Top 20 books for foster parents

books for foster parents

Top 20 books for foster parents

Book TitleBest Suited For
The Connected ChildParents dealing with attachment issues
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents KnewAdoptive parents
The Foster Parenting ManualNew foster parents
Parenting the Hurt ChildParents of children with trauma histories
The Body Keeps the ScoreParents of children with severe trauma
Wounded Children, Healing HomesFoster and adoptive parents
Three Little WordsFoster youth and foster parents
The Foster Child HandbookFoster children
Keeping Foster Children Safe OnlineFoster parents
The Foster Parent Survival GuideExperienced foster parents
Foster Parenting Step-by-StepNew foster parents
Foster Care: One Dog’s Story of ChangeAll foster parents
No Matter WhatFoster children under 5 years old
Fostering on the FarmFoster parents dealing with behaviors
Successful Foster Care AdoptionAdoptive parents of foster youth
The Foster Child’s Busy BookFoster children 5-12 years old
Silent SonsFoster/adoptive parents of boys
The Primal WoundAdoptive parents
Why Can’t My Child Behave?Foster parents dealing with behaviors
Parenting Children Who Have Experienced TraumaFoster/adoptive parents

This chart categorizes each book by the specific subset of foster or adoptive parents that are most likely to benefit from its content. However, these are just general guidelines, as most books contain helpful insights for all foster parents. Reading broadly is recommended to get a variety of perspectives.

The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis


This book helps foster and adoptive parents understand the brain science behind attachment and trauma, giving practical advice for connecting with children from hard places. It provides hope and strategies for parents seeking to help their children heal.

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge


This classic book reveals the 20 complex emotional issues facing adopted children. Eldridge draws on her personal experience as an adoptee to provide thoughtful recommendations for adoptive parents.

The Foster Parenting Manual by John Degarmo


Degarmo’s comprehensive guide covers all aspects of fostering, from preparing your home to working with birth parents. He shares practical tips and real stories to help foster parents handle the unique challenges.

Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory Keck


Ideal for foster and adoptive parents, this book addresses trauma, brain development, attachment, and practical parenting techniques. Keck gives hope that children can overcome early trauma with caring parenting.

5. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk – This is essential reading on trauma’s impact on health and recovery. Van der Kolk shares developments in neuroscience, PTSD, and therapies helping those with traumatic pasts.

6. Wounded Children, Healing Homes by Jayne Schooler – Geared for foster and adoptive families, this book provides parenting strategies from a trauma-informed perspective. Schooler draws on her experience working with 3,000 foster children.

7. Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter – The author’s memoir of her nine years in foster care gives powerful insights into the foster child experience. She recounts her painful past and relationship with caring foster mom Gay Courter.

8. The Foster Child Handbook by Shelly Kinney – Written especially for foster youth, this book helps children understand what foster care is, why they were removed from home, and what may happen next. An excellent resource.

9. Keeping Foster Children Safe Online by Leah Hamilton – A short guide geared for foster parents on how to keep foster children safe online and help them use technology responsibly. An important topic often overlooked.

10. The Foster Parent Survival Guide by Melanie Penfold – From dealing with allegations to self-care, Penfold covers the realities of fostering from her 20+ years of experience. An honest look at the ups and downs foster parents face.

11. Foster Parenting Step-by-Step by Kim Phagan-Hansel – This highly rated guide provides practical advice and encouragement for new foster parents. Phagan-Hansel shares her family’s story of fostering infants.

12. Foster Care: One Dog’s Story of Change by Natalie Savvides – An uplifting memoir of foster dog Olivia, used as an allegory for foster children. This creatively written book emphasizes care, training, and preparation for a “furever” home.

13. No Matter What by Sally Donovan – An ideal book for young children adjusting to foster care. It reassures kids through rhyme that foster parents will care for them, keeping them safe.

14. Fostering on the Farm by Catherine Brown – Part memoir and part practical guide, this book follows foster parents learning therapeutic parenting techniques at a special foster care farm. Offers insights on helping troubled children.

15. Successful Foster Care Adoption by Grace Rao – From attachment to discipline, Rao covers parenting strategies that work for adopted foster children and those with traumatic backgrounds. Very practical examples.

16. The Foster Child’s Busy Book by Jodi Picoult – Part activity book, part story, this engaging book allows foster kids to share about their own story through therapeutic exercises. From bestselling author Picoult.

17. Silent Sons by Robert Ackerman – A classic on the effects of child abuse on boys’ psychological development. Offers insights to help foster and adoptive parents understand and empathize with their sons’ struggles.

18. The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier – An influential early look at attachment disorders faced by adopted children, analyzing the “primal wound” of maternal separation. Controversial but thought-provoking.

19. Why Can’t My Child Behave? by Amber Elliott – A great resource for foster parents dealing with challenging behaviors. Using relatable stories, Elliott explains the impact of trauma and attachment issues.

20. Parenting Children Who Have Experienced Trauma by Kathleen Purvis – Purvis teams up with The Connected Child co-author Karyn Purvis again for this excellent guide to navigating challenging behaviors, attachment, and trauma triggers. Highly practical examples.

This selection of top recommended books covers all aspects of foster parenting, from adoption and attachment to real life experiences. Although fostering is deeply rewarding, it does come with unique challenges. Having the right knowledge base helps foster parents provide informed, sensitive care that makes all the difference in a child’s life. These books are an invaluable investment for prospective and current foster families.

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