some new stories with my wonderful readers.

Marysol's book list on first books of great romance series

Discover why each book is one of Marysol's favorite books.

Why did Marysol love this book?

I always find it ironic (and amusing) when critics sneer that romance writing is formulaic, emotionally shallow, and focused on sex only. Thankfully, Jordan shows them how it’s done right: in every one of her 10+ series, she writes with gut-wrenching emotional depth and her characters are complex, imperfect human beings. Zander introduces us to a group of eight men raised together in a single foster home and who now consider each other brothers. Rough around the edges and on different life paths as adults, they’re all gallant heroes at heart. Zander is the gruffest, least-affable of the brothers, a man who seems unlikely to own up to a mistake or show emotion… but Jordan brings him to life in ways that are simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking.

By Maryann Jordan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Zander. Serious to a fault, he had no time for anything other than focusing on running his bar, Grimm’s. Until he saw her… and pushed her away… right into danger.Racked with guilt over what happened, he could not stay away from her hospital room. Hoping Sleeping Beauty could hear him and know that he was near.What started as guilt, became so much more. But, when Rosalie awoke, would she remember the night he pushed her away? Or just remember the man who rescued her?A Heroes at Heart novel. These men, raised in the loving foster home by the benevolent Miss…

One for the Murphys

By Lynda Mullaly Hunt,

Book cover of One for the Murphys

Maria Kiely Author Of Which Way Is Home?

From the list on highlight the importance of trust and friendship.

Who am I?

An act of kindness from a stranger when you’re having a bad day can totally change your mindset, it can even change your life. I believe there are few things more important than trust, friendship, and making genuine human connections. Those are some of the main themes of my novel Which Way is Home? and themes that appear in each of the books on my list. You never know when someone is going to come into your life and change it for the better. I always want to be open to those experiences in my life and reflect them in my writing. Reading these books has only reinforced that desire.

Maria's book list on highlight the importance of trust and friendship

Discover why each book is one of Maria's favorite books.

Why did Maria love this book?

Lynda Mallaly Hunt is one of my favorite Middle-Grade authors. She is a fantastic storyteller. She creates authentic and relatable characters, and I would recommend all of her books, but One for the Murphys is the one that best fits the theme of this list. I connected deeply with Carely’s struggles with missing her mom but feeling betrayed by her and mistrusting the seeming perfection of her foster family and yet desperately wanting to belong in their world. This book is a powerful look at what it means to be a family of any kind. 

By Lynda Mullaly Hunt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One for the Murphys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving debut novel about a foster child learning to open her heart to a family's love

Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she's blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong--until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live.…

Orbiting Jupiter

By Gary D. Schmidt,

Book cover of Orbiting Jupiter

Amber J. Keyser Author Of The Way Back from Broken

From the list on when you’re grieving and need more than platitudes.

Who am I?

When I sold the manuscript that became The Way Back from Broken, my editor asked why I wrote it. I said, “I wrote a book about the two things I’m an expert in: grief and canoeing.” It took me ten years to find my own way back from being broken after the death of my daughter. Along that difficult and heartbreaking trail, I came to loathe people who said things like “Time heals all wounds” or “It was meant to be.” I craved those brave few who spoke and wrote with deep authenticity about how grief and loss force us to reconsider everything we’ve ever known about the world. 

Amber's book list on when you’re grieving and need more than platitudes

Discover why each book is one of Amber's favorite books.

Why did Amber love this book?

This young adult novel is a love song from a teenage father to the child he’s never met. He yearns toward her. He wrestles with the consequences of his past decisions. He wants a future that he can never have. I can’t tell you how much I saw myself, a middle-aged mom, in delinquent protagonist Jack. This book is real and visceral and doesn’t pull any punches, but the most important thing it does is remind us that the twin of grief is love. 

By Gary D. Schmidt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal.
A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don't want to.
What's more, Joseph has a daughter he's never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby - no matter the cost.

Book cover of Lullabies for Little Criminals

Morag Joss Author Of Our Picnics in the Sun: A Novel

From the list on the poignant and complex lives of children.

Who am I?

I wondered, seven novels in, why I’d never written in the voice of a child, and it so happened that Our Picnics in the Sun, the eighth novel, required me to do just that. In doing my research I discovered an oddity. Writers of fiction assume the right to enter the head or consciousness or identity of their characters. The oddity is that you might expect a writer to write, without too much difficulty, from the point of view of a child: after all, the writer has been a child. But it turns out that childhood experience is often elusive, evades interpretation, and is the hardest to capture on the page.

Morag's book list on the poignant and complex lives of children

Discover why each book is one of Morag's favorite books.

Why did Morag love this book?

O’Neill shoved me right into the real world of her novel, as intended. The narrator ‘Baby’ (could there be a more ironically named protagonist?) is the 12-year-old daughter of a heroin-addicted father, a single parent. The story revolves around Baby’s adolescence amid her neglect and its repercussions, her descent into criminality. My heart just beat alongside Baby’s. Your heart would have to be of granite not to beat alongside Baby’s. This is what fiction does. 

By Heather O'Neill,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lullabies for Little Criminals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Baby is twelve years old. Her mother died not long after she was born and she lives in a string of seedy flats in Montreal's red light district with her father Jules, who takes better care of his heroin addiction than he does of his daughter. Jules is an intermittent presence and a constant source of chaos in Baby's life - the turmoil he brings with him and the wreckage he leaves in his wake. Baby finds herself constantly re-adjusting to new situations, new foster homes, new places, new people, all the while longing for stability and a 'normal' life.…

Delicate Scars

By Alta Hensley,

Book cover of Delicate Scars

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

From the list on steamy books with a bite.

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Sai's favorite books.

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?…

A Family Is a Family Is a Family

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

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 the list on back to school.

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Jessica's favorite books.

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.

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…

The Sand Dancer

By Lydia Emma Niebuhr,

Book cover of The Sand Dancer

C. Becker Author Of Saving Euphoria

From the list on that have a connection with trauma.

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of C.'s favorite books.

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…


By Tracy Clark,

Book cover of Runner

Dana Cameron Author Of Exit Interview

From the list on badass women in history and fiction.

Who am I?

My first career in archaeology fed my love of history and cultures, giving me insight into human motivations. As a writer, I also love a good action scene, and I began taking mixed martial arts when I was writing the Emma Fielding archaeology mysteries and then the “Fangborn” urban fantasy novels. I soon realized I wanted to write a thriller with female characters who were badass—tough and smart—women I’d want to have at my back in a fight. I found them when I wrote Exit Interview. I love a book where a woman takes charge to change things, whether it's in her community or more globally.

Dana's book list on badass women in history and fiction

Discover why each book is one of Dana's favorite books.

Why did Dana love this book?

Cass Raines was once a cop, and now is a private investigator. She understands all too well that life is harsh and circumstances can change in an instant, especially in the criminal realms of modern-day Chicago. Smart, savvy, and tenacious, Cass is slow to trust but when she trusts you, you are her people. Dealing with dirty cops, kidnappers, and murderers, Cass walks the fine line between knowing her limits and pushing them to their utmost. Writer Tracy Clark hits every beat and then some, with a unique voice that never plays coy or saccharine, taking a realistic look at the subject of missing children and foster care.

By Tracy Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Exceptional…The action builds to an exciting showdown. Those who like their crime novels with a social conscience will be amply rewarded.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

Former homicide cop turned private investigator Cass Raines gets the job done in this page-turning Chicago-set novel from award-winning author Tracy Clark. For mystery/suspense fans as well as fans of Laura Lippman.
Chicago in the dead of winter can be brutal, especially when you’re scouring the frigid streets for a missing girl. Fifteen-year-old Ramona Titus has run away from her foster home. Her biological mother, Leesa Evans, is a recovering addict who admits she failed…

Small Mercies

By Bridget Krone, Karen Vermeulen (illustrator),

Book cover of Small Mercies

Janelle Diller Author Of Mystery of the Thief in the Night: Mexico 1

From the list on with diverse and spunky characters.

Who am I?

My dad was an adventure traveler, so I floated down the Amazon, rode chicken busses in rural Guatemala, and stepped on the Russian Steppes before I ever saw Big Ben. All that adventure as a kid engendered an insatiable curiosity about the amazing diversity of people and cultures in this world. Sadly, when I was growing up, most children’s books didn’t reflect this diversity. Not only should all children be able to see themselves on the pages of the books they read, it’s equally important that kids see children who aren’t just like they are. Consequently, adding cultural and ethnic diversity into kids' lit has become a passion for me. 

Janelle's book list on with diverse and spunky characters

Discover why each book is one of Janelle's favorite books.

Why did Janelle love this book?

Mercy stole my heart from the very first page. Although more accurately, it’s Mercy’s eccentric foster aunts who did the initial stealing. Their quirky excuse notes—one says Mercy has “the collywobbles,” another that she can’t participate in inter-house cross-country because she “has a bone in her leg”—is just a taste of the humor to come. The story in this gem from South Africa is complex and surprisingly powerful with its focus on Gandhi’s response to discrimination as he traveled through South Africa and how he lived the Sanskrit word satyagraha, which means truth and polite insistence. I was fascinated by South Africa’s complicated ethnic diversity, not unlike America’s complicated diversity, which made the message of satyagraha even more potent for me. 

By Bridget Krone, Karen Vermeulen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Named a Best Middle-Grade Book of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews
2021 Outstanding International Books List, United States Board on Books for Young People
Mercy lives in modern-day Pietermaritzburg, South Africa with her eccentric foster aunts-two elderly sisters so poor, they can only afford one lightbulb. A nasty housing developer is eying their house. And that same house suddenly starts falling apart-just as Aunt Flora starts falling apart. She's forgetting words, names, and even how to behave in public. Mercy tries to keep her head down at school so nobody notices her. But when a classmate frames her for stealing the…

Book cover of The Boy at the Back of the Class

Lisa Thompson Author Of The Light Jar

From the list on that make you feel things.

Who am I?

My biggest aim as a writer is for my reader to feel something. It could be on a page where they are fighting back the tears or at the end of a chapter where they are gasping at an unexpected plot twist. I think we can sometimes forget how powerful children’s books can be – yes, they can make you cry, laugh, gasp and feel scared! Here are some of my favorites that will make you have all the feelings.

Lisa's book list on that make you feel things

Discover why each book is one of Lisa's favorite books.

Why did Lisa love this book?

Nine-year-old Ahmet, a Syrian refugee, has arrived in Mrs. Khan’s classroom after fleeing the horrors of war. One of the things that is so striking about this book is how the children in the story have far more understanding than most adults. It is both funny and heartfelt and is a masterclass in teaching empathy – for the young and the old.

By Onjali Q. Raúf,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Boy at the Back of the Class as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A World Book Day 2020 Author


Told with heart and humour, The Boy at the Back of the Class is a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense.

There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it.

He's nine years old (just like me), but he's very strange. He…

Finding Fish

By Antwone Q. Fisher, Mim E. Rivas,

Book cover of Finding Fish: A Memoir

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

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Jonathan's favorite books.

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…

Are You My New Mum?

By Astrid Peerson,

Book cover of Are You My New Mum?

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

From the list on helping adoptive parents be better parents.

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Holly's favorite books.

Why did Holly love this book?

I found this short, emotional story impossible to put down. I read it in one sitting, spent the next few days thinking about it, then read it again. Astrid talks about her childhood, including the events that led to her being taken into foster care, and her fear and confusion when this happened. Astrid talks about her experiences of sibling contact in foster care and after adoption, which I found really interesting. Adoptive parents should read this, to help understand how their children may feel if they have siblings placed elsewhere.

By Astrid Peerson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Are You My New Mum? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are you my new mum? Tells of the harrowing true story of the Peerson siblings. You'll read the disturbing words written by Astrid, of the abuse herself, and her siblings endured on a daily basis.

Unloved, abused, and neglected by their biological parents.

Astrid's father, an evil, narcissistic, pedophile, who abused his position as the head of of the household.
Astrid's mother, who sat back and allowed the abuse to go on, for many years, even sometimes joining in.

Astrid tells her story from childhood abuse, being taken to a children's home, being in a few foster homes, finding a…

Jason's Why

By Beth Goobie,

Book cover of Jason's Why

Beverley Brenna Author Of Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life

From the list on kids living here and now.

Who am I?

I love middle-grade stories that touch the mind, the heart, and the funny bone. These books are filled with possibilities and hope—they give me courage for the future. I have three grown sons who have inspired much of my thinking about children and childhood, and I keep close to me all of the children I worked with as a teacher, hoping they might finally see themselves and the world they know in the pages of what their children read. I’m grateful to other writers who inspire me to read, and to write, creating the best stories we can for kids living now, today, in the world we have (and imagining the world we want to see). 

Beverley's book list on kids living here and now

Discover why each book is one of Beverley's favorite books.

Why did Beverley love this book?

At last, a book about a kid whose anger is just as big as the anger of many kids I know, and whose transition into parent-requested foster care isn’t easy—but gets easier. Jason and his family are in trouble, and this straightforward novel opens a door that readers don’t often walk through, unless we’re opening that door in real life. This novel reflects real-life situations in a direct and caring story about what happens next. 

By Beth Goobie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jason's Why as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2014 Silver Birch Express Award nominee

Jason's mom says he is a problem, and puts him in a group home. Now Jason has to live with boys and grown-ups he doesn't know.

Jason thinks, Now I'm in a house that isn't my house. I watch their hands and feet. When hands and feet move fast, you're going to get hit.

There's a big bubble of mad inside Jason. It makes him yell and throw things. Jason wants to be good and move home again, but the mad bubble just won't go away.

A Child Called It

By Dave Pelzer,

Book cover of A Child Called It

Nichola K. Johnson Author Of Sounds of Diamonds

From the list on real-life stories about struggles in life.

Who am I?

As a quiet and very shy child, I found myself sitting alone reading books rather than playing with other kids. My love for reading at the time was restricted to children’s books like The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe or Roald Dhal stories until I upgraded to Enid Blyton Books and Mills & Boon romances as a teen. It wasn’t until I reached my twenties when I actually found the genre I loved. It was through my love of these stories I came to realise I didn’t have to hide anymore, and my love for these stories planted a small seed in my mind that I would have the courage to write my own.

Nichola's book list on real-life stories about struggles in life

Discover why each book is one of Nichola's favorite books.

Why did Nichola love this book?

In my early twenties a friend lent me this book and said it would make me cry. I remember sitting on my bed with a bag of crisps and read half of it in one evening and the other half the next day. I was unaware child abuse existed outside of my own life and for years believed things had only happened to me, I was also unaware that you could talk about it in a book. Little Dave’s story certainly did make me cry, a lot, little did that friend know was that I had faced similar challenges as a child and related to this story on such a different level, she also didn’t realise it would begin a whole journey of my own.

By Dave Pelzer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Child Called It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tells the story of a child's abuse at the hands of his alcoholic mother.

The Great Gilly Hopkins

By Katherine Paterson,

Book cover of The Great Gilly Hopkins

Linda MacKillop Author Of Hotel Oscar Mike Echo

From the list on hard family circumstances for middle-grade readers.

Who am I?

For decades I have volunteered in different capacities, helping the hurting and those living on the margins by tutoring and teaching literacy to the formally incarcerated or homeless, teaching parenting in a maximum-security jail, and teaching ESL to resettled immigrants. Because my own suburban father fell into homelessness at the end of his life due to depression, job losses, divorce, and more, I feel tremendous compassion for anyone in this situation. And as the mother of four grown sons, we filled our home with books—especially books that taught compassion so our sons would grow into men with big hearts towards others. I believe we succeeded.

Linda's book list on hard family circumstances for middle-grade readers

Discover why each book is one of Linda's favorite books.

Why did Linda love this book?

I love anything written by Katherine Paterson. This book introduces Giladriel Hopkins (Gilly), a young girl waiting for her mom to come and rescue her from foster care.

Gilly’s horrendously disrespectful behavior is hard to take sometimes, and yet because we know her living situation, we quietly read along, offering her our sympathy. Paterson highlights a child’s ability to mentally clean up their parents and offer them undeserved trust, despite the fact they have neglected or abandoned their children.

Gilly’s plight increased my awareness about the constant pains some kids live with daily. Her longing for a mother’s love would resonate even with adults who longed for their own mother’s love.

By Katherine Paterson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Great Gilly Hopkins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The timeless Newbery Honor Book from bestselling author Katherine Paterson about a wisecracking, ornery, completely unforgettable young heroine. 

Eleven-year-old Gilly has been stuck in more foster families than she can remember, and she's hated them all. She has a reputation for being brash, brilliant, and completely unmanageable, and that's the way she likes it. So when she's sent to live with the Trotters—by far the strangest family yet—she knows it's only a temporary problem.

Gilly decides to put her sharp mind to work and get out of there fast. She's determined to no longer be a foster kid. Before long…

Orphan Train

By Christina Baker Kline,

Book cover of Orphan Train

Victoria Arendt Author Of Broken Pencils

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Victoria's favorite books.

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…

Delly Duck

By Holly Marlow, Suzy Garland (illustrator),

Book cover of Delly Duck: Why A Little Chick Couldn't Stay With His Birth Mother

Anna Anderson Author Of Survival Without Roots: Memoir of an Adopted Englishwoman

From the list on growing up adopted.

Who am I?

I am adopted. I am a birth mother and also a mother through adoption. I have lived through all ‘three faces’ of adoption and know how each ‘face’ affects millions of people's lives all over the world. I am passionate that conversations around adoption need to come out of the closet and the secrecy surrounding the subject must disappear. By writing my books, I am on a mission to support adoptees, birth mothers, and adoptive parents and help them realise they are not alone. After publication of my first book in the Survival Without Roots trilogy, I am humbled that people are reaching out to say that reading Book One has helped them so much.  

Anna's book list on growing up adopted

Discover why each book is one of Anna's favorite books.

Why did Anna love this book?

This book kickstarts a conversation around adoption at a child’s level. Whether adopted or not, the child will begin to ask questions and find out more after listening to/reading this book. Written around two characters – a duck and a goose – it is invaluable for parents, teachers, and children. Professionals working in the field of adoption will find this book a useful resource as it deals with many difficult and emotive ‘adoption’ questions through the power of a story and beautiful illustrations too.

By Holly Marlow, Suzy Garland (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This listing is for the original award-winning edition of Delly Duck, featuring one duckling. For twins/sibling groups, please click on the author's name or series title, and select the "Sibling Group Edition."

Created by Holly Marlow (adoptive and biological parent, and author of Room in the Nest, Adopting a Little Brother or Sister, So You've Adopted a Siblingand Cousins by Adoption) and her sister, Suzy Garland.

When Delly Duck lays an egg, she is excited for it to hatch. But she doesn’t really know how to keep an egg safe, or how to look after her chick when he hatches.…

Book cover of How to Date Your Brother's Best Friend

Claire Raye Author Of Complicate Me

From the list on alpha heroes with a secret soft side.

Who are we?

We have always loved to read about the bad boy with a secret soft side and when we started writing together, we decided to jump on this genre as well. Writing in dual POVs gives us an opportunity to explore how the bad boy is perceived by others as well as show exactly what the bad boy is thinking…and we love it! There's nothing better than a misunderstood alpha who hides his true feelings because he doesn’t feel worthy. And when he finds that amazing woman who just gets him…magic! We hope you enjoy our very own bad boy with a secret soft side in our book Complicate Me.

Claire and Raye's book list on alpha heroes with a secret soft side

Discover why each book is one of Claire and Raye's favorite books.

Why did Claire and Raye love this book?

We’ve always had a soft spot for a broken bad boy and this book creates an amazing example of that in Dean. A former marine who grew up in a foster home, he’s completely unaware of the secret crush his best friend’s younger sister, Holly has harbored on him for years. When circumstances allow them to explore that crush, things go from secret to oh-so hot and we were so on board for it. We loved watching Dean finally start to feel like someone saw and understood him and even when tragedy strikes, Holly never gives up on him. The final scenes were freaking adorable…there’s nothing better than a bad boy who is all in with his girl!

By Julie Kriss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Date Your Brother's Best Friend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I can’t date Dean Madden. He’s a bad boy and my older brother’s best friend. So what if I pretended he was my fake boyfriend in high school? That was a long time ago, and he never has to know. We’re both grown up now. It’s never going to happen.

Until one hot weekend when everything happens.

Now Dean has made a bet with me: four weeks of dating, and whoever gets dumped first loses. In order to win, I just have to date him. And the more dates we go on, the more I see the things Dean hides…

Smoke Signals

By Sherman Alexie,

Book cover of Smoke Signals

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

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Don's favorite books.

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.

What is this book about?

Book by Alexie, Sherman

Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me

By Julie Johnston,

Book cover of Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me

Barbara Haworth-Attard Author Of Theories of Relativity

From the list on homeless youth and the challenges they face.

Who am I?

I am a Canadian middle-grade, YA author, who's always on the lookout for a new story. I have walked into trees while watching an event unfold on a street, sat in coffee shops shamelessly listening to other people's conversations, and talked to strangers to hear their stories. In 2000 I was walking in downtown London and saw a teenage boy sitting on a bench with a hat in front of him collecting money. He became my Dylan. In front of a church in London was a pregnant girl, also collecting money. She became my Amber. I contacted youth services and researched everything I could to find out information on homeless youth. It was quite a journey.

Barbara's book list on homeless youth and the challenges they face

Discover why each book is one of Barbara's favorite books.

Why did Barbara love this book?

A fictional story of Sara who is placed in foster home after foster home until she ends up with a farm family, The Huddlestons. I could feel Sara’s pain as she is rejected time after time, and feels she belongs nowhere and has no one to care for her. But I believe in hope and will not ever leave a book I have written without hope and this book did that for me. It is a touching novel of love and the meaning of family. 

By Julie Johnston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

15 year-old Sara Moone has lived in many fos ter homes, having been abandoned by her parents at birth. Sh e protects herself from emotional attachments and her only c onfidant is her computer, through which we learn of her wish to turn 16. '