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My Growing World

by Kathleen Carroll Adoption World Specialties; $15.95

”Inviting” best describes My Growing World, a new, fill-in-the-blanks lifebook for foster and adopted children (Adoption World Specialties; $15.95). Author Kathleen Carroll, teaming with illustrator Lucy Cook Taylor, has developed a creative and practical resource for children and their families.

This colorful, interactive lifebook encourages children to look at and remember the beautiful, positive parts of their life experiences. It also skillfully moves a child toward discussion of the pain of separation from and loss of the biological family.

Each chapter of My Growing World draws a child to its pages. The first chapter, “I’m the Star,” encourages a child to think about herself: what she looks like, what she is thinking, what she is feeling, and her favorite things.

Chapter two, “My Roots,” validates a child’s need to know about and talk about his birth family. In this chapter, a child can capture the story of his birth family, his parents, grandparents, and siblings, in details that will become increasingly important as he moves into adolescence and young adulthood. Also in this chapter, a youngster is encouraged to recall positive times with his birth family. A particularly powerful page, “When Things Started to Change,” will lead a child to a realistic view of the reasons that he is in foster care or was placed for adoption.

Chapter three, “Branching Out,” helps a child cope with the difficulties of moving into a new foster home, and chapter four, “Sprouting New Leaves,” is for the events and moments of adoption. (Either chapter can be removed if it doesn’t apply to your child’s situation.) Finally, chapter five, “Looking into the Future,” encourages a child to dream, and to have hope for a bright future in his new family.

Among the best parts of the book are the short stories from children in similar circumstances. They help a child to identify with other children and to respect his own feelings. I highly recommend My Growing World for any child journeying through the welfare system. 

Heavyweight cardstock pages pre-punched for three-ring binder; binder not included. Purchase at

Reviewed by Jayne E. Schooler, coauthor of Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families (just released by

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