Being a military family, my children have had to move a lot, and say good-bye to more friends than most people do in their entire lives. As an adult, saying good-bye to friends is difficult as it is, and though my children are resilient; it’s always been important to me to help them cope with saying good bye to friends who often times feel like extended family. One of the tools I use is books. What follows is a list of books I keep in my “moving to a new place” or “when friends move away” arsenal to help my children through a new transition or deal with a friend’s departure. These books are great children’s books about moving and are geared for the younger child, and were enjoyed quite a few times by my boys during various stages of the moving or saying good-bye to friends process.
When Moving to a new place these books are great:
The Bernstein Bears’ Moving Day ages 3-8
This is the story of the Bear family’s move to their now-famous tree house in Bear Country. Would Brother Bear like it? Would he find new friends? He wasn’t sure until he got there.
When Marcus More Moved In – ages 5-9
In her lyrical prose and expressive pictures, Rebecca Bond captures the mixture of apprehension and curiosity that many children feel upon arrival at their new home, and celebrates the joy of discovering a new neighborhood and making a new friend.
I Know Here ages 4-8
The little girl in this story lives in a trailer near a forest in Saskatchewan, where her father is building a dam. She knows and loves everything about the place, but the dam is nearly finished, and when summer comes the family will move to Toronto — a city marked by a big red star on the map at school. “Have the people in Toronto seen what I’ve seen?” the little girl asks, thinking of her road, her school, the forest where she plays hide-and-seek and where the wolf howls at night, the hill where she goes tobogganing in winter… And with her teacher’s help, she finds a way to keep everything she loves about home.
Half A World Away ages 3-7
Amy and Louie are the best of friends. They build towers as high as the sky, they look for magical creatures in clouds, and they always greet one another with their special call: “Coo-ee!”
But when Amy’s family moves far across the ocean, the color drains out of their lives—until Louie finds a way to restore their special bond.
A perfect book for any friends separated by a move, this is the unforgettable story of a friendship lost and found.
These are great books to help your child cope with saying good-bye when friends move away.
We Are Best Friends ages 6-9
When his best friend Peter moves away, Robert has no one to play with, no one to fight with, and no fun at all. Then he meets Will — and finds he’s not the only one who needs a new best friend.
From building forts to sharing secrets to sitting together on the bus, best friends do everything together. So what do you do when your best friend moves away? Will you ever have fun again? Or will you be bored and lonely for the rest of your life? Perfect for coping with those best-friend-moved-away-blues, Nancy Carlson’s wise and heartfelt story eases the pain of saying goodbye, while reassuring young readers that they can make new friends even as they keep the old ones close to heart.
The biggest thing to remember when moving is to listen to your child’s worries, or fears, and not to downplay them. Reading children’s books about moving to your child, is a great way to open a dialogue and get your child to share what is in their hearts. Though they may be small, they’re capable of great emotion.
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