Stories to Support a Child with an International Move 

By Lisa Davis

September is an exciting time to celebrate World Kid Lit, as it may be the first month in a new country for many children. It’s not uncommon for a move abroad to coincide with a new school year. While many children may find themselves in a new school or new city there are some children who may even find themselves in a new country. It’s a stressful experience for everyone involved, particularly younger members of the family, but it’s also exciting and filled with opportunity. So today, we’re looking at three picture books to support children who are preparing to move home.  

Just thinking about putting your most treasured belongings into a suitcase (and not knowing how all of them will fit) is a headache. But a suitcase can be presented as a game for exploration.  

Inside the Suitcase

Written & Illustrated by Clothilde Perrin
Translated by Daniel Hahn
Translated from French [France]
Published by Gecko Press

Inside the Suitcase is an interactive lift-the-flap book that shows a child packing their suitcase for an imaginative adventure. Each item that’s packed is used as different challenges arise, and a few more items are added to the suitcase on the way. Of course, this journey is a little more adventurous than children will experience when moving house (like needing to distract a monster in a forest with a cupcake), but this book can help start those conversations about what you want to pack for a big move. More importantly, it ends with a message of how all we truly need are memories, not things. 

Once the suitcases and boxes are all packed up, a child might wonder how they’re going to make it all the way to their new home – their next stop. 

Rapido’s Next Stop

Written by Jean-Luc Fromental
Illustrated by Joelle Jolivet
Translated by Antony Shugaar
Translated from French [France]
Published by Harry N. Abrams

Rapido’s Next Stop is the perfect way to explore the purpose of delivery vehicles. At the start of the book, several packages are packed into a van, and the driver needs to deliver all of them. On every page the van travels to different places, each that are expecting a parcel, providing hints at what might need to be delivered. This rhyming book also features flaps to lift so children can guess what needs to be delivered before finding out. It may seem like it’s just a fun activity, but it provides an opportunity for a child to get excited about deliveries and packages going somewhere else.  

Finally, when you get to that new home, it may be very different from your previous home. Many families moving to cities may find themselves living in apartment buildings for the first time, or at least confronted by new neighbours.  

The Neighbors

Written by Einat Tsarfati
Translated by Annette Appel
Translated from Hebrew [Israel]
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers

The Neighbors lets a child start to imagine all the different lives happening behind the other doors in their apartment building. By taking a playful approach, the unknown can become exciting rather than scary – and perhaps even give children a reason to look forward to a busy apartment block or new neighbourhood. (Although it’s likely your children will be disappointed if your neighbours have a more boring lifestyle than they imagined!)  

Moving abroad can be stressful but is such a rewarding experience. We hope these books inspire children to get excited about their move, whether it’s just down the road or across an ocean, and that your suitcase gets filled with happy memories.   

Meet Lisa Davis

Lisa Davis is a children’s book editor, publishing consultant, and the founder of Story Post, a children’s book subscription service for English-speaking families in the EU. Originally from Ohio, USA, she lived and worked in London for nearly a decade, and currently lives in Munich, Germany. She spends most days working in her office with her assistant Cosmo, a cat who spends his afternoons sleeping in bookshelves, and in her free time enjoys riding her bike around Munich, sampling pâtisserie, and attempting to paint (typically pictures of Cosmo).