Cross-Species Adoption Books for Children

Child with ducks

Many children’s books use animals and nature to convey themes common in humanity. Adoption is no exception. The following resources can help adoptive parents explore themes of not only adoption, but also diversity, love, empowerment, and acceptance, with their children.

Little Pink Pup: This is the true story of Pink, a runt piglet who is adopted by Tink, a dachshund. Pink flourishes through the cuddles, play, and milk provided by his new mother. The story documents how Pink is able to be loved by both his birth family (whom he visits in the barn) and his adoptive family (Tink and her puppies). Photographs of Pink, Tink, and other animals illustrate this heartwarming story.

Quackenstein Hatches a Family: Quackenstein is a duck who grows sad and lonely as he watches all the other zoo animals have babies. One day Quack decides to adopt and chooses an egg among the orphaned eggs’ box. To his surprise, the animal that hatches is a platypus! The story of the bond created between an adoptive father and adopted son is intriguing, thrilling, and of course, has a happy ending.

Raising Dragons: A young African American girl discovers an egg on her family’s farm. When a baby dragon named Hank hatches, the girl claims it’s “love at first sight” and feeds him, reads to him, and plays with him. Though Hank grows to be a welcome family member, the girl decides to accompany Hank on a visit to a land where dragons inhabit. She returns home without her beloved Hank but with many eggs…dragon eggs. This is the story of belonging, purpose, and friendship.

A Mother for Choco: Choco is a small, yellow bird who searches for someone to be his mother. Denied by a giraffe, a penguin, and a walrus for being different, leads the bird to Mrs. Bear who is out picking apples. Hearing Choco’s cries, Mrs. Bear invites Choco into her home to be one of her children and become a sibling to her other children: a hippo, an alligator, and a pig. This book amplifies love, diversity, and acceptance.

Penguin and Pinecone: Penguin finds a brown, prickly, hard pinecone and discovers that Pinecone cannot survive in Penguin’s cold and snowy environment. Penguin lovingly takes Pinecone to the forest and sets it in a soft nest of pine needles. Some time passes, and Penguin returns to the forest to check on his friend. What he finds is not Pinecone as a pinecone, but that Pinecone has grown into a big, strong pine tree. Love, friendship, nurturing, and selflessness are prevalent themes in this heartwarming tale.

A Gift for Little Tree: Set in an apple orchard, a farmer sympathizes with one of his trees whose limbs do not bear any apples. He carefully grafts from nearby, fruit-bearing trees, and blesses the lonely tree with the ability to grow apples of all different colors. This book gently brings up the topic of infertility, transracial adoption, and acceptance.

All Together Now: Rabbit is the mother of three: a bunny, a duckling, and a mouse. The book celebrates how each animal joined the family, the activities the family does together, and how each young animal is uniquely gifted. Repeated throughout is the idea that despite differences, the four are a real family who embraces their similarities and differences.

Zachery’s New Home: Zachery, a kitten, is removed from his biological family and placed into a foster home. His foster parents, a pair of geese, help Zachery deal with the emotions he faces and demonstrate love and acceptance.

Horace: Horace is a young leopard who is adopted by a pair of tigers. Horace becomes concerned with the physical differences between he and his parents, so one day he runs away to find a place where everyone looks like him. Though he finds a group of leopards to play with, he misses his parents and returns back to them, where his mother reiterates how much she loves him, spots included.

Stellaluna: Stellaluna is a young bat who gets separated from her mother and lands in a tree. She’s welcomed into the nest of a bird and her babies, where Stellaluna is both welcomed and excluded. Stellaluna faces many challenges and adventures in this engaging story. For film fans, there is an animated version of the story available on DVD.

The Little Green Goose: Mr. Goose lives on a farm among many parent and baby animals. He longs for a child to call his own. He adopts an egg, but to his surprise hatches a baby green dinosaur! This book focuses on adoptive fatherhood, as well as transracial adoption.

A Blessing From Above: An over-crowded nest of birds results in one baby bird falling from the nest and into the pouch of a kangaroo. The kangaroo is overjoyed, having yearned for a child to call her own. Goldenbook’s message conveys the beauty of transracial adoption.