What to Read When Moving House


Moving day is coming, but we aren’t really making any major changes – same school, same town, and, crucially, same library. It has me thinking of my third grade creative writing essay that I shamelessly plagiarized from an episode of Nickelodeon’s Doug. Spoiler: the BFF isn’t moving far away as feared, just moving into the basement bedroom. No big deal after all.

We have friends, though, who are doing the real deal move, the let’s cross multiple state lines and change jobs, day care, neighbors, house, and donut shop (donuts are very important to Asbys and Asby affiliates). This friend has requested a post about books for moving, STAT. Apparently her son’s teachers accidentally spilled the beans, and he came home saying something like, “I moving, Mama?” Aunt Meg to the rescue!

The following books will be helpful in processing any move, big or small, and are certainly worth plagiarizing. But don’t. Seriously, third-grade-Meg. That’s not cool.


Mabel and Sam at Home by Linda Urban and Hadley Hooper

This one is lovely on all fronts. The siblings manage to be both real and ideal, a perfect book for modeling sibling affection without hitting your kid over the head with it. The book addresses fears about moving very subtly, enough that if your kid is having those feelings, they are reassured, but if they aren’t, then the book won’t introduce any negativity into the move. I can’t get enough of Mabel the tour guide, introducing Sam to all the “artifacts” after he says things look different in the new house. This one will make adults chuckle and kids immediately jump into a pretend play marathon. It’s a winner for sure.


For more sibling sweetness in a longer picture book that also addresses moving, try Dear Sister, an Asby favorite.


The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones

The illustrations! The imagination and bravery of the protagonist! The introvert-positive perspective! So much to love here.


Zola’s Elephant by Randall de Seve and Pamela Zagarenski

Another beautifully illustrated book of imagination and friendship.


The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez

With poetic prose, colorful illustrations, and a willingness to put words to the difficulty of starting a new school, of feeling different and new, this almost universally adored book is perfect for a child experiencing anxiety about starting a new school or for teaching inclusion to kids who have lived in the same place since the beginning of time.


My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood

A lovely book about moving to a new country, with a new language. If you are looking for more books about big moves like this, try The Name Jar or Mustafa or Good-Bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong. 


Florette by Anna Walker

Perfect for a rural to metropolitan move, this gorgeously illustrated book is for city-lovers and garden-lovers alike.


Geraldine by Elizabeth Lilly

This one addresses new school fears, but because the characters are anthropomorphized animals, it can give enough distance for a child worried about a new school to engage with the story. It may be easier to read about a giraffe who feels awkward and unusual in a new school, than to read about another kid who feels that way.


I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoet is a wordless story about being an ally, about the power of simply walking alongside a new student. This book’s focus is on the power of allies, not necessarily the new student in her own right, but it is an excellent tool for teaching empathy and kindness.


Ira Says Goodbye by Bernard Waber

A classic for good reason, this one is told from the perspective of the friend who is left behind.


Before I Leave by Jessixa Bagley

This one is also about friends being separated, and how to deal with change.


Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by the fabulous Judith Viorst and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser in the style of Ray Cruz

Another classic, this one told from the perspective of the mover, in Viorst’s sassy style.


Moving House by Mark Siegel takes the whole “moving house” business quite literally.


Lenny and Lucy by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead

The Steads always deliver perfection, and this is no exception.


Whether you are packing boxes or staying put, enjoy these books that celebrate bravery and inclusion, but most of all, are just fun to read.





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