Books for Kids about Moving

When we left the US, my kids were 9, 6, and not-yet-born. We’re returning with a 15-year-old, a 12-year-old, and a nearly 6-year-old, each of whom will be facing the emotional and physical upheaval, all the challenges and changes associated with leaving here and starting somewhere new. New schools, new people, new rules, new climate, new almost everything.

When I face any challenge or change in life, I turn to books. Sometimes it’s purely for escape and other times it’s for answers, advice, or ideas of how to cope. So I’m making my book list. Here’s what I’ll be checking out at my local library or buying:

Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst. This is for the 4-8 crowd, and it consistently comes up with great reviews on lists of books about moving. Like Alexander, my daughter is adamantly opposed to moving, so I hope this book will offer her a relatable character and potential upsides to moving.

Moving by Fred Rogers. Written for preschoolers, this one may already be a little young for my daughter. But it’s by Mr. Rogers. Nuff said.

The Moving Book: A Kid’s Survival Guide by Gabriel Davis. This is non-fiction, which will appeal to my 12-year-old son. It looks to be for the 8-12 crowd, making it a little young for him, but WRITER ALERT!! There is a serious dearth of books about moving written for adolescents and teens!! Quick, write some more!! The book deals with both the practical and emotional aspects of moving. Again, this one appears on many moving day lists.

Moving Day by Ralph Fletcher. Written as a series of poems by a 12-year-old boy who is facing a move, this one also may be a little young for my own son. It seems to focus on the emotions associated with saying goodbye to the old rather than on those hello to the new. 

The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve been pushing these books on my 12-year-old for years because I just know he’d love them. He’s an outdoorsman, born to camp, fish, climb trees, and cook over an open fire. At this point, he may be a little old for them, but I started re-reading the series about a year ago and fell in love all over again. And man, that family is tough. When they move house, they MOVE HOUSE. They don’t have Skype or email or phones or plane tickets for visits home. When the Ingalls say goodbye to their grandparents in the big woods, it’s a forever goodbye. Kind of puts my own pain into perspective.

Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume. School Library Journal says this is for kids in grades 6-10. Tony is 13 and dealing not only with a family move, but also with the onset of puberty. This might hit close to home. I’m curious to find out if this book, first published in 1971, stands the test of time. I think it will. After all it’s by the incomparable Ms. Blume, writer of books kids need to read.

The Year My Parents Ruined My Life by Martha Freeman  Sixth grader Kate moves with her family from California to Pennsylvania, and hates everything about her new life. She makes a disastrous trip by herself back to California, and (not much of a spoiler) makes peace with the change. As she should. As you want your own kids to. The reviews are mostly good. I expect it will be relatively light-hearted and fun to read.

Military Kids Speak: Celebrating the Way You Think about Being a Military Kid by Julie Rahm. I’ve tended to stay away from military books. Although we used to be a military family, I’ve never been good with the rah-rah, it’s all for the greater good, sacrifice and stiff upper lip stuff. However, this book intrigues me. It starts with a collection of essays written by military kids aged 10-16. They discuss the tough stuff about moving all the time, but also the perks. The second half of the book is a collection of interviews with famous former military kids. Role models! Of which I am not one. I can’t even quite fathom what it’s like to be my oldest son, who at 15 is facing his seventh move. He’s lived in four American states and four countries. I didn’t even fly on a plane until I was 19.

Club Expat: A Teenager’s Guide to Moving Overseas by Aniket Shah and Akash Shah. Another non-fiction offering, this book is written by a couple of teens who have traveled the world with their family. The reviews are positive, and it sounds like a decent offering for my 15-year-old.

The Year My Life Went Down the Loo by Katie Maxwell. 16-year-old Emily is forced to move with her family from Seattle to a small English village for a year. This mirrors – sort of – what we did two years ago, and I’m pretty sure my own teen (13 at the time) would have related to the title if nothing else. It sounds like a funny, lighthearted, upbeat read, and sometimes when you’re going through a tough transition, that’s precisely what you need. Escapism is good. 

So what did I miss? Do you know any great books for dealing with moving?

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An Interview with Jennifer Gooch Hummer

I read the fabulous YA novel, Girl Unmoored, last summer and fell in love with the main character Apron, her story, and author Jennifer’s gorgeous way with words.

Girl Unmoored

Tell us about Girl Unmoored.
Girl Unmoored is about a teen girl growing up Maine who is drowning in a sea of grief after the loss of her mother. Until she meets Jesus. Not the real one, of course, but the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ Superstar. Mike and Apron and Mike’s boyfriend, Chad, become Apron’s new family and in so doing save her.

Apron is thirteen years old in 1985, when AIDS hit mainstream awareness. Did you sit down to write a story about an eighties teen?
No. I started writing the beginnings of this book when I was ten years old. It took until I met my real-life friend Mike, to find Apron’s story. I had her character all along, but I needed more than just Apron’s heartbreak at her mother’s death. I met Mike in the late 80’s which was just when the AIDS epidemic hit America.

What is the writing process like for you? Do you know where your story will go from the beginning? In other words, are you a plotter or a pantser?
For me, the toughest part of the writing process is the first draft. I live in fear of the blank page. So I allow myself to do what the great Anne Lamott always prescribes to other authors: write the worst first draft you could possibly write. Then, once I have the horrid first draft, the real writing begins.

I’ve read that next up for your readers is a middle grade fantasy. Can you tell us about it? 
Yes, middle grade fantasy is next. It’s a fairy-ish tale that will be a trilogy. Writing a fantasy was much different than writing contemporary fiction. I’ve learned so much about the importance of story world with this project. Writing about a place I’ve actually stood in, smelled and breathed is second nature. Writing about a completely made-up world that’s never existed in anyone else’s mind but mine really tested my dedication to the story.

Where do you get your inspiration? How much of Apron, Mike and your other characters are drawn from real life?
When people ask me this question about inspiration, I can never come up with the right answer. Whatever it is that inspires me to write, or an athlete to compete, or a painter to paint, is kind of magical I think. I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. Always. I have three daughters and a husband and I dedicate myself to them completely. But I have to write and they know it. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t have to write… all that time I could have to do other things. But after three days away from writing I’m lost and confused. The world is weird; writing is my safe haven.

What are you reading right now?
I can’t read fiction when I am writing or even rewriting a book. I just don’t want someone else’s storyline to creep into mine. So I read memoirs or nonfiction. But when I’m in between projects or awaiting notes, I read YA. I was a script reader for many years so I can read a book faster than I can make dinner. And I have a book blog so I am lucky enough to get books before they are published for review.

What authors inspired you to become a writer yourself?
Judy Blume was my first favorite author. That dates me, but unless you were in that era you can’t understand how crucial she was for us. She was the only author any one of my friends ever wanted to read outside of required reading. Next came Hemingway. His sentences read like music, his cadence is perfect. And now I am in awe of David Sedaris.

If you could take only one book to a desert island, what would it be?
Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue. Derivations of words and language and story mesmerize me. I just absolutely adore “the story” and all the elements within it.

The Avon Ladies in Girl Unmoored made me laugh out loud. How did I come up with them?
My best friend Jessica and I really were Avon Ladies exactly like Apron and Rennie. We went on search missions to find anything packaged in any of our mother’s make-up drawers or our families junk drawers. Then we would go door-to-door with our products, rain or shine. We mapped out good customers and steered clear of the bad ones. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories.

You can find out more about Jennifer at her official website: jennifergoochhummer.com

An Interview with Rebecca Phillips

Rebecca Phillips is the author of young adult novels, Just You and Someone Else. She is also the the author of a YA 2012 ABNA finalist, Out of Nowhere.

Just YouSomeone Else

Someone Else is a sequel to Just You. Will there be another book about Taylor Brogan someday?

This is the question I get asked most often from readers. Enough people want a number #3 that I’m seriously considering writing one in the near future. In my mind, #3 will be a New Adult, taking place in college, and it may be from another character’s POV instead of Taylor’s. I think a book from Taylor’s friend Robin’s POV would be interesting.

Your bio says Judy Blume was a strong influence on you. Whom else would you list?

Judy Blume is definitely my first and strongest influence. Shortly after I discovered her at around age 10 or 11, I began writing my own YA novels (which were, of course, horrible). No other author struck me as deeply as Judy did until about 2003, when I discovered Sarah Dessen for the first time. Her books prompted me to start taking writing seriously. She made me think “Maybe I can make a career out of this too.” She was, and still is, a huge inspiration to me. I also admire John Green, Sara Zarr, Courtney Summers, Ruta Sepetys, Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, Laura Wiess, and Colleen Clayton. Just to name a few.

What are you reading right now?

I’m almost done with The Shift Omnibus by Hugh Howey, the prequel to his Wool series. Wool was one of the top three best books I read last year. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend it. I’m not a sci-fi fan at all, but I devoured these books. The writing is excellent and the story is unique and compelling. And I have to admire an author who loves his fans as much as Mr. Howey loves his.

If you could only read one book over and over for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This is like asking me to pick my favorite child. It’s impossible. If I have to choose, I’m going to cheat a little and pick a series. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve read it all the way through twice so far, and it’s so freaking long, it’ll keep me busy for several months.

Where do you get your ideas?

My imagination, past experiences, and the people around me. When I was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest last year, I was asked several times where I got the inspiration/idea for Out of Nowhere. I always had a hard time answering this, because there was no inspiration, really. I was lying in bed one morning and the idea hit me. In the book, the main character witnessed her father dying, she’s a hypochondriac, and she wants to be a doctor. My father is alive and well, I am most definitely not a hypochondriac, and I wouldn’t be a doctor if you paid me. Everything in that book was a product of my overactive imagination (and sometimes Google). But of course, there’s always a little part of me in each of my characters.

You can find Rebecca online on her website, www.rebeccawritesya.com, her blog, http://rebeccawritesya.blogspot.ca/, or her facebook, goodreads, amazon, kobo, or Barnes and Noble page.