Notable New Reads

Time for our annual roundup of new books with adoption storylines or themes! Here are your favorites published in 2014, with our picks added to the list.

Notable new adoption memoirs, children's books, novels, and guides published in 2014.


Prison Baby, by Deborah Jiang-Stein

Books about adoptionJiang-Stein always knew that she was adopted, but only discovered that she was born in a prison at age 12. Her raw memoir captures her struggle growing up as a multiracial adoptee in a white family, and the years of drug abuse and estrangement from her parents that followed—as well as her eventual acceptance of her roots and reconciliation with her adoptive mother.




Lost Daughters, edited by Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, Julie Stromberg, Karen Pickell, and Jennifer Anastasi

Books about adoptionLost Daughters is a collaborative writing project authored by women of all ages who were adopted as children. Their anthology is a perfect way to acquaint yourself with the experiences and feelings your child may be facing today, in 10 years, or in 50 years. Continue reading at





Make Me a Mother, by Susanne Antonetta

Books about adoptionThis memoir by a parent who adopted from South Korea begins with meeting her baby at the airport gate, but then continues through Jin’s teenage years, weaving in questions of race and birth family. A meditation on human connections in the larger sense, Antonetta chronicles not just her relationship with her son, but her troubled childhood and rapprochement with her aging parents.



Postcards from Cookie, by Caroline Clarke

Books about adoptionJournalist Caroline Clarke was adopted during the era of closed adoptions. When she sought medical history from her agency, she was given enough information to figure out that her birth mother was Carole “Cookie” Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole. In this riveting read, she recounts the unique bond they forged through e-mail, phone calls, and hundreds of postcards.




A Long Way Home, by Saroo Brierley

Books about adoptionAt age five, Brierley was separated from his brother on a train ride and ended up on the streets of Calcutta, 1,000 miles from home. He was brought to an orphanage and eventually adopted by a couple in Australia. Not knowing the name of his hometown, at age 30, he used Google Maps to find landmarks he remembered from his childhood, then journeyed back to look for his birth family. A simply fascinating story.




Attaching Through Love, Hugs, and Play, by Deborah D. Gray

Books about adoptionIn her latest book, the author of Attaching in Adoption focuses on the pleasures of bonding with your child. Gray explains in accessible language what could be driving a child’s behaviors, and complements that with simple ideas that parents can implement right off the page for toddlers through teens.





How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio

Books about adoptionAdoptive parents know—you will write few letters that you’ll scrutinize more closely than your “Dear Prospective Birth Parent” profile, and no detail is too small for this clear, step-by-step guide
to address. The author brings the unique perspective of an adult adoptee, as well as the many birth parents she interviewed.




The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting, by Sally Donovan

Books about adoptionSally Donovan follows up No Matter What, her memoir of adopting two children from foster care, with a book brimming with lived-it advice.

The Unofficial Guide is no dry parenting manual, but a real, messy look at what it’s like to parent a child who has experienced trauma, and the tools that can help you become the strong parent he will need.





The Year She Left Us, by Kathryn Ma

Books about adoption“Lucky girl,” begins this dazzling debut novel. Ari, 18, was adopted from China by a single Chinese-American lawyer. Growing up with her highly educated mother, aunt, and Gran, Ari constantly heard that it must have been “easier” for her, having a Chinese family. But she must journey to China and then to Alaska, on what the NYT called a “gap year from hell” in its review, before coming to terms with her family and identity.



The Life Intended, by Kristin Harmel

Books about adoptionMore than 10 years after her husband died, Kate Waithman is ambivalent about her upcoming second marriage. When she begins seeing her first husband in her dreams, her attempt to decipher the hidden message takes her into the New York City foster care system.






Paloma the Possible, written and illustrated by gaily told•tales and Mellabella Storytella

Books About AdoptionWritten and hand-collaged by an adoptive mother and child, this book is a wonderful conversation starter. Rather than simply reassure the reader that she’s right at home in her “forever family,” or that they were fated to be together, Paloma encourages the many questions adoptees have about birth families and belonging as they grow up.





Dear Wonderful You, Letters to Adopted & Fostered Youth, edited by Diane René Christian and Mei-Mei Akwai Ellerman, Ph.D.

Books about adoptionThis collection of letters, written by adults who were adopted or fostered as children, is powerful and inspiring. Parents will want to give this book to their children, and read it themselves.







You Belong, by Anne Hoang; illustrated by Marie Egertson

Books about adoptionYou Belong introduces the concept of adoption in simple, compassionate language, by way of an elephant named Hope. This unique book was written by a birth mother in an open adoption as a way to explain adoption to her four-year-old child. The warm illustrations were created by a young adult adoptee.





Two Dads, by Carolyn Robertson; illustrated by Sophie Humphreys

Books about adoptionThis fun, rhyming tale with gentle watercolor illustrations is told from the perspective of the adopted son of, well, two dads! The light tone of this affirming read keeps it from feeling didactic.







Kinda Like Brothers, by Coe Booth

Books about adoptionJarrett’s mom is a foster mother. It’s one thing when she cares for babies, but Jarrett is nonplussed when she brings home a baby who has an older brother named Kevon—who will be sharing Jarrett’s room. Will the intense rivals ever learn to get along?






The Adoption Club Therapeutic Workbook Series, by Regina Kupecky; illustrated by Anthony Phillips-Smith

Books about adoptionThis set of five workbooks, written for therapists who work with children, could also be used by adoptive parents to help a child work through what adoption means, feelings about being adopted, new siblings, and more.



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