Let's Move Together

Let's Move Together by Carol M. Schubeck is a children's book aimed at perhaps mostly eight years old and younger kids facing a move with some concerns over leaving a familiar home and comfortable friends.

Told through the eyes of Tom Turtle (with his shell home on his back he “moves” house all the time, get it?) and Eli the Elephant, the book tries to identify and shape a child's feelings. It is a well-done take on this common moving theme, and would be a good way for a parent to address his/her child's fears over an upcoming move.

Structure

The book divides up its 46 colorful pages into three sections: Feelings, Thoughts and Actions.

Feelings helps put words (happy, sad, angry, disappointed, nervous) to what your child might be feeling about the move. We found that when our own kids were younger (we have lived with them in six countries), they often could not articulate what was going on in their heads or in the pits of their tummies, and teaching them words to express their emotions about the move was a helpful thing.

Thoughts helps prepare the child for a new location, asking him/her to think about what might be the same about the new school, and challenging the child to think about how people might greet each other, or play together, at the new location.

Actions is where the money, with simple suggestions a parent can build on for the child to undertake before, during and just after the move. For example, beforehand the child can create a treasure box, with special items from his/her old home as a way of remembering what is being left behind. After arriving, the book encourages the child to invite him/herself to sit at a new lunch table, or hang up some special items from the old home on a new wall, as a way of adjusting. Handled well, this section should spark some discussion between parent and child and give both some tools to use at the new location.

The Illustrations

Each page is a large, softly colored illustration by Thai artist Rinna Clanuwat. The tone is calming, with crayon and ink on rough textured paper. I like the fact that the illustrations are “cartoons” without looking like, well, cartoons.

What the Expert Says

By expert in this case I mean my eight year old daughter, herself a veteran of several international moves. Here's what she said:

“The book is excellent, spicy with hints of old musk that complement the bouquet…” Wait, no, she didn't say that, and put down Daddy's glass. Here's what she really said:

“I liked this book a lot. I think it is best for little kids, like maybe second graders or kids in kindergarten, because it uses pretty simple words and animal cartoons. When we moved I was sad about leaving my friends and my teacher and maybe this book would have made me feel better then.”

Some Thoughts from the Author

The author has used her book in working with children of varying ages, and offers these thoughts:

  • Children who are in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades respond rapidly to the suggestions.
  • Children who have moved frequently find the 3rd or 4th move more troublesome despite the age
  • Children with special needs respond to the book well up to age 11
  • Teens and Adults have focused on pages that draw out unfinished areas of moves from their past.
  • So, while the book is geared to ages 4-9, the universal appeal of unresolved moves is ageless.

Conclusion

Let's Move Together is a fine book to help younger kids through a move. It is practical, well-illustrated and a just plain nice way for a parent and a child to work through some of the difficult thoughts and feelings that accompany any move to a new and unfamiliar place.

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