George Lucas Educational Foundation
Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

14 Picture Books About Moving Away

Moving can be stressful for young children. The characters in these books are coping with a move and might offer comfort to students in similar situations.

May 14, 2024
LeManna / iStock

The end of a school year can be bittersweet. While there is excitement building about summertime activities, it’s also a time for saying “So long” to school day routines and “See you later” to friends and teachers. 

But what if a young child is moving to a new home, a new school, or a new country? The proclamation “See you later!” morphs into a question filled with concern: “See you later?”

For some children, moving is a repetitive scenario; for others, it is a unique event. Regardless of the frequency, moving puts a colossal strain on the social and emotional resources and reserves of a young child. Even when presented with what might be “new,” “better,” and “exciting,” young children see moving for who and what they will be leaving and losing. 

Further complicating matters is that parents or caregivers who typically serve as essential emotional support systems for their young children also feel tremendous stress during the moving process.

Coming to the rescue are 14 picture books featuring young children before, during, and/or after a move. Each story conveys an assortment of circumstances, challenges, and celebrations associated with moving. Reading these books offers the familiar platform of the read-aloud to assist young children and their families in potentially identifying, processing, and sharing their feelings associated with this time of big and little changes. 

14 Picture books about moving

Shine-a-Light My World: Moving, by Carron Brown and Manuela López. This book tells five family stories featuring children who move—each under a unique set of circumstances. In this series, the reader can hold pages up to the light or use a flashlight to reveal hidden pictures. (Preschool–grade 1)

Florette, by Anna Walker. Mae’s move to the city means she’s missing a garden and friends. When Mae finally spies a small plant peeking out of a sidewalk crack, she gently digs it up, transplants it, and finds that plants and friendships soon blossom. (Preschool–grade 2)

Goodbye, Old House, by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ann James. A young child says a series of goodbyes at her old house and celebrates her new home with a series of hellos. A corresponding teacher’s guide is available on the publisher’s website. (Preschool–grade 2)

House Finds a Home, by Katy Duffield, illustrated by Jen Corace. Moving is cleverly, uniquely, and sensitively told from a house’s point of view as families move in and out. (Preschool–grade 2)

A New Friend: One Book, Two Stories, by Lucy Menzies, illustrated by Maddy Vian. This uniquely designed side-by-side picture book is told from two children’s perspectives after a move. Together, both stories tell how new neighbors can become new friends. (Preschool–grade 2)

Paper Planes, by Jim Helmore, illustrated by Richard Jones. Mia and Ben are neighbors and best friends. Their favorite activity is making and flying paper planes. Before Ben moves, they exchange planes and sad goodbyes. With big dreams, hard work, and the post office, Mia and Ben continue to share paper planes. A corresponding activity sheet is available on the publisher’s website on the Resources tab. (Preschool–grade 2)

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Alea Marley. Harpreet celebrates each day by wearing colorful clothes, most especially his patkas. Harpreet moves to a new house, and the color drains from his wardrobe as he struggles to find joy and familiarity in his new home. Will making a friend bring back his colors? Yes! A discussion guide is available on the publisher’s website. (Preschool–grade 2)

A New Home, by Tania de Regil. One child is moving from New York City to Mexico City and another is doing the opposite. Both children worry about what they will miss in their new city, but the reader sees that both children will have many similar experiences in their new homes. A corresponding activity kit is available on the publisher’s website. (Preschool–grade 3)

Friends Beyond Measure: A Story Told with Infographics, by Lalena Fisher. This book is the perfect story for math-loving children who need help processing an upcoming move. A corresponding activity guide is available on the publisher’s website. Additional printable activities are available on the author’s website. (Preschool–grade 3)

Home Is a Window, by Stephanie Ledyard, illustrated by Chris Sasaki. A young girl who is moving discovers that home is more than a building. It is familiar objects, loving words and gestures, family gatherings, and daily routines. A corresponding teacher’s guide is available on the publisher’s website. There are additional activities on the author’s website. (Preschool–grade 3)

Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! by Cori Doerrfeld. This book of hellos and goodbyes features two friends who meet, play, and learn how to be fun and supportive friends. They also learn how to move forward to navigate a long-distance friendship when one friend moves away. (Preschool–grade 3)

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, by Meg Medina, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez. Evelyn and Daniella are neighbors and best friends, but now Evelyn is moving far away. If they will no longer be neighbors, will they be able to remain friends? Corresponding activity guides are available on the publisher’s website. (Kindergarten–grade 2)

Mabel and Sam at Home: One Brave Journey in Three Adventures, by Linda Urban, illustrated by Hadley Hooper. Mabel and Sam use their imaginations to have new adventures on moving day: They set sail in a packing box christened the good ship “SS Handle With Care”; they revisit their furniture touring their “New House Museum,” and finally they blast off into outer space, landing back home just in time for bed. (Kindergarten–grade 3)

Ten Beautiful Things, by Molly Beth Griffin, illustrated by Maribel Lechuga. Lily is going to live with her grandmother. Gram knows that Lily is apprehensive and suggests, “Let’s try to find ten beautiful things along the way.” And so begins an “I spy” road trip for Gram and Lily. A corresponding downloadable activity kit is available on the publisher’s website. (Kindergarten–grade 3)

(Some of the picture books included in the 2023 Edutopia article “12 Books About Bridging Language Barriers” also reference the theme of moving.)

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  • Pre-K
  • K-2 Primary

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