You: Isn't this a website about Travel in the Northeast?
Me: We'll get there. (Both as a family and as a website.)
And, we're reading. Naturally, the Internet is a great source for book suggestions, and it didn't disappoint when I started looking for books for kids about moving. Here are our favorites:
Written by Norton Juster, Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
“Nobody had asked him about moving. They’d just told him. “You’ll love it,” they’d said. That’s what they always said when they knew he wouldn’t love something.
A boy finds himself, not by choice, in a new house and neighborhood. When his mom suggests he take a walk around, he’s surprised at the quest he finds himself engaging in - and those who join him in it. Our kids loved the twist ending. Engaging artwork and diverse characters make this a favorite of mine. We also love The Hello, Goodbye Window by the same author.
The New Girl… And Me
Written by Jacqui Robbins, Illustrated by Matt Phelan
Mia isn’t so sure about the new girl in class. What if Shakeeta punches her in the head, or sets her dinosaur/iguana on her? But when both girls are left off of the recess soccer team, Mia learns what it means to make someone feel at home.
Social anxiety? Drama? Being the new kid at school? Welcoming a new kid into your school? We can relate to these issues at our house for sure.
Two of a Kind
Written by Jacqui Robbins, Illustrated by Matt Phelan
As far as I can tell by the author’s website, she has written just two books. And both of them make this list.
We’re in a stage with our oldest where helping her wade through the social scene has become more challenging. This book doesn’t touch on moving, or even starting a new school, but the focus is on friendship, navigating cliques, and managing playground politics. And who couldn't use a refresher on those subjects as they're about to switch schools? Great for girls in the K-3 range, it touches on gossip, feeling left out, and how actions and words affect others. It opened the door for great conversation at our house! I also appreciated a very diverse group of characters.
Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move
Written by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
Classic Alexander. He was a favorite character of mine from childhood, but I didn't know this book existed until I started searching for kids books about moving. His brothers think he’s immature. His parents suggest saying goodbye to friends and places. But Alexander? He’s 100% certain he won’t be moving, even if it means sleeping in the treehouse indefinitely. But when he grudgingly starts to follow his parents’ suggestions, he starts to believe that moving might not be the end of the world.
Lenny & Lucy
Written by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
A Sick Day for Amos McGee, 2011 Caldecott Medal winner, was one of the first books we received as a gift when we were expecting our first child. It remains one of my favorites. Lenny & Lucy is a newer offering from the same author/illustrator duo, and features the same type of beautiful illustrations. The illustrator user primarily blacks and grays to evoke a sense of fear and trepidation for the unknown. The story follows Peter and his dog Harold, who move into a new house, one with a bridge to a spooky forest. They’re in need of some company – and someone to guard the bridge. So they get creative. As the New York Times puts it,
“Lenny & Lucy” reminds us that it takes a small army of companions, real and imaginary, to face the dark unknown."
A sweet story, but no Amos.
Written by Eve Bunting, Illustrated by Lauren Castillo
This story center's around the yard sale a family is having to pare down their belongings before a move. When Callie watches her toys and books get purchased by strangers, she starts to wonder if she's next.
Unlike other books of it's type, this one hints that the family might be moving due to difficult economic circumstances - a reality for lots of families. It's a story that makes clear that what matters most are the people you're moving with, not the stuff you're able to bring.
The Berenstain Bears' Moving Day
By Stay & Jan Berenstain
I would be remiss to leave this one off of the list. It's the obvious choice, a perennial classic. And it should be: it covers all the basic nuts and bolts of a move: packing up, saying goodbye, moving into a new place (a tree, no less!) and meeting new people. And all with the familiar Bear Family. It's straightforward and sweet, and helps to explain the various parts of the move experience to little ones. You can't NOT read this one to kids in the 3-5 range.
My Very-exciting, Sorta Scary, Big Move
Written by Lori Attanasio Woodring Ph.D.
I've talked about this one before - and it's not a picture book like the rest. But it bears mentioning again. Written for ages 5-11, it's an engaging space for children to share their thoughts and feelings about a move. Not only that, it goes on to provide easy-to-understand strategies for dealing with fears, worry, and anger. We tried "Big Belly Breaths" with our kids recently, which they definitely enjoyed. I'm confident we'll be consulting this book post-move for other ideas on handling the thoughts and emotions of our kids.
This workbook is written by a child psychologist, and it shows - in a very positive way. If you have a kid with ALL THE FEELINGS about a big move, I would definitely recommend it.