Usborne First Experiences: Moving House by Anne Civardi, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright. Published by Usborne Publishing
The Usborne First Experiences series is a great one to go to when helping your little ones understand changes or new situations. In this book, we are introduced to the Spark family who are getting ready to move house. Lots of the practical and big jobs to do with moving are covered in the story; measuring up, packing, removal vans and meeting new neighbours.
The illustrations are bright and colourful, instantly appealing with happy characters and lots of little details to look for. Readers who are familiar with Usborne books will recognise the little duck to spot on each page; a great feature as it gets children really looking at the pictures and will be sure to encourage further questions and discussions.
A fun and accessible book for young children with simple and straightforward so emerging readers can read this to themselves.
You can view more of the First Experiences series here.
Leon and Bob by Simon James. Published by Walker
Aside from all the practicalities, moving house to a new place can be a lonely experience, there are a lot of new emotions that children might find it difficult to process.
In this story, Leon has moved to a new house in a new town, his dad is in the army so for now it’s just him and his mum and he feels pretty lonely. Luckily, he has his friend Bob with him to keep him company. The only thing is, Bob is imaginary. But he certainly makes Leon feel less lonely, braver, safer.
Leon’s reliance on Bob highlights the insecurity that he feels and it is conveyed perfectly in the illustrations with most pages showing Leon on his own in large rooms with high ceilings. Despite the solitude of Leon, Simon James has used a warm palette throughout which gives the story an optimistic and hopeful feel. Leon may be lonely but I don’t think he is unhappy.
The ending of this book brings everything together beautifully, it is sure to bring a smile to your face every time you read it. There is also a great message in the story; sometimes situations can seem scary when you’re out of your comfort zone but they often turn out better than you thought and the results will be worth it.
Find out more about author and illustrator Simon James on his website here.
Little Home Bird by Jo Empson. Published by Child’s Play
Little Bird loves his home and all his home comforts. But when the weather starts to change and winter is on its way it’s time for the birds to leave and head for their warmer home in the south. Little Bird is sad and doesn’t want to go, so he comes up with a plan to take all his favourite things with him. But the journey is long, and as they make their way south he has to lighten his load.
The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous, every page is awash with beautiful watercolour paintings. As we follow Little Bird through different landscapes and changing seasons a different colour palette compliments the journey.
Jo Empson creates stunning imagery, full of texture that completely draw you in. It is hard to choose a favourite image as they are all wonderful but I find myself particularly drawn to the snow scene where the birds are flying over a mountain range. There is so much depth to this picture in the different shades of greys and white contrasting with the colourful birds, who appear tiny in the shadow of the great mountains.
This is a perfect story to share with children who are moving house or move between homes and at the end of the story Little Bird realises that he can be happy and feel at home wherever he his.
You can view more of Jo Empson’s work on her webiste here.
Topsy and Tim Move House by Jean and Gareth Adamson. Published by Ladybird
As with the Usborne books, we can always rely on these well-known twins to help support us through changes and new situations. In this book we see the family preparing to move house; packing boxes, sorting through their things and cleaning the house before they leave.
All is going well until they are on their way to the new house and their pet cat escapes from the car and goes missing. Topsy and Tim are very upset and despite stopping to look for her she is nowhere to be seen. Mum and dad, who are keen to get in to their new house, tell the twins that they will have to look for her later. When Topsy and Tim arrive at the new house they are too sad to enjoy the adventure of their new home.
Luckily, Dad drives back to the old house to find the cat waiting there. At the end of the story we see Topsy and Tim going to bed in their new bedrooms for the first time which rounds off the story perfectly of the whole move being a great adventure.
As with all the books in this series there is a nice puzzle at the end of the story and I love the endpapers of the illustration of the map of the village where Topsy and Tim live.
There’s lots more information and activities from Topsy and Tim on the Ladybird website.
Moving Molly by Shirley Hughes. Published by Red Fox (Random House)
A gorgeous book, as you’d expect, from the brilliant Shirley Hughes; this story follows Molly, the youngest of three siblings as their family prepare to move house. Molly had lived on a busy street in the town until they move to their new house in the countryside. She now has her own bedroom and a garden to play in at last, but finds herself feeling a little bit lost and lonely. That is until she discovers there are new treasures to be found in new places.
The book is beautifully told from Molly’s perspective, those little details that grown ups pass over but children take their time to wonder about are written into the text. My favourite of these comes once the family’s old house is empty, Molly notices a loose flap of wallpaper on her bedroom wall so she lifts it up and writes ‘M’. Then she immediately has a pang of guilt so tries to stick the paper back down with spit.
This is a perfect book for discussing moving house, young children will relate to Molly’s thoughts and feelings about her old house and her new one. The illustrations are wonderfully detailed and create a sense of adventure throughout. There is a great amount of detail in the illustrations portraying the thoughts and imaginations of the characters, a great way to encourage children to talk about the story.
You can view more of Shirley Hughes’s books on the Alfie website.
Home Tweet Home by Courtney Dicmas. Published by Templar Publishing
Home Tweet Home tells the story of a rather large family of swallows. There are ten brothers and sisters and the nest is pretty squashed. One night the two biggest, Burt and Pippi decide to go out looking for a bigger home so they will all be a bit more comfortable.
This brave sibling pair test out some rather questionable plots for their new house, including the back of a crocodile. Each new place they find is slightly hidden at first and then revealed in the illustrations on the following page. This makes for a lovely guessing game and a great way to learn the names of different animals.
The cartoon like illustrations make this a really fun read and there is something very funny about the slightly vacant expressions on the younger siblings in the nest too!
At the end of the book, Burt and Pippi decide that actually the best place to live is right back at home with their family. Even though the birds don’t end up moving house, it can help open discussions on what makes a perfect home, especially if you are taking your children to view many potential new homes. Hopefully, none on the back of a crocodile.
You can find out more about Courtney Dicmas on her website here.
My New Home by Marta Altés. Published by Macmillan Children’s Books
The last book in our list introduces us to a little raccoon who has just moved house and is not happy about it. Written from the perspective of a child, the text is simple and focuses on the fears that children will feel when they are unsettled by moving house. This is such a brilliant approach as it validates those feelings for children.
We see the raccoon starting a new school, making new friends and soon realising that there are plenty of new adventures to be had.
This book is beautifully illustrated with a palette of reds, browns and blues against a white background and with brilliant imagery reflecting the raccoons feelings. My favourite illustrations are the comparison of the raccoons old home on a sunny day and the new one in the rain. At the end of the book when the raccoon has made new friends and is enjoying the new house it’s still raining there, but the difference is the raccoon is happy.
We were really captivated by the illustrations. My eldest loved the box castle that the raccoon makes with the new friends at the new house. During a discussion about packing boxes for moving house he said rather matter of factly, “Yes and then we’ll make a castle of boxes with swords and shields just like in the book.”
So, once we’d moved and unpacked, that’s just what we did…
You can see more from Marta Altés on her website here.Follow @Acornbooks