Book Reviews

The Connected Child

Co-authored by Dr. Karyn Purvis, has helped countless adoptive and foster parents better connect with their children as they seek to love and care for them in a way that honors God.


The family of adoption

 Pavao, J.M. (2005). The family of adoption (revised edition). pp 38-39. Beacon Press, USA. ISBN-13: 9780807028278

 An excerpt from the book: 

"The job of any parent is a huge one. The job of parenting an adopted child is filled with additional challenges, and the more we equip the parents and their support network, the better able to meet the challenges they will be. Preadoptive parent education and empowerment in all of these issues are what will change the system to one that is about the best interest of the child."


Round Fish Square Bowl (Tom Skinner)

 Here is a simple tale told with great charm. The young reader is gradually introduced to a range of characters who are noticeably different from the rest of the crowd, such as the square peg in the round hole, the fish out of water and the bull in the china shop. These differences are joyfully observed and celebrated, with Skinner reminding the reader that diversity makes each one of us unique. The award-winning illustrator Mini Goss has brought the story to life with her quirky and humorous drawings. In each character she draws Goss captures a variety of emotional responses. Importantly, she also captures the acceptance and joy that is central to the moral of this story. Round Fish Square Bowl is a promising first book from a new Australian author.

Recommended for children aged 2-5yrs. (Sydney’s Child, March 2007, p.86)


Our Twitchy (Kes Gray & Mary McQuillan)

 A story about a rabbit (Twitchy) being brought up by a horse and cow. When Twitchy is told, he runs away and when his parents find him, he has changed his appearance etc to try to be like them. His parents tell him that he doesn't need to change as they love and care for him just as he is.

 What I like about this story is that it could be used to talk about adoption, yet never uses the word "adopted". Also the fact that the parents are not the same either, makes it less a focus on how "different" the child is. The reason given for Twitchy being brought up by these parents is that his Bunnymum and Bunnydad already had many mouths to feed and wanted someone to love and care for Twitchy properly. Of course, this is just one possible reason for an adoptive family, but I find sometimes these types of story books can be so general about this issue that the kids just don't get it - so this one explanation can serve as a source for further discussion with your own child if needed or when appropriate.

Anyway, my 2 ½ and 4 ½ year old love this story, just because it's a nice story anyway and has some appealing pictures.

By Tida


We Belong Together (Todd Parr)

 A gorgeous book, featuring Todd's signature bright and colourful illustrations, with simple, basic text. Its message is that there are all different types of families and to make one, it just takes love. Suitable for early preschool onwards, however the bright, colourful illustrations also make it a lovely book to read to infants.

We Belong Together. Parr, T. (2007), Megan Tingley books, USA. ISBN: 0316016683 

By Emma, Craig and Jake


The Day We Met You (P. Koehler)

 The book is early preschool level with simple text that is easily personalised to a family's own experience of meeting their adoptive child. It talks about getting ready to meet and bring home baby and features and afterword by Lois Ruskai Melina, author of Making Sense of Adoption, a book given to us by Anglicare and which we've found quite helpful. Many books seem to focus on overseas adoption, which has not been our experience, so it was lovely to find this one that allows us to share with Jake the similar way the story of our family came to be.

  The Day We met You (Koehler, P. 1997). Aladdin Paperbacks, USA. ISBN: 0689809646

 By Emma, Craig and Jake


W.I.S.E Up Powerbook (Schoettle. M.)

 Review taken from Adoption / Foster care at

 Aimed at primary school age children. W.I.S.E. Up the Owl leads young readers through the book with questions about feelings, different ways the topic of adoption is brought up by peers, and how to handle situations as they arise. Kids are given choices on how to respond with several different examples. W.I.S.E. Up the Owl also introduces the topic of adoption in the media and asks kids to examine what they have seen, heard, and read and to decide what they think about the way adoption is portrayed. Is it true information or not?

W.I.S.E. up Powerbook. Schoettle. M. (2000). The Centre for Adoption Support and Education, Inc. (C.A.S.E.) USA. ISBN: 0971173206


Jesse’s World –A story of adoption and the global family (Basia Bonowski)

This book was inspired by the short but wonderful life of Jesse Scott, a brave young Colombian boy who was adopted in 1992 and came to Australia to become part of a new family. His life, however, reached far beyond his small family. When Jesse was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease of the brain, it touched the hearts of not only his direct circle of family and friends, but also those of other adoptive families, their children, and the networks and friendships forged in Jesse's birthplace - all part of what has become known as the 'global family'.

The author herself is an adoptive mother, and she tells the stories of nine adoptive families, including that of Jesse and the Scotts. Happy or sad, they are all emotionally involving stories of great determination and even greater love. A lovely read.

By Dominique


What is adoption – Helping non-adopted children understand adoption (Sofie Stergianis and Rita McDowall)

In my opinion this is a book that should be in the staff library of all schools, preschools and day care centres. The authors of "What is adoption – Helping non-adopted children understand adoption" are both involved with adoption in Canada. Sofie works in the field of adoption, and Rita is an adoptive mother.

The story is of two friends (Alex and Violet) discussing Alex’s adoption and how Violet comes to a better understanding of what adoption is. The language is simple, friendly and self-explanatory to readers of all ages, clearly explaining adoption as one way a family is formed.

The authors list concepts covered as:

  • Positive use of adoption language
  • Families are formed in different ways
  • Children are adopted in many different ways
  • Possible reasons for adoption
  • Privacy versus secrecy of adoption details
  • Adoption does not define who you are as a person
  • Adoption is forever

The book includes a section "notes to adults" that educate on how to be sensitive to adoptive families in language used and questions asked. Although some friends have found this section a bit firm in the tone of the text, it is likely because these are the friends and family members who have previously been unknowingly rude and ignorant in the style of their questions and conversations about adoption. The direct language in this section has perhaps been the instigator to less invasive questions and more appropriate adoption language from many friends.

By Liz