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Foster Care: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about foster care?

If you’ve been looking for kids books about foster care, you’re in the right place! We’ve compiled this list of the best books about foster kids, and the list can be filtered by board books, picture books, and chapter books.

Let us know if there are any other books on the list you’d add!

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Room for Bear
Written & illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
A huggable picture-book debut about a bear who doesn’t quite fit—perfect for fans of Karma Wilson’s Bear Snores On and Philip C. Snead & Erin Stead’s Bear Has a Story to Tell. When Bear wakes up one spring, he goes in search of a new home. And he thinks he’s found the perfect place. Unfortunately, things are a bit . . . snug. Can five little ducks find room for one big bear in their home—and in their hearts? Ciara Gavin’s luminous picture-book debut explores the unconditional love of families in all their colors, shapes, and sizes.
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Three Pennies
Written & illustrated by Melanie Crowder
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A girl in foster care tries to find her birth mother before she loses her forever in this “tender tale” (School Library Journal, starred review) about last chances and new opportunities. For a kid bouncing from foster home to foster home, The Book of Changes is the perfect companion. That’s why Marin carries three pennies and a pocket-sized I Ching with her everywhere she goes. Yet when everything in her life suddenly starts changing—like landing in a foster home that feels like somewhere she could stay, maybe forever—the pennies don’t have any answers for her. Marin is positive that all the wrongs in her life will be made right if only she can find her birth mother and convince her that they belong together. Marin is close, oh so close—until she gets some unwelcome news and her resolve, like the uneasy earth far beneath the city of San Francisco, is shaken
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Little Cub
Written & illustrated by Olivier Dunrea
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
A darling companion to Old Bear and His Cub from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Gossie books What's an Old Bear to do when he finds a Little Cub all alone and afraid of the dark? Adopt him, of course! And help him try to get over his fears. In this book we see the father and son from Old Bear and His Cub meet for the first time--and grow to love one another. With the same bold art and humorous twist on parenting, Olivier Dunrea's tumbling bears will melt your heart and show how strong the bond is between any father and son pair. Praise for LITTLE CUB *"Readers will treasure the bears’ gingerly give-and-take—watching them serendipitously become a family of two is a joy to behold." —Publishers Weekly, starred review *"Dunrea packs a huge amount of emotion into his limited text and engaging art. A delight for fans of these characters and a lovely next step for children ready to move beyond the 'Gossie and Friends' series." —School Library Journal, starred review
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Just Like a Mama
Written by Alice Faye Duncan & illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
Celebrate the heart connection between adopted children and the forever families who welcome them with kindness, care, and unconditional love in this powerful picture book from the author of Honey Baby Sugar Child. Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose. Mama Rose is everything—tender and sweet. She is also as stern and demanding as any good parent should be. In the midst of their happy home, Carol misses her mother and father. She longs to be with them. But until that time comes around, she learns to surrender to the love that is present. Mama Rose becomes her “home.” And Carol Olivia Clementine concludes that she loves Miss Rose, “just like a mama.” This sweet read-aloud is, on the surface, all about the everyday home life a caregiver creates for a young child: she teachers Clementine how to ride a bike, clean her room, tell time. A deeper look reveals the patience, intention, and care little ones receives in the arms of a mother whose blood is not her blood, but whose bond is so deep—and so unconditional—that it creates the most perfect condition for a child to feel safe, successful, and deeply loved.
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Nightfall
Written by Shannon Messenger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A New York Times bestselling series A USA TODAY bestselling series A California Young Reader Medal–winning series Sophie and her friends face battles unlike anything they’ve seen before in this thrilling sixth book of the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series. Sophie Foster is struggling. Grieving. Scrambling. But she knows one thing: she will not be defeated. The Neverseen have had their victories—but the battle is far from over. It’s time to change tactics. Make sacrifices. Reexamine everything. Maybe even time for Sophie to trust her enemies. All paths lead to Nightfall—an ominous door to an even more ominous place—and Sophie and her friends strike a dangerous bargain to get there. But nothing can prepare them for what they discover. The problems they’re facing stretch deep into their history. And with time running out, and mistakes catching up with them, Sophie and her allies must join forces in ways they never have before. In this spectacular sixth book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must uncover the truth about the Lost Cities’ insidious past, before it repeats itself and changes reality.
Everblaze book
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Sweep book
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Keeper of the Lost Cities book
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Extraordinary Birds book
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  • Everblaze - Sophie uncovers shocking secrets—and faces treacherous new enemies—in this electrifying third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series. Sophie Foster is ready to fight back. Her talents are getting stronger, and with the elusive Black Swan group ignoring her calls for help, she’s determined to find her kidnappers—before they come after her again. But a daring mistake leaves her world teetering on the edge of war, and causes many to fear that she has finally gone too far. And the deeper Sophie searches, the farther the conspiracy stretches, proving that her most dangerous enemy might be closer than she realizes. In this nail-biting third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must fight the flames of rebellion, before they destroy everyone and everything she loves.

  • Sweep - In nineteenth-century England, after her father’s disappearance Nan Sparrow, ten, works as a “climbing boy,” aiding chimney sweeps, but when her most treasured possessions end up in a fireplace, she unwittingly creates a golem.

  • Keeper of the Lost Cities - At age 12, Sophie learns that the remarkable abilities that have always made her different from others actually identify her as an elf, and after being brought to Eternalia to hone her skills, she discovers that she has secrets buried in her memory for which some would kill.

  • Extraordinary Birds - Eleven-year-old December knows everything about birds, and everything about getting kicked out of foster homes. All she has of her mom is the bird guide she left behind, and a message: “In flight is where you’ll find me.” December believes she’s truly a bird, just waiting for the day she transforms. The scar on her back is where her wings will sprout; she only needs to find the right tree and practice flying.When she’s placed with foster mom Eleanor, who runs a taxidermy business and volunteers at a wildlife rescue, December begins to see what home means in a new light. But the story she’s told herself about her past is what’s kept her going this long. Can she learn to let go?An extraordinary story about identity and family perfect for fans of Holly Goldberg Sloan and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

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Greetings from Witness Protection!
Written by Jake Burt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
A funny and poignant debut middle-grade novel about a foster-care girl who is placed with a family in the witness protection program, and finds that hiding in plain sight is complicated and dangerous.
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Flying High
Written by Michelle Meadows & illustrated by Ebony Glenn
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
**A lyrical picture book biography of Simone Biles, gymnastics champion and Olympic superstar.** Before she was a record-breaking gymnast competing on the world stage, Simone Biles spent time in foster care as a young child. Nimble and boundlessly energetic, she cherished every playground and each new backyard. When she was six years old, Simone's family took shape in a different way. Her grandparents Ron and Nellie Biles adopted Simone and her sister Adria. Ron and Nellie became their parents. Simone was also introduced to gymnastics that same year, launching a lifelong passion fueled by remarkable talent, sacrifice, and the undying support of her family. From her athletic early childhood to the height of her success as an Olympic champion, _Flying High_ is the story of the world's greatest gymnast from author Michelle Meadows and illustrator Ebony Glenn.
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Truman the Dog
Written by Debbi Michiko Florence & illustrated by Melanie Demmer
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
"T" is for Truman, tricks, and TROUBLE! Truman the black lab might be an older rescue dog, but he's still got enough mischief beneath his collar to keep eight-year-old Kaita Takano and her animal-fostering family on their toes from morning till night. Chewed through and through, the playfully illustrated, Kaita-narrated chapter book promises plenty of canine fun.
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Wormwood Mire
Written & illustrated by Judith Rossell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
This spine-tingling sequel to Withering-by-Sea sees Stella sent away to the moldering old family estate, where she discovers two odd cousins—and a mystery. Eleven-year-old Stella Montgomery has always wondered about her family. What happened to her mother? And could she have a long-lost sister somewhere? Stella’s awful Aunts refuse to tell her anything, and now they have sent her away to the old family home at Wormwood Mire, where she must live with two strange cousins and their governess. But dark secrets slither and skulk within overgrown grounds of the house, and Stella must be brave if she’s to find out who—or what—she really is…
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The Little Leftover Witch
Written & illustrated by Florence Laughlin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A little lost witch undergoes a magical transformation when she’s loved by a human family in this heartwarming story. When Felina, a little witch, breaks her broom on Halloween and can’t fly home, she is stuck with the Doon family and their black cat, Itchabody, for an entire year. Although she’s homesick and unhappy, the Doon parents and their daughter, Lucinda, do their best to make Felina feel welcome. (And she has no trouble with Itchabody at all!) As time passes, the mischievous Felina learns what it means to be part of a family—and how, with love, she will always belong. This timeless tale, originally published in 1971 and cherished ever since, brims with witchy whimsy and will find a home in the hearts of a new generation of readers.
Soldier Dogs #1: Air Raid Search and Rescue book
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The Purr-fect Scoop book
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Dream of Night book
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Scarlet  Ibis book
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  • Soldier Dogs #1: Air Raid Search and Rescue - The paw-biting start to a thrilling new adventure series perfect for fans of Max and the I Survived books, inspired by the brave military dogs who helped our troops win World War II. When Matt’s older brother enlisted in the army, he left Matt his German Shepherd, Chief, a retired fire dog and the best pet EVER. So Matt isn’t happy when Chief starts paying attention to his foster sister Rachel instead of him. But when Nazi planes begin bombing the city, Matt finds himself in an impossible situation. Can he be a hero to his sister when it matters most? And when they get caught outside during the air raid, will Chief be there to save the day? This paper-over-board edition includes a collectible poster and a pull-out map!

  • The Purr-fect Scoop - Sierra tries to find a way to balance all of the activities in her life in this third delicious book in the Sprinkle Sundays series from the author of the Cupcake Diaries series! Sierra does lots of things. She’s captain of the softball team, the director of the school play, and she’s on Student Council, but her favorite thing to do is work at the ice cream shop with her best friends Tamiko and Allie. But when her parents decide to foster three kittens and their mama, Sierra’s life gets a lot more catty! Can Sierra do it all—and maybe find homes for the cats, too?

  • Dream of Night - Untamable. Damaged. Angry. Once full of promise and life, now a fiery knot of resentment and detachment. This is the story of Dream of Night, an injured and abused racehorse. It’s also the story of Shiloh, a sarcastic eleven-year-old foster child. By chance, Dream of Night and Shiloh both find themselves under the care of Jessalyn DiLima. Just in time—it’s a last chance for them both. Jess fosters animals and kids like Dream of Night and Shiloh for a reason—she’s a little broken, too. And as the three of them become an unlikely family, they recognize their similarities in order to heal their pasts—but not before one last tragedy threatens to take everything away.

  • Scarlet Ibis - Twelve-year-old Scarlet doesn’t have an easy life. She’s never known her dad, her mom suffers from depression, and her younger brother Red has Asperger’s and relies heavily on her to make the world a safe place for him. Scarlet does this by indulging Red’s passion for birds, telling him stories about the day they’ll go to Trinidad and see all the wonderful birds there (especially his beloved Scarlet Ibis), saving her money to take him to the zoo, helping him collect bird feathers, and even caring for a baby pigeon who is nesting outside his window.But things with her mom are getting harder, and after a dangerous accident, Scarlet and Red are taken into foster care and separated. As Scarlet struggles to cope with the sudden changes in her life and her complex feelings towards her mom, the one thing she won’t give up on is finding Red. Nothing is going to get in her way—even if it might destroy the new possibilities offered to her by her foster family.

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The Season of Styx Malone
Written & illustrated by Kekla Magoon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A CORETTA SCOTT KING HONOR BOOK AND THE WINNER OF THE BOSTON GLOBE HORN BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION! "Extraordinary friendships . . . extraordinary storytelling." --Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-Winning author of One Crazy Summer Meet Caleb and Bobby Gene, two brothers embarking on a madcap, heartwarming, one-thing-leads-to-another adventure in which friendships are forged, loyalties are tested . . . and miracles just might happen. Caleb Franklin and his big brother Bobby Gene are excited to have adventures in the woods behind their house. But Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town. Then Caleb and Bobby Gene meet new neighbor Styx Malone. Styx is sixteen and oozes cool. Styx promises the brothers that together, the three of them can pull off the Great Escalator Trade--exchanging one small thing for something better until they achieve their wildest dream. But as the trades get bigger, the brothers soon find themselves in over their heads. Styx has secrets--secrets so big they could ruin everything. Five best of the year lists! NPR, HornBook, Kirkus Reviews, SLJ, Shelf Awareness Five starred reviews!
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City Spies
Written by James Ponti
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In this thrilling new series that Stuart Gibbs called “a must-read,” Edgar Award winner James Ponti brings together five kids from all over the world and transforms them into real-life spies—perfect for fans of Spy School and Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls. Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time. Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI5 agency. Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t. Before she knows what she’s doing, Sarah is heading to Paris for an international youth summit, hacking into a rival school’s computer to prevent them from winning a million euros, dangling thirty feet off the side of a building, and trying to stop a villain…all while navigating the complex dynamics of her new team. No one said saving the world was easy…
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Love from Lexie
Written by Cathy Cassidy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-11
Ever since Lexie's mom vanished, her world hasn't stopped spinning. A new home, a new school—even a new family, but Lexie never gives up hope that her mom will come back and writes her letters every day to tell her all about her new life. There's plenty to tell—the new group of misfits she calls friends, the talent for music she never knew she had and the gorgeous boy with blue eyes and secrets to hide. But her letters remain unanswered and she's starting to feel more alone than ever. Lexie's about to learn that sometimes you need to get lost in order to be found. The first in a gorgeous new series that's the perfect next step for fans of Jacqueline Wilson.
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Peace, Locomotion
Written by Jacqueline Woodson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12
Twelve-year-old Lonnie is finally feeling at home with his foster family. But because he’s living apart from his little sister, Lili, he decides it’s his job to be the “rememberer”—and write down everything that happens while they’re growing up. Lonnie’s musings are bittersweet; he’s happy that he and Lili have new families, but though his new family brings him joy, it also brings new worries. With a foster brother in the army, concepts like Peace have new meaning for Lonnie.Told through letters from Lonnie to Lili, this thought-provoking companion to Jacqueline Woodson’s National Book Award finalist _Locomotion_ tackles important issues in captivating, lyrical language. Lonnie’s reflections on family, loss, love and peace will strike a note with readers of all ages.
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Locomotion
Written by Jacqueline Woodson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-16
When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he's eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because "not a lot of people want boys-not foster boys that ain't babies." But Lonnie hasn't given up. His foster mother, Miss Edna, is growing on him. She's already raised two sons and she seems to know what makes them tick. And his teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper. Told entirely through Lonnie's poetry, we see his heartbreak over his lost family, his thoughtful perspective on the world around him, and most of all his love for Lili and his determination to one day put at least half of their family back together. Jacqueline Woodson's poignant story of love, loss, and hope is lyrically written and enormously accessible.
Bad Kitty: Kitten Trouble book
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Gossamer book
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Gathering Blue book
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Trace book
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  • Bad Kitty: Kitten Trouble - There’s terrible news in the neighborhood next to Kitty’s! A conflict there is growing worse and worse. It started as an argument and has now turned into a full-fledged fight. Worst of all: The cat shelter has been destroyed. Kitty’s family decides it’s time to do something to help. They have an idea to foster as many displaced kittens as possible. Kitty won’t mind, right? Well . . . not exactly. Kitty does seem to mind. She minds A LOT. Will our favorite bad-tempered friend learn to share her space, her food, and GASP! her toys? Find out in Kitten Trouble, this hilarious and poignant addition to the Bad Kitty series from bestselling author and illustrator Nick Bruel.

  • Gossamer - From the two-time Newbery Award winning author of Number the Stars and The Giver, comes a novel about how even the smallest of dreams can break through the darkest of nights.
     
    Littlest One is a tiny creature slowly learning her job of giving dreams to humans. Each night she and her teacher, Thin Elderly, visit an old woman’s home where she softly touches beloved objects, gathering happy memories, and drops of old scents and sounds. Littlest One pieces these bits together and presents them to her sleeping human in the form of pleasant dreams. But the dreaded Sinisteeds, dark fearsome creatures that plague their victims with nightmares, are always at work against the dreamgivers. When the old woman takes in John, an angry foster child with a troubled past, the Sinisteeds go after him with their horrifying nightmares. Can Littlest One, and her touch light as gossamer, protect John’s heart and soul from the nightmare of his dark past?

  • Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever. As she did in THE GIVER, Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira’s plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future.

  • Trace - In a debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Erin Entrada Kelly, award-winning author/illustrator and educator Pat Cummings tells a poignant story about grief, love, and the untold stories that echo across time. Trace Carter doesn’t know how to feel at ease in his new life in New York. Even though his artsy Auntie Lea is cool, her brownstone still isn’t his home. Haunted by flashbacks of the accident that killed his parents, the best he can do is try to distract himself from memories of the past. But the past isn’t done with him. When Trace takes a wrong turn in the New York Public Library, he finds someone else lost in the stacks with him: a crying little boy, wearing old, tattered clothes. And though at first he can’t quite believe he’s seen a ghost, Trace soon discovers that the boy he saw has ties to Trace’s own history—and that he himself may be the key to setting the dead to rest.

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Beyond the Green
Written & illustrated by Sharlee Glenn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
"After twelve-year-old Britta's family fostered Chipeta, a Native American baby, for four years, Chipeta's birth mother has the right to take her back. In 1979 Utah, Britta can't imagine life without her beloved little sister, and so she grows determined to do whatever she can to keep her sister and to eventually understand how complicated and important family is--in all its forms"--

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