Help Kids Who Are Anxious About Moving and Keep Learning Alive During the Summer

 Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children. 

As usual, I have two or three items I need to mention first:

1.      The copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking that are being donated to libraries across the country were mailed out earlier this week.  Four went to Florida, three to California, two to Maine and Illinois and one each to New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  At least ten of the people who nominated their libraries were sent an additional review copy of Show Me How! .   Many thanks to all of you…I really appreciate your willingness to read through the book and review it!!!I’ll let you know when the reviews will be up on their blogs.

2.      The teacher-training program I did last Friday for the staff of our local Boys and Girls Club at their annual Youth Development Conference (Building Self-Esteem…One Picture Book at a Time), went really well.  One of the staffers shared his experience of falling away from reading at about age eight or nine and not returning to it for pleasure until his twenties.  He asked what advice I would give to teachers and parents who are trying to address this issue with kids, especially boys.  I suggested a couple of things:

  • Be seen reading by your kids
  • Encourage and help kids to find books that address their interests or passions
  • Try the “Passport Project”.  This is a great summer activity.  Make a “passport” from construction paper and talk about local “hotspots” you can all visit.  Each page of the passport book will be devoted to one of those places…zoo, museum, art gallery, national park, landmark or forest, factory (take a tour), etc.  After the visit, kids can write a short story and draw an illustration (or paste in a photo).  Parent or teacher can stamp each page (like a visa stamp) and when the book is completed, a special treat or prize is awarded (bowling, dinner at a fancy restaurant, new clothes).

If you have some good suggestions, please do share.  The summer is almost upon us and I know it is difficult to keep kids in a learning mode…but it is important to continue some of the educational activities and routines…otherwise they take two steps back during the summer.

And now to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection!

Friendships are very important to kids.  Studies done recently indicate that kindergarten children (especially boys) benefit from close positive relationships with other children their own age.   Parents can help by arranging supervised playdates and by attending library story-times and other community programs where young children have the opportunity to socially interact.

Moving disrupts those important friendships and most children are not enthusiastic about moving to a new neighborhood and attending a new school.  However, moving is a necessary part of many children’s lives. 

Here is a book that might help.


 Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move

Written by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz

Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (1998)

Ages: 4 – 8


Books for boys, common childhood experiences (moving), expressing emotions (anger, fear, anxiety), moving, pets.


“They can’t make me pack my baseball mitt or my I LOVE DINOSAURS sweatshirt or my cowboy boots.  They can’t make me pack my ice skates, my jeans with eight zippers, my compass, my radio or my stuffed pig.  My dad is packing.  My mom is packing.  My brothers, Nick and Andrew, are packing.  I’m not packing. I’m not going to move!


From Amazon:

Alexander is not going to leave his best friend Paul. Or Rachel, the best babysitter in the world. Or the Baldwins, who have a terrific dog named Swoozie. Or Mr. and Mrs. Oberdorfer, who always give great treats on Halloween. Who cares if his father has a new job a thousand miles away? Alexander is not — Do you hear him? He Means it! — going to move.

Why do I like this book

We are all creatures of habit…and most of us don’t like changes or the unknown.  Alexander is no different and he expresses what many children will relate to.  I love that Alexander feels confident enough to let his family know what is bothering him.  I love that Alexander’s vivid imagination finds so many inventive alternatives to his moving.  I love that Alexander’s father comes up with a wonderful solution…buy a puppy who will accompany Alexander and his family on the move so that Alexander will have a ready-made friend to start his life in a new place.

Related Activities:

Any child will enjoy making this neighborhood map, but it can be especially helpful for kids who have just moved.  Making this map will enable your child to feel more comfortable in this new and strange place…invite one or two of his or her new classmates to help (with special snacks after a job well-done) and you will be helping your child to develop new friendships.



Children’s pretend play often reflects the real world. While they make a map of your neighborhood or their route to school, encourage language, math, and memory skills by asking thinking questions.

1. Use at least one piece of posterboard. If you use two or more, lay the pieces side-by-side, making sure the sides touch each other. Tape the pieces together with short strips of wide masking tape. Then cover the seam with a long strip of tape from top to bottom. You may want to tape the seam on both sides for a more durable map.

2. Cover a large work surface, such as the floor, with newspaper. Put the poster board onto the newspaper.

3. Now think about, plan ahead, and draw your neighborhood. Ask an adult for permission to take walks in the area to help remember details. Use Crayola® Crayons to add bright colors and cover large coloring areas. Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils work well to outline roads and buildings, label signs, and do detail work.

Find more map-making crafts here at eHow

And lots more map-making crafts here at artistshelpingkids.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

35 thoughts on “Help Kids Who Are Anxious About Moving and Keep Learning Alive During the Summer

  1. A book by Viorst about Alexander already gets two thumbs up from me, and it sounds like this one certainly deserves them. Great activity, too — I like the idea of kids making a map of their neighborhood, and getting some of the new classmates to help would enhance the experience so much, and help the child not only make new friends, but learn about the neighborhood from people who live there. Great addition to PPBF!


    • I know, Beth…Judith Voirst writes a funny and sensitve book…I love all of hers. 🙂 Glad you like the activity…parents can do so much to help their kids adjust to a new place…kind of like one of Susanna’s contest entries about the girl whose mother takes her to a night time beach party where they see the sea turtles. 🙂


  2. We liked Alexander who has a very bad, terrible day, so I’m sure this book is excellent too. I could have used it a couple of years ago when we moved, although the kids didn’t mind the move at all. We moved within the same town, so it wasn’t much of a drastic change for them anyway.


  3. We love picture books but because of you, I am even more often on the hunt of good picture books 🙂 I may not be able to find the exact picture books you feature on your blog because of the country we live in but I try to find similar ones – gives me good ideas on what to look for in a picture book. And the passport idea? I love it! I hope to remember this when our little one is big enough and is already going to real school 🙂

    Spanish Pinay


    • Hi Marilou…I’m sure LSP will love making maps and passports (I’m sure she will have a REAL passport to travel in Europe 🙂 when the time comes. I’m so happy the books you find on my blog (and hopefully you visit Susanna’s Perfect Picture Book Page where you will find 100’s of other reviews and activities) are helpful. It can get overwhelming with all of the books that are out there…it’s nice to read an honest review and see related activities and website links.


  4. Vivian, this is wonderful! Sounds like a book Jackson would love (Alexander Who’s Not…Going to Move). His dad moved a few months ago, so Jackson’s home when he is with his dad is now very different. He still misses the old house… but he loves a few things about his new house (like his new baby brother). Anyway- the passport project is such a great idea- we’re going to do it! And I also Love Love Love the neighborhood map!!! I’ve not been around the blog world much in the past few weeks….. this made me smile this morning!! Blessings on your weekend!


    • And on yours, Angela! Thanks for taking the time to stop by…and leave such a lovely comment. 🙂 Glad you liked the passport and map ideas…hope you and Jackson have a beautiful weekend!


      • Hi Vivian! We worked on our passport tonight! We have some great ideas! We’re going to visit forests, caves, waterfalls, and maybe Lake Michigan… all within a few hours drive in our great Midwestern state! 🙂 Hope you had a lovely Memorial Day Weekend! Thanks again for your great inspirations!


        • Wow, Angela!  Sounds like it is going to be a fun-filled summer!  So glad you are putting the “passport” idea into action. 🙂  I hope you and Jackson have a beautiful week!   


  5. I love the Alexander books, though haven’t read this one yet! So many kids find moving hard that this is super relevant. That map is priceless. Thanks for all the great links.


  6. Wow, two books about moving and being the “new kid” in one week. These are perfectly timed recommendations for summer. We moved often as children, often in the summer. While it was hard to make new friends, and I hated to leave the old ones, I do believe moving made me more resilient and able to easily meet new people.


  7. Your book compliments mine. My book is about once you’re there. “The New Girl… And Me” talks about a neighborhood map, too, as an activity the neighborhood kids can do for the new kid. Showing him all the hot spots and good places to visit. Not sure I mentioned it specifically though, right now.

    Good choice, Vivian.


    • Thank you, Heather. Studies show that moving is one of the top 10 stressors in any person’s life…up there with death of a loved one, divorce and losing one’s job. If parents are sensitive to this, the moving experience can be a more positive one for kids, I think, 🙂


  8. Your package arrived just moments ago! As soon as I finish reading through Show Me How, I’ll do a review.

    I’ll hold the library’s copy until it reopens from renovation.

    thanks so much!!!


  9. What a timely book since a lot of kids move during the summer. I love the Alexander trilogy. Thanks for posting!


    • I love the Alexander books also, Laura!  Judith Viorst doesn’t pull any punches or sugar coat sibling or parent reactions…she lays it out just as it might really happen.  Thanks for stopping by. 🙂   


    • Thanks so much, Stacy!  I think the Passport Project could work for many different ages…and could incorporate so many learning modules…geography, sociology, diversity and many others. 🙂   


  10. Thanks, Barb…you know that there are so many great books out there…that’s what I love about Perfect Picture Book Friday and the wonderful response by teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators and others…makes the job of choosing a great picture book a lot easier. 🙂


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