BOOKS THAT HELP – MOVING HOUSE

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MARGARET’S UNICORN (Briony May Smith)

Sweet but not at all saccharine, Margaret’s Unicorn (Walker, 2021) is an enchanting tale of a family that moves to a cottage by the sea. Margaret is lonely and in need of a friend. Her whole world changes when one evening she finds the most adorable baby unicorn tangled in the weeds. Briony’s lyrical, singsong text is gentle and not forced. Her warm and outstandingly beautiful artwork will make everyone – young and old – wish for their own baby unicorn to care for. The combination of both invites the reader to follow Margaret as she slowly settles into her new home.

In spring, the unicorn finds his mother and leaves Margaret to be with his own kind, but by this time Margaret is ready to embrace her new life beside the sea. The story has a loving family with a grandmother involved, and a subtle teaching point about doing the right thing and letting go of something for the good of another. The story has a classic feel and the artwork on each and every page is magical.


THE COMET (Joe Todd-Stanton)

When Nyla has to leave to the city so Dad can get a job, the main character first person states that the new place is definitely not home. There aren’t hardly any stars to count and there are no sounds of the sea to fall asleep to.

But one night, Nyla sees a comet. She follows it and something magical happens. A tree grows and grows, showing her that together with her dad, she can make new memories and a new home in the city.

The Comet (Flying Eye, 2022) features luminously beautiful and detailed pictures that are a delight to pore over, with lots of things for little readers to spot. The artwork has a distinctive feel, almost like a graphic novel or animation stills. The storyline features a single parent family, with a takeaway of finding light in dark times. A great story to share with any child facing a big change.


MOONCAT AND ME (Lydia Corry)

Pearl is moving house and she is not looking forward to it. Mum tells her it will feel normal soon, but she isn’t sure. On arrival, a huge fluffy cat as bright as the moon appears outside Pearl’s window! Mooncat changes everything. Now Pearl doesn’t feel quite so small. In fact, she is bigger and bolder and braver. Before long, Pearl even feels ready to give her new school a try.

What is especially nice about Mooncat and Me (Two Hoots, 2022) – aside from the gentle first person voice, the Mooncat friendship and the gorgeously soft and bright illustrations – is the empowering ending. Even when Pearl can’t see Mooncat, she learns he is with her. Even when she doesn’t feel brave, she is, meaning there is no stopping her in her new home.

This book is perfect for children moving house and/or starting a new school, but also for any child who gets the wobbles from time to time.


ME AND MY FEAR (Francesca Simon)

The main character in Me and My Fear (Flying Eye, 2018) has a secret – a tiny friend called Fear who keeps the girl safe and helps her explore new things. But when the girl moves to a new country, starts a new school and doesn’t speak the language, settling in is difficult and the girl’s personified Fear stops her doing things like playing and joining in. Fear even stops her from sleeping and the main character feels increasingly sad and lonely. 

When a new boy reaches out, Fear shrinks and things improve. When the girl realises he has a secret fear too, their bond is strengthened. Things are still tricky at the new school – it takes time to adjust to big changes – but now the girl knows everyone has a little fear. 

This book shows children that fear is important for keeping us away from danger, but also empowers them to manage their worries and mental health. We are all afraid at sometimes.


LITTLE HOME BIRD (Jo Empson)

It’s time to fly south for winter but Little Bird is feeling sad about missing his home… until he has a good idea – he will take all his favourite things with him! Except, it’s hard to keep up with the other birds when he has a nest of heavy things to carry.

In Little Home Bird (Child’s Play, 2016) Little Bird’s belongings all find lovely new homes. For example, a dog is delighted with the stick and the berries suit the porcupine’s spines perfectly. When the birds eventually reach their summer home, Little Bird has none of his special things with him, but that’s ok… because there are lots of beautiful new things to discover and it will soon feel like home.

Delightful textures and colours from author-illustrator, Jo Empson, who does foliage and birds beautifully. Little Bird is an adorable main character who shows readers children that change, be that moving home, starting school or something else, can end up being a positive and exciting experience.

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