Literacy Resources

So much lies inside a good book!

At CaRES, we love reading! 

As part of the Alliance CaRES program’s ongoing effort to support you as you support the children or youth in your care, we love sharing book ideas across age ranges that tell stories on a variety of themes that can help children in foster care. 
Reading with a child strengthens the attachment between you. It’s also a great way to find an entry point for talking about and normalizing hard things, celebrating differences, and sharing values. Plus, of course, working on literacy and language skills!
Illustration of children reading

Books by Topic

“Once I Was Very Very Scared,” by Chandra Ghosh Ippen

A little squirrel announces that he was once very, very scared and finds out that he is not alone. Lots of little animals went through scary experiences, but they react in different ways. Turtle hides and gets a tummy ache, monkey clings, dog barks, and elephant doesn’t like to talk about it. They need help, and they get help from grown-ups who help them feel safe and learn ways to cope with difficult feelings.

This story was written to help children and grown-ups (parents, teachers, and other important adults) understand how stress can affect children and ways to help them.


“After the Fall,” By Dan Santat

Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?

Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall―that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most.

Will he summon the courage to face his fear?


“Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave,” by Jessica Hische

Journey through a world filled with positive and beautifully hand-lettered words of widsom, inspiration, and motivation. As this book reminds readers, tomorrow is another day, full of endless opportunities–all you have to do is decide to make the day yours.

“No Matter What: A Foster Care Tale,” by David Tieche and Josh Shipp

Josh was a squirrel without a family. Between the pelicans, the leopards, the otters, the snakes, and many more, no one seemed to want a squirrel like him. Josh didn’t want a family, either. He did everything he could to scare those families away first, but the elephants weren’t like other families. The elephants were very large and very patient, and they wanted Josh to be part of their family today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. When Josh takes his plans a little too far and gets into a sticky situation, will Josh finally be convinced that this family is his?


“A Day Or Forever, I’ll Love You The Same,” by Michelle Thompson

This book can be used as a tool to explain the process of foster care while strengthening connection to the child.


“Juniper Spark and the Dagger of Mirren,” by Courtney Woodruff 

Juniper Spark and the Dagger of Mirren was written to encourage families to dive into a read-aloud adventure together while helping spark better conversations to form deeper parent-child relationships. Book one of the Juniper Spark series touches on subtle themes of foster care and adoption to give children with relatable experiences an opportunity to see themselves reflected in new children’s book characters.

“Drawn Together,” by Minh Lê, Dan Santat

This book shows us you don’t have to speak the same language in order to build bonds.
This book offers great parallels between literally not speaking the same language and two people seemingly different enough they are not able to connect. A young boy and his grandfather struggle to communicate, until they find the connecting force of art. Looking for common interest with our foster children can be powerful for building connections.

“The Rabbit Listened,” by Cori Doerrfeld

This book explores relationships while learning the importance of just being there.

Have you ever told someone about your rough day, just needing to vent? Kids need that too, and sometimes the best support we can give them is just to listen. 


“The Invisible String,” by Patrice Karst

This book explores how we stay connected to the ones we love, even when we can’t be with them. 

This book is an amazing tool to help support foster youth as they struggle being apart from their families. Whenever our kids were feeling sad about being separated, we’d read this book to remind them of the bonds that connects us all to our loved ones.
* Please note this book mentions heaven.


“What Color is My World,” co-authored by NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Honor Black history with a story!

Did you know the ice cream scoop was invented by Alfred L. Cralle, a Black businessman, in 1897?

This book will enlighten your child with stories about 16 lesser-known but influential Black inventors in history. 

 “When We Are Kind,” by Monique Gray Smith and illustrator Nicole Neidhardt

This story beautifully weaves together simple language and stunning pictures to encourage children to be kind to others and to themselves. How have you been kind today?

The book is available in an English-Diné dual-language edition.

“Mango, Abuela, and Me,” by Meg Medina

This book shows us you don’t have to speak the same language to build bonds.

The story offers great parallels between literally not speaking the same language and two people seemingly different enough they are not able to connect. When a young child’s Abuela (grandmother) comes to visit, they struggle to communicate, until they start teaching each other their native languages. Looking for common interest with our foster children can be powerful for building connections.

This book is also available in Spanish: “Mango, Abuela y yo”

“Islandborn,” by Junot Díaz

This book walks us through a journey of discovery as Lola works to complete her class assignment about the island she and her family are from.

Maintaining connections and sharing about a child’s culture and family of origin is an important aspect of foster care. “Islandborn” is a great book to help children explore their memories and histories, both the beautiful and the complex.

The book is also available in Spanish: “Lola: Edición en español de Islandborn.”

“Me and My Fear,” by Francesca Sanna

It is scary to enter a new place where nothing is familiar. “Me and My Fear” is a great book to read to a new foster child to let them know that sharing your fear with others can help shrink its hold over you.

Learning Opportunities

Kids + Caregivers Story & Activity Hour

Check back for our next event!

Caregiver & Kids' Story & Activity Hour!

Topic Support Group: Using Storytime for Connection and Support

Reading with your children can do much more than support their academic growth! During this supportive facilitated discussion caregivers will discuss strategies they can use before, during, and after reading to build social-emotional learning with the children in their care. Caregivers will also collaborate to identify techniques they can use to increase attachment with their child through reading and story time. Whether it is picture books, a chapter book or a series, reading with the children in your home can lead to deeper attachment and improved social-emotional skills! 

Participants will also receive a pdf resource with book lists for various age ranges and topics. This training offers credit.

Topics covered include:

  • Caregiver Skills
  • Caregiver Support and Information
  • Child Development, Health and Well-Being, Education
  • Parenting

Register here

Supporting Youth with Free Books

If you are caring for children between the ages of birth up to five years old, they are eligible to receive a FREE book in the mail each month through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library! Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails high quality, age appropriate books to children each month, at no cost to the family. These books are carefully selected and personalized with the child’s name when they arrive in the mail.

Imagination Library flyer
The Alliance CaRES offices are closed Monday, September 4th, in observance of Labor Day. Thank you caregivers, social workers, and staff for all you do to care for families, youth, and children!