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Betty Jean Lifton (1926–2010)

Author of The King of Children

28+ Works 505 Members 5 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Betty Jean Lifton (1926-2010) was a writer and counseling psychologist. She was a leading advocate of adoption reform, and her widely read adoption trilogy includes Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. She was also author of Return to Hiroshima and Children of Vietnam. She was show more married to the psychiatrist and author Robert Jay Lifton. show less

Works by Betty Jean Lifton

Associated Works

Cricket Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 4, December 1974 (1974) — Contributor — 3 copies


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Lifton, Betty Jean
Other names
Lifton, B. J.
Date of death
New York, New York, USA
Place of death
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Places of residence
Staten Island, New York, USA (birth)
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
New York, New York, USA
Tokyo, Japan
Hong Kong
New Haven, Connecticut, USA (show all 9)
New York, New York, USA
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Wellfleet, Massachusetts, USA
Barnard College (BA ∙ English literature|1948)
Union Institute (PhD|Counseling Psychology|199?)
therapist (adoption)
adoption reform activist
children's book author
Lifton, Robert Jay (husband)
Short biography
Betty Jean Lifton was born Blanche Rosenblatt in New York City to an unmarried couple who gave her up for adoption. She was raised in Cincinnati by adoptive parents. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Barnard College in 1948, and decades later earned a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the Union Institute. In 1952, she married Robert Jay Lifton, a psychiatrist who became an influential author, with whom she had two children. While living with him in Japan in the early 1960s, she developed a passion for Japanese culture and folklore, and wrote many children’s books, including Kap the Kappa, Joji and the Dragon, The Rice-cake Rabbit, and The Dwarf Pine Tree. After the family returned to the USA, she spent many years tracing her birth mother, which sparked a second career as a pioneering advocate of open adoption and adoption reform. She lectured widely on adoption and wrote a trilogy of nonfiction books on the subject, including her own memoir, Twice Born: Memoirs of an Adopted Daughter (1975). She also worked as a therapist, specializing in adoptees and their families.



I really like this book because it dealt with the reality of kids wanting to know their OWN story. I'm still frustrated I'm having trouble finding Easy books about older kids being adopted. There are going to be little kids, who are maybe in foster care, hoping for their forever family. I haven't found any books for those kids. I'll keep looking. Aside from that, this was a great book about adoption. It addressed birth parents. It might not be a good book for a family that the birth parents don't want any contact. But if there was an openness to the adoption, this could be a good book to start that conversation.

Reading Level: 2.7 Interest Level: Preschool
… (more)
TaraKennedy | Apr 21, 2015 |
This book provided me an excellent education on what adoption is like - from the adoptee's perspective. Being a birth father who has recently reunited with my biological daughter, the info in this book revealed insights to me that I had never before considered; and, it has given me new ideas on things I can discuss with my daughter in the future. My heart's desire is her wholeness, and I hope that I can be instrumental in bringing her to that point. I strongly recommend Journey of the Adopted Self for anyone who is a birth parent, an adoptive parent, and of course, an adoptee. Incidentally, I was saddened to learn that Betty Jean Lifton had died about two years ago (in late 2010). I would love to have gotten in touch with her.… (more)
PlantStrong | Feb 8, 2013 |
I found this biography very well-written, detailed and moving. Janusz Korczak is barely known in the West today, and those who have heard of him usually only know of the manner of his death: he followed the children in his orphanage to Treblinka rather than abandon them and save his own life. But there is a lot more to Korczak than the way he died, as this book shows. You really get a sense of the "whole man," and the times in which he lived. He was a brilliant doctor, pedagogue, children's writer and humanitarian, and he was also very eccentric, prickly with most adults, and had a highly developed sense of humor. The world needs more people like Korczak, and more biographies like this one.… (more)
meggyweg | 2 other reviews | Mar 6, 2009 |
Biography of Janusz Korczak who accompanied 200 children from Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka; all died
Folkshul | 2 other reviews | Jan 15, 2011 |


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