Summer is often a time for moving, and moving is often the subject of children’s literature. Today I’ve got some new and old titles coming at moving from a variety of angles.
Harry and Walter, by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Qin Leng published in 2016 by Annick Press
Harry, age four and three-quarters, and Walter, age ninety-two and a half, are best buddies and next-door-neighbors. The two of them spend loads of happy, imaginative time together. Lovely.
So, when the For Sale sign goes up in Harry’s yard, he’s a wailing mess, and try as he will to settle into his new place, everything feels drab. Many “moving stories” here will insert a new friend who comes along and takes the place of the old friend. That’s not this story, though. Fall in love with Walter, and discover the surprising way things sometimes change in this warm, intergenerational, interracial, tale coming to us from Canada. Ages 2 and up.
Before I Leave, written and illustrated by Jessixa Bagley published in 2016, a Neal Porter Book from Roaring Brook Press
Jessixa Bagley’s tender, appealing watercolors woo us immediately into the story of Zelda the hedgehog and Aaron, her best anteater friend. Oh, the times these two have spent together,tobogganing, fishing, chasing butterflies. And now Zelda has found out her family is moving. How can these two possibly say good-bye?
Well, it ain’t easy. They choose to spend one last day together, pretending that nothing will change, soaking up all the happiness of their friendship, believing it will somehow be okay. When Zelda unpacks, she finds another way her good friend Aaron has managed to stick with her in her faraway home. A brave approach, delivered with über charm. Ages 2 and up.
Hannah’s Way, by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Adam Gustavson published in 2012 by Kar-Ben Publishing
I like this story for a couple of reasons. One, because it takes place on the Iron Range of Minnesota, an unusual setting for a children’s book, and the place where my mother grew up.
Two, because it’s based on a true story of how some schoolchildren embraced a stranger and accepted the differences that emerged due to her religion. This is a timely story, folks!
Read about Hannah, a young Jewish girl, new in a community where there are no others like her, and of the predicament she finds herself in due to her Orthodox faith, and of the way her classmates happily bridge the gap. Handsomely illustrated and told without any heavy-handedness. A great story for ages 4 and up.
Spirit of Hope, written and illustrated by Bob Graham published in 1993 in Australia, and in 1996 in the U.S. by MONDO Publishing
Not everyone moves by choice, of course. Not all of us move because of a new, exciting job, or into a bigger and better house. The Fairweathers — a marvelously content, warmhearted, jumble of family — are forced to move because a factory is coming. A matchstick factory, of all things, is dislodging them.
I love this meaningful, touching story of a gladsome, working-class family, their rich life together, the woeful search for a new home, and the surprising solution courtesy of the littlest Fairweather, young Mary. The Spirit of Hope looms large, figuratively and literally, in this book from one of my favorite author/illustrators.
The Bunny Burrow Buyer’s Book: A Tale of Rabbit Real Estate, written and illustrated by Steve Light published in 2016 by POW!
Steve Light turns his magical, squiggelous ink pen to a lighthearted tale of bunnies looking for a new burrow. Gregory and Petunia Bunny are expecting! Expecting to expand their household, as bunnies will do.
Help them find just the right place by following the twisting and turning pathways, opening the flaps, and checking out quite a number of unusual bunny abodes along with their ever-growing brood. Which one would you choose?
Great fun for ages Two and up. And adults — heads up! The classified ads in the Daily Carrot, which comprise the end-papers, are chock full of allusions to all things Bunny. How many can you recognize?