When we moved into our current home two years ago I searched for children’s books to prepare my 3-year-old son for the adventure. We were moving to a different house in the same town. Many of the books that I checked out at the library were about moving far away from friends and family. Other books gave too many examples of negative feelings that my son wasn’t experiencing. I finally found one that was just what we were looking for, Usborne First Experiences, Moving House. This book describes, in a very matter-of-fact way, the things that happen when a family moves from one house to another.
We recently had some friends decide to move out of state for a new job. This situation called for a different book. My now 5-year-old son, became upset when we looked on the giant laminated map in the play room to see just how far away his friends were moving. , I remembered a book I had gotten a while ago, A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.
After reading the story about the hermit crab who must move on to a bigger shell and leave his friends behind, my son totally “got it”. He said, “Oh, we should give this book to [our friends] G and L since they are moving.” He seemed to find the story very comforting and something about it just made sense to him. *Psycho-babble alert: Animals portrayed with human emotions and thoughts can often help children deal with complex and difficult emotions and/or situations.
Another great story about moving and change is, The Value of Adventure: The Story of Sacagawea by Ann Donegan Johnson. This book is part of the “Value Tales” series. These books are quite dated and use dated language that is not appropriate today. I simply re-read over some of the inappropriate words and replace them with appropriate words. For example, I say “Native American” when I see the word “Indian” in this story. In this story, Sacagawea continues to have a positive attitude about where she is being taken (against her will) and somehow manages to see it all as a grand adventure. This would be especially relevant for children since they usually don’t have much choice in the matter of a family move.
My final thought on this topic for now, is that books in general may be highly beneficial to children during a move or any other time of stress. Books are comforting. Being read to is comforting. Snuggle up on the couch and read books about moving with your kids. Reading the same books before you announce the move, during the moving process, and again when you arrive in your new destination would be helpful and comforting. It seems like the consistency of the same stories and pictures throughout the moving process would provide a sort of “emotional anchor”. If you read books that you and your children enjoy, and the stories are relevant to what you are going through as a family it would strengthen the ties that hold you together and have a calming effect on everyone.
An adventure awaits us. My husband and I have decided to relocate our family of five. We are going to move from ’round-a-bouts Sacramento, California to ’round-a-bouts Durham, North Carolina. For anyone who is a little fuzzy on geography that is basically from the Pacific side of the USA to the Atlantic! I like to think of our little band of adventurers as “backwards Pioneers”. In this theme, I’m adding an additional two book recommendations to my previous list:
Papa and the Pioneer Quilt by Jean Van Leeuwen, pictures by Rebecca Bond
The Elephant Quilt: Stitch by Stitch to California by Susan Lowell, pictures by Stacey McQueen
As you might guess, these two books are about pioneer families. One family travels from Pennsylvania to Oregon and the other from Missouri to California. My son really loved these stories. Well…., wait a minute perhaps I’m projecting a little. Let me correct myself, I really loved these stories! They made me feel better about the move! I was drawn to these books about pioneers and the stories really resonated with me. The stories are about leaving behind extended family, packing up your little clan, and setting out West (or East in our case). The stories are about feeling sad to leave behind everything your family knows and feeling excited about the prospect of what might be waiting at the other side. I think that these last two recommendations may have helped me more than the kids. Perhaps a beneficial side effect will be helping the kids to cope with the move too. Ho for North Carolina!
Here’s my top book recommendation for Camp Fire survivors and their kids. Tikvah Means Hope by Patricia Polacco.
This book is about a wildfire that destroyed many homes in Oakland, California in 1991. Whether your family is planning to rebuild or relocate, all Camp Fire survivors have been displaced. Camp Fire survivors were forced to “move” immediately and out of necessity, not by choice. I hope and pray that some of these book suggestions are helpful for you and your kiddos.
We ❤️ Paradise!
If you know of a book that others may find helpful, please consider leaving a comment below. Thank you for reading my blog!