My colleague Maxie once told me that carpenters carry hammers, doctors carry medical tools to bring healing, but the tools of professors are books. As I have morphed from professor to “mommy professor” as Lydia calls me, this statement has stuck with me, and I have found that books are important tools to help our family.
I have written about books frequently for No Hands But Ours, and those articles are referenced at the end of this post.
Easy Chinese Recipes: Family Favorites from Dim Sum to Kung Pao – Lydia and I love to cook together. Our favorite Chinese cooking recipe book offers excellent advice and tips to cook authentic tasting Chinese food. We love to go to our local Asian food market, buy ingredients, and make a meal together. The book is not intimidating at all.
Moonbeams, Dumplings, & Dragon Boats – this book is an excellent resource for Chinese holidays, crafts, and recipes.
The Empty Pot – A kind reader of No Hands But Ours sent my family this beautifully illustrated children’s book with a great moral. It has quite simply become my favorite children’s story I have read, and I love that it takes place in China.
The Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters – This children’s book tells a fun tale of Lin and her pet dragon. The illustrations use Chinese characters in fun and creative ways, much like Chineasy.
Chinese Children’s Favorite Stories – Recommended for children in kindergarten to eighth grade, this book contains many stories of Chinese folklore.
Teaching About Differences
Both of my children have differences that are visible to others. Parents have often asked which books I recommend to teach other children about differences.
Different is Awesome – This is my children’s favorite book about differences. When my daughter was on the receiving end of some teasing at preschool, we used this book to educate others. The book is written by Ryan Haack, an adult who was born with a limb difference. The book teaches about a variety of differences in a positive, and kind-friendly way. I highly recommend this book to all parents, teachers, and librarians.
It’s Okay to be Different – The book has the reassuring message that it is okay to be different. I love that this book includes disabilities as well as a whole host of differences (adoption, divorce, feelings, etc.). The message is very inclusive, and is suitable for young toddlers and elementary ages. It is a great book about self esteem whether or not your child has special needs. However, this book is a great introduction to talking with your child about disability and special needs.
Lydia and I spend a lot of time at different clinics because of her therapies, and because of this, we meet lots of children with a variety of special needs. I often use this book as a script with Lydia when she asks a question or makes a statement.
We’re Different, We’re the Same – This book pertains to all kinds of differences with the Sesame Street characters we know and love.
Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon – Although this book is not about disabilities, it is a book about differences. Molly Lou Melon is a short little girl who has the voice of a bull frog and huge buckteeth. When she goes to a new school, she meets a boy who is a bit of a bully. This is a precious story about differences and treating people with kindness.
Adoption Books for Children
Let’s Talk About It: Adoption – Our favorite book about adoption is currently out of print, but is easily found online. It often bothers me that many of the children’s adoption books are written from the parents’ perspective, however, Fred Rogers does such a great job discussing adoption and the emotions involved. The book is very positive, and has helped my daughter begin to understand what adoption is. It is a great book and needs to be reprinted.
Horace – Horace is the sweet story about a little boy who is struggling because he looks different than his adoptive parents. The children’s book is a great read from transracial adoptive families. Though it is also out of print, it can be found used online.
Preparing Your Child for Surgery
The Surgery Book: For Kids – When the child life specialist met with our daughter to help prepare her for surgery, she was so impressed by how much Lydia already knew. The specialist asked us to please send them the list of books we read to our daughter to prepare her. Our daughter loves detail, and The Surgery Book delivers just that in a way that calms fears. The kindle version of the book is extremely affordable and was helpful to read from the iPad.
Teaching Social Skills
Social Skills for Kids – Though this book is written for much older kids, it has helped me with ideas to teach my gifted preschooler the social skills she needs. As she gets older, I only see this book becoming even more useful.
My Previous Articles about Books
If you would like to read some of my previous posts about books we love:
Tackling Food Issues: My Family’s Experience with Love Me, Feed Me – It is common for children adopted internationally to have food issues. In this post, I write about how the book Love Me, Feed Me changed mealtimes in our home. Five months later, it is still working and I still believe agencies should require waiting families to read this book.
Recommended Resources for Parents: Books – I am often asked which books adoptive parents should read to prepare for adoption. This is my list of favorite books, though I would also add Love Me, Feed Me to the list.
How Children’s Books Have Helped My Family – I have also found children’s books to be helpful with bonding and attachment. We recently adopted a little boy, and he first let me show him physical affection while reading one of the books in my post and giggled and giggled with delight. Both son and daughter consider these books winners, and I do too.
Creating a Book to Help Children in Transitions – I wrote about the book my friend Kelly wrote to help my daughter with all of the transitions we would encounter during our adoption trip to China to adopt her little brother. Kelly wrote an amazing post about how other families can easily create a similar book. This book could be easily modified for summer travel. Kelly includes the template for readers to download so that they can make their own.