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Families Change

by Julie Nelson; illustrated by Mary Gallagher; Free Spirit; ages 4-10

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Every adoptive parent considers the question, “What do I say to my child about his birthparents or birth family?” Honesty comes harder if a child’s story includes negative details. Families Change: A Book for Children Experiencing Termination of Parental Rights will help adoptive parents in this situation.

Julie Nelson uses simple language to explain to a young child what happened in his or her family that led to a foster or adoptive placement. “When problems hurt kids, families need to change, so kids will be safe,” she writes. “A child’s family might change from a birth family to a grandparent family or a foster family or adoptive family.”

The beautiful illustrations and clear language can help parents start a tough conversation with very young children. Families Change is appropriate for all children who have made, or are facing, a transition to a new family.

Reviewed by Jayne Schooler, coauthor of Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past (Bergin & Garvey).

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