You’re a reader (or want to be!), but how are you supposed to figure out which books can give you the encouragement, insight, and help that you need on your foster care journey?
Here at TFI, we get all kinds of book and resource submissions from different authors and organizations. We’re always trying to find the best books on the topics we care about most. We also love to hear from you! In this updated version of book recommendations, we included some new resources that our readers shared with us on our Facebook and Instagram.
Most of these books are ones that have personally impacted our team, but there are a few we included that were consistent recommendations in our recent poll. We’re adding those to our own reading lists as well!
(P.S. Looking for children’s books that are great for foster children? Check out our list of recommended books for children in foster care.)
A quick note:
This list is in no way meant to be an all-inclusive, definitive list. There are so many great books out there, but we hope there are some on this list that are new to you!
So let’s get to it. Here are our favorite books about foster care:
By Jason Johnson
Reframing Foster Care is a collection of reflections written by our good friend, Jason Johnson. This resource will benefit foster parents no matter where they are on their foster care journey, as well as those who are considering foster care.
You will be validated, equipped, and empowered as you see that success in foster care is not measured by outcomes, but by faithfulness. You will not do this perfectly—take that burden off your shoulders now—and rely on the One who called you to foster care in the first place, Jesus.
By Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
As we reach out to help those in need, we must not lose sight of our ultimate goal—leading people into a relationship with Jesus. This book is an excellent reminder of God’s call for us to help those in need, but it also reminds us that we are not the entire solution. We have to make sure that we are not pushing our personal desires on those that we are supporting.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. Let’s be sure that while we are serving, we are not just “giving fish,” but rather, “teaching to fish.” Helping is important and beneficial when you focus on Christ and this book will help guide you in doing so.
By Saty Cornelius
The story that More to Me tells is not just a reflection of one story, but many. The story’s main character, Bri, a teen in foster care, her family, and their situation isn’t based solely on one person’s life, but on a compilation of information, interviews and experience.
Bri struggles with going from a caregiver to being a child in care. This is often the case with teens in care—all they’ve known is the responsibility for themselves, their siblings, and sometimes even their parent.
The subject can be a little heavy, but it discusses topics that are relevant to anyone, not just families that are in foster care. The book’s overarching themes include trust, depression, and heartbreak. But underlying all of it is hope.
By Christina Baker Kline
The United States has not always had a foster care system. During the mid-1800s and early 1900s, about 250,000 homeless, orphaned, and abandoned children were put on Orphan Trains and transported to rural areas and families across the U.S. rather than placing them in orphanages.
Orphan Train walks us through a beautiful story of an unexpected friendship between two women. Vivian was a child from the 1900’s who experienced the Orphan Train, and Molly is a present-day child in foster care. This story of two courageous women is inspiring and gives insight into what it is like to be passed from one home to the next.
By Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Are toddler tantrums and emotional outbursts ruling your life? Learning to identify your child’s emotions and connecting with them will help guide you as you correct and discipline your child. If you want to understand the emotion-filled actions your child is displaying, then this book is for you.
This presents twelve easy steps that help your child understand themselves, build stronger relationships, and succeed in school. There is also a free resource you can download now that will help you begin this process.
By Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.
Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.
By Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
When we asked for book recommendations on our social media, this book and the follow-up resource shared next were by far the most recommended books on the list.
Bringing a child into your family is a special moment, but presents unique challenges. Welcoming children into your family–and addressing their special needs–requires care, consideration, and compassion. Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child will help you: Build bonds of affection and trust, effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders, and discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened.
By Karyn B. Purvis and Lisa Qualls
Like we mentioned above, this book was the second-most recommended resource foster parents shared on social media.
Parenting under the best of circumstances can be difficult. And raising children who have come to your home from “hard places,” who have their own set of unique needs, brings even more challenges. You may have discovered that the techniques that worked with your birth children are not working with your adopted or foster child.
Renowned child-development expert Dr. Karyn Purvis gives you practical advice and powerful tools you can use to encourage secure attachment in your family:
By Carol Kranowitz
Mentioned on a recent episode of the podcast, The Out-of-Sync Child is a groundbreaking book that explains Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)–and presents a drug-free approach that offers hope for parents.
If your child exhibits over-responsivity or under-responsivity to sensory input, craves sensations, poor sensory awareness, an unusually high or low activity level, or problems with posture or motor coordination, these are often the first clues to Sensory Processing Disorder.
This is a common but frequently misdiagnosed problem in which the central nervous system misinterprets messages from the senses. The Out-of-Sync Child offers comprehensive, clear information for parents and professionals–and a drug-free treatment approach for children.
The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult
By Josh Shipp
In 2015, Harvard researchers found that every child who does well in the face of adversity has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult. But Josh Shipp didn’t need Harvard to know that. Once an at-risk foster kid, he was headed straight for trouble until he met the man who changed his life: Rodney, the foster parent who refused to quit on Shipp and got him to believe in himself.
Now, in The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans, Shipp shows all of us how to be that caring adult in a teenager’s life. Stressing the need for compassion, trust, and encouragement, he breaks down the phases of a teenage human from sixth to twelfth grade, examining the changes, goals, and mentality of teenagers at each stage.
We hope that this list gave you something new to read that you will not only enjoy, but that will help you as you continue on your foster care journey.
We also want to make sure that your children have something to read! So, we wrote a children’s book series specifically for children in foster care—the Who Loves series!
Written by Jami Kaeb | Illustrated by Leslie Anne
We know that children in foster care typically have many individuals moving in and out of their lives. This constant change can lead to the false belief that no one loves them.
This three-part series is designed specifically to give children a different perspective on the people they interact with while they are in foster care. Each person shows love and attention in different ways by doing their job or providing protection. We want your children to know that they are loved.
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