Sunshine and Lily were too young to remember much of our move from Alberta to BC four and a half years ago; Sunshine was two and a half, Lily four months. Our move this summer meant a new house, but because we stayed in the same area, it meant relatively few changes in terms of friends or church. While they are now familiar with the house-hunting and moving process, I think the next move might be the toughest for them. We’ll all be making new friends and finding our way around a new city.
Min’s Move: A Story for Families Moving Abroad is the story of a little girl whose mom gets a job in China. Suddenly her family is picking up and moving halfway around the world, to a strange new place with strange new food and strange new words. While we aren’t moving quite as far as Min, I’ve enjoyed reading this book with the girls over the last few weeks as a way to talk about our upcoming move.
The story is written from Min’s perspective, from the day her parents tell her that they are moving through the weeks leading up to the move and then the first months in their new home. Min goes back and forth between excitement and fear, playing with her old friends while asking questions about her new home. One page in the story explains how the moving men pack up Min’s stuff and get it all across the ocean to her new home. Other pages talk about some of the things she’ll discover in China that are different from where she lives now.
Min’s Move features hand-drawn, whimsical pictures of Min’s world as she processes this move. The story itself does a good job of getting into a child’s perspective, her confusion over what’s going on and showing her stuffed panda on nearly every page. I was actually surprised at how much information was contained in a very engaging the story. The book is fairly long, yet there’s lots to see and talk about on each page. Sunshine and Lily enjoyed the story so much they had their babysitter read it onto their Sparkup so they can listen to it whenever they want.
The last pages in the book include “Did you spot…?” pictures for kids to find in the book and a list of questions to get your child thinking more about the story. There are also tips about moving from the psychologists who helped write the book. Because we’re simply moving between two cities separated by a ferry, the girls have been able to come with us on house-hunting trips and have already seen the house we’ll move to as well as the church we’ll go to and a park near our house. If that’s isn’t possible, Min’s Move suggests taking pictures to show children of where you’ll be going.
In general, I think this book helped me better understand the process of talking through the move with the girls. My husband and I are busy figuring out the logistics of the move—rental prices vs. mortgages, moving company rates, giving notice, changing utilities, etc.—but the girls need time to process all the changes as well. Sunshine has already figured out that we’ll be a bit closer to Grandma and Grandpa in our new house and that we should have a goodbye party, but she’s also commented that she’ll miss all her friends here and she doesn’t want to move.
Min’s Move was written and illustrated by the team at MoveHub, with advice gained from four psychologists. MoveHub helps individuals and families move abroad, providing information about international cities and matching people with international moving companies. Drop by the website to find more tips on moving with kids or to grab your own copy of Min’s Move.