Books help children make sense of their own stories. It doesn’t matter whether your child has two mums, two dads, a mum and a dad or a single parent—they will always have questions about who they are and where they’ve come from.
That’s why I think representation in children’s books is important: no matter their cultural or biological heritage, children enjoy reading and learning about those who look similar to them!
This is just as true for children being raised by a single mother by choice (SMC)—who are just as deserving of empowering books as their children!
Families these days come in all shapes and sizes, and thankfully the publishing industry isn’t only aware of this, but has fully embraced the fact!
Reading about other children in the same situation or who come from a similar background can make a world of difference to your little one.
It doesn’t just teach them about tolerance and respect, but also shows them that their experiences and household setup are perfectly normal, simply by virtue of them being reflected back in a colourful storybook.
So with that in mind, today I’m delighted to share with you 4 brilliant books I simply love, and which my daughter adores for me to read to her.
They all depict fostering and adoption by SMCs in an approachable and positive way.
I consider this to be a hugely important message for little readers to pick up early in life, and I can’t recommend these fabulous stories highly enough!
1. A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza
This classic tale divulges the trials and tribulations of a lovable yellow bird in search of a mummy—so imagine his delight when he happens upon Mrs Bear.
Mrs. Bear takes him home to meet her other children: a pig, a hippo, and an alligator.
Families thrive on love, fun, and sharing—and A Mother for Choco brings us all three through exquisitely bright watercolours, showing that people don’t need to look alike or share genetic makeup to be a family.
Keiko Kasza is a multi-award winning Japanese American author and illustrator who writes using formative experiences in her life.
2. I Love You Like Crazy Cakes and Every Year on Your Birthday by Rose Lewis, illustrated by Jane Dyer
In this perfect little pair of stories, we learn about the true story of this American author finding her lovely little daughter in China. We find out how different cultures come together to create the perfect little family.
From peaking into her house for the first time, to celebrating important cultural events and milestones from her adopted daughters cultural heritage.
The second of the two books – On Your Birthday – culminates in a wonderful scene: a simple picnic overlooking the dragon boat festival.
This duology of cute stories is impactful in its representation of a single mother who is of a different ethnicity to their adoptive child.
3) The Lamb-a-roo by Diana Kimpton
A lonely lamb wants nothing more than a mummy—but this sweet little lamb just can’t find one, no matter how hard they try.
A sad kangaroo wants a baby—but she can’t find one, no matter how hard she tries. Until one fateful day when they find each other.
The little lamb is worried that it doesn’t look like the other kangaroo family members, and tries to change to look more like them.
It is delightful to see how both mother kangaroo and baby lamb tries to emulate the other, despite coming from such different backgrounds.
This beautiful story was based on the authors own real life experience of adopting her own gorgeous brown eyed girl who wished and wished she could have blue eyes like the rest of her adopted family.
4) And That’s Why She’s My Mama by Tiarra Nazario
What is a mama?
A mama is someone who’s always there for you, no matter what.
A mama is someone who makes your favourite meal when you’re sad.
A mama is someone who kisses your ouchies all better.
This wonderful book of positivity around motherhood. Showing that no matter the colour, shape age or size, all mothers have one thing in common.
Not every mama once had a baby in their belly—and that’s okay. Because every mama has their baby forever in their hearts.
A beautiful story of transracial adoption.