Most kids move at least once during childhood. Moving can can be a positive transition (perhaps to a bigger house, more space, a better job) or it can signify something unfortunate (loss of job, divorce, financial troubles). Whatever the reason behind the move, this is a transition that is felt deeply by children. Young people may find it difficult to understand the range of emotions associated with a move: from fear and sadness to resentment and anger to excitement and anticipation. Thank goodness for good books!
The bookstore (whether virtual or brick-and-mortar) can be a gold mine of practical and emotional support because books allow kids to tackle complex emotions from a comfortable distance; through the experiences of a fictional character.
But which books are best for kids coping with a move? To get some expert advice, I turned to the staff of the Children and Teens Division at the beloved Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington DC. While the mega-bookstores have been shuttering across town, Politics & Prose maintains a strong and loyal community following. This is a place where the staff actually love to read books and love to talk about books! And they can answer even the most random queries.
Politics & Prose Bookstore's Picks for Books About Moving For Kids (Big and Small):
Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move. In this book by Judith Viorst (author of many books, most notably the hilarious Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) writes about a young boy's anger and frustration at an impending move. Ages: 4-8.
Ira Says Goodbye by Bernard Waber. The author of Ira Sleeps Over and the Lyle the Crocodile books delivers a lovely, honest, and realistic portrayal of the mixed emotions a young boy feels when his best friend moves out of the 'hood. One of my kids' all-time favorite books. Ages 4-8.
My Best Friend Moved Away by Nancy Carlson. Wonderful, bold illustrations in this book about a kid coping with moving away from a neighborhood best friend. Ages: 4-7.
The Berenstain Bears Moving Day, by Stan and Jan Berenstain. I am not normally a big fan of these books, but some claim this one is pretty good. Ages: 4-6.
In the Growing Up series, Moving House, by Vic Parker uses photographs to explore moving. Ages: 5-7.
For older kids this staffer recommended: The Moving Book- A Kids' Survival Guide, by Gabriel Davis. It covers the whole range of emotions, from missing friends to new school jitters. Ages: 8-12.
The staffer noted that when it comes to fiction moving books for older kids, there are a few; "but as you might expect, they are rather angst-ridden and gloomy, don't usually have the most pleasing endings, and are maybe not the best for preparing to move! As much as I love Lizzie Bright and The Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt as a 'new kid in town' novel, for example, it may not be the best way to quell any nervousness about moving..."
Not available until October 2012, We Are Moving is one of the Little Critters series by Mercer Mayer. The P & P staffer I spoke to said "this book is great for boys. It really captures the resentment and mild passive aggression that boys will use to sabotage the moving experience." Ages: 4-8.
(Images: via Amazon as linked above and U-Haul)