Children’s Tales for Grownup Talks: Moving

Moving can be as difficult for little people as for grown ups. Here's a great collection of books to use as conversation starters!

Once upon a time, there was a girl. The girl’s parents brought her home from the hospital to a comfy brick house in a friendly neighborhood. The girl lived in that home for 17 years. The girl went away to college and eventually got married. The girl then went on to live in 11 different homes in her first 11 years of marriage. (Yep. You read that right. And, no, my husband is not in the military.)

People have frequently remarked that it’s good my daughters are still young (ages 6 and 3) because the moves wouldn’t be as hard for them. It’s true that children are resilient. It’s true that children usually have an easier time than adults making new friends.

But I learned early on that just because they’re young doesn’t mean they don’t feel the effects of the uprooting. Our moves have caused tears, and fits of heartbroken, angry screaming, and the arrival of an imaginary friend. We adults tend to underestimate the deep inner workings of children.

Moving can be as difficult for little people as for grown ups. Here's a great collection of books to use as conversation starters!{This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure. Thanks for supporting HSWOTW.}

Children and Moving

A move is exciting and scary and sad and happy all at the same time, even for adults. The benefit that adults have is (usually!) being able to see the big picture “why” and “how” of a move. A child’s perspective, especially a very young child, is much smaller. I liken it to an adult being able to see above the heads of a crowd while the child is just staring at a sea of knees.

Your home is their entire world. Suddenly, that world is being taken apart and put into boxes. The routine and familiarity they thrive on is thrown to the wind. There are new faces and new stores and new parks and new bedrooms.

If your family, or one you are close to, is facing a move, whether across the country or just to a new neighborhood, here are a handful of books that can help your little ones catch a glimpse of the bigger picture. As you read together, imagine that you’re putting your kiddos up on your shoulders so they can see above the crowd too.

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: Moving – by Fred Rogers

Moving can be as difficult for little people as for grown ups. Here's a great collection of books to use as conversation starters!Who better to help children understand a move than Mr. Rogers? This is a great book for children who are of the “Just the facts, ma’am” variety. In his trademark gentle way, he discusses all the practical aspects of a move — packing, loading the moving truck, unpacking, settling in — as well as the emotional ones — cranky parents, leaving friends, exploring new places. This book is out-of-print and a bit pricey to purchase, but it’s worth finding out whether your local library has a copy.

All the Places to Love – by Patricia MacLachlan

Moving can be as difficult for little people as for grown ups. Here's a great collection of books to use as conversation starters!This book isn’t specifically about moving. However, through beautifully crafted words and pictures, it tells the story of a young boy being introduced to all the places that make his home “home” and, later, him passing on that love of home to his baby sister. Your house and your town come to be like members of the family, and children need a chance to say good-bye to them.

After you read this book, help your child create a list of all the places he loves. If possible, give him a chance to visit each one a final time. Take a picture at each place and create a “Places to Love” collage that he can hang in his new room.

My New York – by Kathy Jakobsen

Moving can be as difficult for little people as for grown ups. Here's a great collection of books to use as conversation starters!Part of the fun of a move is exploring your new city and finding new places to love. You may not be moving to the Big Apple, but the premise of this book could work anywhere on the planet. A girl and her mother move to NYC. The mother promises to take her daughter on an “expedition” every week to wherever the girl wants to go, as long as the girl figures out how to get there.

Pair this book with one about your new city or state. Allow your child to make a list of places she’d like to visit, and then help her use a physical map (old school, I know!) to plan a route to get there. If your child is especially young, you can even draw a simple map to a nearby park or library.

Lenny & Lucy – by Philip C. Stead

Moving can be as difficult for little people as for grown ups. Here's a great collection of books to use as conversation starters!A move knocks a child’s world off its axis. They can’t always express their emotions verbally, so they may become extra clingy or whiny, regress in toilet habits, or create an imaginary friend. (This was my oldest daughter’s coping method of choice!) The book is written by one of my favorite author/illustrator, husband/wife duos.

It opens with Peter, his dad, and his dog driving along a bumpy road through dark woods in a car overloaded with their belongings. Peter says, “I think this is a terrible idea.” Like many children in new surroundings, Peter feels scared and alone. His new home and the woods around them are like strangers, not members of the family, to him.

He creates a giant stuffed creature named Lenny to protect him and help him cope with his fears. Your children may be a bit off-kilter after a move.  Give them grace. Give them extra snuggles. Give them marshmallows. (Read the book!)

Sophie’s Squash Go to School – by Pat Zietlow Miller

Moving can be as difficult for little people as for grown ups. Here's a great collection of books to use as conversation starters!One of my biggest pet peeves with most children’s books about moving is that they end with the main character arriving at his new home/school/park and immediately meeting his new best friend. This book humorously bucks that trend.

Sophie is perfectly content with her old friends…who happen to be two squash named Bonnie and Baxter. Her new classmates invite her into their activities (a great lesson about how to welcome a child who has just moved), but Sophie resists. Slowly (the key word here!) she comes around and learns, “Sometimes growing a friend just takes time.”

(I also highly recommend the prequel, Sophie’s Squash”. My husband laughed out loud reading it to our kids. It’s awkward when your best friend starts to rot.)

Ben Says Goodbye – by Sarah Ellis

Moving can be as difficult for little people as for grown ups. Here's a great collection of books to use as conversation starters!This is a unique book in that it’s not about the child who moves away. Instead, it tells the story of the friend left behind. Ben’s best friend is moving, and his family tries to comfort him in a variety of ways – You can visit during the summer! You can talk online! We’ll play with you!

Ben chooses to cope with his sadness by becoming “Caveboy” under the kitchen table. There he creates drawings recounting all the adventures he and his friend had together. When he’s ready, he emerges from his cave and rejoins the family. If your child is the one left standing on the curb waving goodbye, this book is a must-read.

How about you? What are some ways you’ve helped your child cope with a move? Are there any books that you found to be helpful?

Sarah Moulson

Sarah Moulson

Sarah Moulson was born and raised in Arizona but recently traded the dry heat of the desert for the not-so-dry heat of Virginia. She and her pastor husband, Steve, homeschool their two daughters (ages 6 and 3) and tolerate their sweet, but stinky, dog. Sarah used to work as an elementary teacher, but now she volunteers as a school librarian because she can't think of a better way to spend a day than with kids, books, and alphabetizing.
Sarah Moulson

Latest posts by Sarah Moulson (see all)

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge