Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to transitions. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about transitions.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about transitions, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear to popular sellers like Hatchet to some of our favorite hidden gems like House for Hermit Crab.
We hope this list of kids books about transitions can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
From the creator of The Rabbit Listened comes a gentle story about the difficulty of change . . . and the wonder that new beginnings can bring.
Change and transitions are hard, but Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! demonstrates how, when one experience ends, it opens the door for another to begin. It follows two best friends as they say goodbye to snowmen, and hello to stomping in puddles. They say goodbye to long walks, butterflies, and the sun…and hello to long evening talks, fireflies, and the stars. But the hardest goodbye of all comes when one of the friends has to move away. Feeling alone isn’t easy, and sometimes new beginnings take time. But even the hardest days come to an end, and you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Little Bird loves everything about his home. He’s surrounded by his favourite branch, his favourite food, his favourite view and his favourite music. Why on earth would he ever want to change, even when his brother tells him that they must? Discover how Little Bird ends up finding happiness in his new home from home in this beautifully illustrated picture book. Perfect for all children who love home, however many they may have.
A little girl tries to reassure her favorite doll when they move to a new, and very different, home.
Chester Raccoon is very unhappy about leaving his home, a tree that has been marked by tree cutters, but his mother tries to convince him that their new home might be even better.
Join Hermit Crab as he learns an important lesson about growing up: For every friend and adventure left behind, there are new ones just ahead!
Lost and Found - -
Alexander, who's not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to move - The rest of Alexander’s family is moving a thousand miles away, but there’s NO way Alexander is going to leave his best friend, his favorite babysitter, or all the places and people he’s known all his life. Even if he has to live in a tree house or a tent or a cave!
Andi Unexpected - -
The Berenstain Bears' Moving Day - The Bear family decides it is time to move to a larger house.
Moving day proves confusing for Boomer, a golden retriever, until he at last explores his new home and finds his own favorite and familiar things.
Picture book for children 4-8 years of age. A simple story that reminds children they are never truly alone. People who love each other are connected by an invisible string made of love.
Reece’s new dog, Ruckus, tears through life like a Tyrannosaurus rex. He bites every- thing that moves and drives Reece’s mom nuts. The puppy was Dad’s idea, to make things easier for Reece after his parents’ separation, but Ruckus is not easy at all and Mom is getting fed up. When her diamond earrings go missing, it sends the family into a tailspin. What happens when a dog swallows something precious? Reece is about to find out. But they can’t give up on this little Jack Russell terror, can they? He’s family, after all.
We first met Reece and his family in the Orca Echoes title Where’s Burgess?
From Children’s Literature Legacy Award winner Nikki Grimes and highly-acclaimed illustrator Wendell Minor comes a stunning picture book about the beauty of the natural world and finding a new place to call home.
The beauty of the natural world is just waiting to be discovered . . .
When Jayden touches down in New Mexico, he’s uncertain how this place could ever be home. But if he takes a walk outside, he just might find something glorious.
Flowers in bright shades . . .
Birds and lizards and turtles, all with a story to tell . . .
Red rock pillars towering in the distance . . .
Turquoise sky as far as the eye can see . . .
Perhaps this place could be home after all.
Gorgeously poetic and visually stunning, this story from acclaimed creators Nikki Grimes and Wendell Minor celebrates the beauty of the Southwest as a young boy sees it for the very first time.
Acclaim for One Last Word
A Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Winner
A New York Times Editor’s Choice
Posy is afraid of her new house and all the unknown that comes with it, but when she and her dog find a red boat in the garden, she imagines all kinds of adventures and gains confidence despite being the new kid.
Big Sibling Getaway - First came the boxes. Then the baby. Then the loud, nonstop crying! Desperate to get away, new big sister Cassie climbs into one of the empty boxes and sets off. She drives, she sails, and she soars…but she still hears whimpers. How far will Cassie have to go to finally get some peace and quiet? Perfect for families with new babies, this imaginative picture book lets big siblings escape–and makes them want to come back.
A Piece of Home - -
All of Me - Ari has body-image issues. After a move across the country, his parents work selling and promoting his mother’s paintings and sculptures. Ari’s bohemian mother needs space to create, and his father is gone for long stretches of time on “sales” trips. Meanwhile, Ari makes new friends: Pick, the gamer; the artsy Jorge, and the troubled Lisa. He is also relentlessly bullied because he’s overweight, but he can’t tell his parents—they’re simply not around enough to listen. After an upsetting incident, Ari’s mom suggests he go on a diet, and she gives him a book to help. But the book—and the diet—can’t fix everything. As Ari faces the demise of his parents’ marriage, he also feels himself changing, both emotionally and physically. Here is a much-needed story about accepting the imperfect in oneself and in life.
Mama's Work Shoes - All about the adjustment a toddler makes when her mother returns to work, this humorous picture book takes on a big emotional milestone with a light hand. Perry knows all of Mama’s shoes. She knows that the zip-zup shoes are for skipping and swinging in the park. She knows that the pat-put shoes are for splishing and splashing in the rain. And she knows that no-shoes are for bath time and bedtime. But, one morning Mama puts on click-clack shoes, and Perry wonders what these new shoes are for. When Mama drops Perry at Nan’s house, and the click-clack shoes take Mama away for the whole day, Perry decides she hates these shoes! Perry later hides the click-clack shoes . . . and all of Mama’s shoes, just in case. Mama then explains that the click-clack shoes bring her to work in the morning, and they will also bring her home to Perry every single evening–clickety-clack fast!
A young boy, Ivan, experiences the early stages of his parents’ separation and finds hope in the beauty and music of nature. This tale of personal growth will provide a much-needed mirror for children in times of change – and an important reminder for all that there’s beauty everywhere you look.
Although only in eighth grade Baxter Reilly is an important member of the Edgeview High School in Tempe, Arizona, and lately the pool has been his place of refuge from the stress of his parents’ separation–but now, between the pending divorce, his father’s miserable apartment, his mother’s new boyfriend, and the resentment and bullying from his older teammates, it is getting harder to focus on his role as the anchor of the 4 x 400 freestyle relay in the upcoming races.
Headed for Canada to visit his father for the first time since his parents’ divorce, thirteen-year-old Brian is the sole survivor of a plane crash, with only the clothes he has on and a hatchet to help him live in the wilderness. A Newbery Honor Book. Reprint.
A unique masterpiece about loss, love, and the world’s best bad dog, from award-winning author Leslie Connor, author of the National Book Award finalist The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle.
It’s a life-altering New Year for thirteen-year-old Lydia when she uproots to a Connecticut farm to live with her aunt following her mother’s death.
Aunt Brat and her jovial wife, Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord, Elloroy, are welcoming―and a little quirky. Lydia’s struggle for a sense of belonging in her new family is highlighted when the women adopt a big yellow dog just days after the girl’s arrival.
Wasn’t one rescue enough?
Lydia is not a dog person―and this one is trouble! He is mistrustful and slinky. He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past.
Meanwhile, Lydia doesn’t want to be difficult―and she does not mean to keep secrets―but there are things she’s not telling…
Like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important…
And why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger…
And why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past―but at what cost?
Award-winning author Leslie Connor crafts a story that sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family, along with the world’s best bad dog. This uplifting story about recovery features strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him.
List of Things That Will Not Change - EIGHT STARRED REVIEWS! The reassuring book kids and families need right now. "An absolute original . . . a story that kids will love." --R. J. Palacio, bestselling author of Wonder At a time when everything is changing for Bea and her family, the important things will always stay the same. A soon-to-be classic by the Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me.
Before I Leave - How do you say goodbye to your best friend? When a little hedgehog’s family tells her they’re moving far away, she and her anteater best friend decide to play one last time, like nothing is changing. And though it’s hard, they discover that while some things have to change, the most important things find a way of working out.
Drum Roll, Please - Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat in this big-hearted middle grade novel. Not to be missed by fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Drama and Tim Federle’s Better Nate Than Ever! Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse. Now she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods. But this summer brings a lot of big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself unexpectedly falling for another girl at camp. To top it all off, Melly’s not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock n’ roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart? Ami Polonsky, acclaimed author of Gracefully Grayson, raved, “Drum Roll, Please is a perfect middle-grade love story. Bigelow delivers a mighty message to turn up the volume on your inner drumbeat.”
Marshfield Dreams - The colorful boyhood of a popular author comes to life in this personal account Imagine learning from a nosy classmate that your mother is having yet another baby. To Ralph’s classmates, news of one more Fletcher baby is just “scuttlebutt.” But for Ralph, the oldest of nine, being part of a large family means more kids to join in the fun–from making tripods in the woods and “snicking” up the rug to raising chicks and even discovering a meteor (well, maybe). It doesn’t feel like there’s life beyond Marshfield, Massachusetts. Then one day Dad’s new job moves the family to Chicago, and there’s so much Ralph has to leave behind. In this humorous and captivating memoir, Ralph Fletcher traces the roots of his storytelling.
A young boy named Alex enjoys the homes of both of his parents who live apart but love Alex very much, in a comforting story about the reality of divorce. Reprint.
Levi just wants to be treated like a typical kid. As a baby, he had a serious disease that caused him respiratory issues. He’s fine now, but his mom and overprotective brother still think of him as damaged, and his schoolmates see him as the same class clown he’s always been. He feels stuck. So when his dad—divorced from his mom—suggests he take up boxing, he falls in love with the sport. And when he finds out about a school with a killer boxing team and a free-study curriculum, it feels like he’s found a ticket to a new Levi. But how can he tell his mom about boxing? And how can he convince his family to set him free?
When her mami meets someone new, Juana worries that everything will change in a humorous, heartwarming follow-up to the Pura Belpré Award-winning Juana & Lucas. Juana’s life is just about perfect. She lives in the beautiful city of Bogotá with her two most favorite people in the world: her mami and her dog, Lucas. Lately, though, things have become a little less perfect. Mami has a new hairdo and a new amigo named Luis with whom she has been spending a LOT of time. He is kind and teaches Juana about things like photography and jazz music, but sometimes Juana can’t help wishing things would go back to the way they were before. When Mami announces that she and Luis are getting married and that they will all be moving to a new casa, Juana is quite distraught. Lucky for her, though, some things will never change – like how much Mami loves her. Based on author-illustrator Juana Medina’s own childhood in Colombia, this joyful series is sure to resonate with readers of all ages.
Thirteen-year-old Lucia Frank discovers that she can become the girl she’s always wanted to be with the help of a little “moon magic” in this charming novel about the value of friendship, family, and finding yourself. Lucia Frank has never had time for her mom’s “new age” nonsense. She doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. All she wants is to figure out how to get her best friend, Will, back and cope with her parents looming divorce. But then something strange happens on the night of her thirteenth birthday. When the eclipsed moon slips into the shadow of the earth, Lucia’s Shadow slips out. Now hidden in a moonstone, the Shadow waits for Lucia to sleep so it can come out to play. Lucia’s Shadow seems unlike her in almost every way: daring, outspoken, and unwilling to let anyone push her around. But it actually isn’t the anti-Lucia…in fact, her Shadow is very much like the person Lucia wishes she could be. At first, Lucia is eager to undo whatever magic happened on her birthday so life can get back to normal. But when she realizes her Shadow is doing and saying things she has only dreamed about, she wonders if maybe things aren’t all bad. With a little help from her Shadow, she’s turning into the kind of girl she’s always wanted to be.
“My secret life is filled with psychic vampires, wheelchair zombies, chain-rattlin ghosts, and a one-eyed cat. But they’re nothing compared to my real-life stalker: a sixth-grade girl named Kandi Kain. The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones is a terrifically funny and poignant story about a boy finding the courage to get to know the real characters all around him and to let them know him.”–
It's Not Your Fault, Koko Bear - KoKo bear learns what divorce means, how to deal with changes and how to recognize and deal with feelings
The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street - A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful read that Kirkus Reviews calls “just the ticket for a cold autumn night.” Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones. When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. And it involves a secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years. With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!
Moving to the Neighborhood - A new generation of children love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, inspired by the classic series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood! A new family moves to town in this sweet board book based on a special episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Daniel Tiger is getting a new neighbor! Moving to a new neighborhood and starting at a new school can be scary, but with Daniel’s help, his new neighbor soon feels right at home. This sweet story is perfect for anyone who is moving to a new city, or for anyone who wants to be a good neighbor like Daniel! © 2018 The Fred Rogers Company
Emily's Blue Period - After her parents get divorced, Emily finds comfort in making and learning about art.
Children whose parents no longer live together discover that although much has changed, and time spent with Mom is different than time spent with Dad, love is there no matter what.
This unusual picture book for younger children explores the issue of divorce. The author of this book is a psychotherapist and counselor and helps children to face their fears, worries and questions when their family is going through a break-up. A special feature, “What About You?” sidebars appear frequently with questions directed at the child reading the book. The questions encourage children to explore their own feeling about the situation. Full color illustrations throughout.
Eleven-year-old Isabella’s blended family is more divided than ever in this thoughtful story about divorce and racial identity from the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper. Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves. Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole? It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.
This timely, reassuring picture book is the perfect resource to help young children and their families deal with the confusion, misconceptions, and anxieties apt to arise when divorce occurs.
Illustrations and simple, rhyming text follow a family as they move to a new town.
Henry and Mudge and Annie's Good Move - In Henry and Mudge’s eighteenth adventure, Henry’s cousin Annie is moving – right next door to Henry! Annie likes Henry and Mudge, but she’s nervous about leaving her friends, and about changing schools, and about what might happen to her things on the moving truck. She’s so nervous she’s broken out in blotches. But Henry knows just the thing for a bad case of nerves – a snuggle under a blanket with a big dog like Mudge!
Two Naomis - A realistic contemporary story of two girls whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia. Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that way.
Anastasia Again! - Anastasia is hesitant to accept new surroundings when her family moves, but she soon learns moving means not only saying good-bye, but also making new friends.
Augustine - Moving all the way from the South Pole to the North Pole isn’t easy for the young penguin Augustine. Uprooted from her home, she misses her friends, her grandma and grandpa and her old bedroom. There are all kinds of unfamiliar faces at the North Pole, and everything looks strange and different. When it’s time to go to her new school, Augustine gets cold feet. But with the help of a few colored pencils and some inspiration from Picasso, this shy, artistic young penguin discovers a way to break the ice with her classmates and feel at home on the other end of the world.
Howard Jeeter has moved across the country and his only friend is an annoying six-year-old girl. Of course, when you’re really lonely, you’ll be friends with anyone—almost.
In the first book of the Alien Next Door series, an alien boy named Zeke tries to fit in and adjust to life on Earth, while a classmate, Harris, suspects that Zeke might not be quite what he claims to be. Zeke the alien is on his way to his first day of school, feeling down because he has to start over again on a new planet, as his scientist parents constantly move to wherever their research takes them. When he gets to school, no one seems to notice anything strange or different about him except Harris, a kid obsessed with science fiction and aliens. Harris sees Zeke doing extraordinary things but can’t convince anyone, least of all his best friend, Roxy, that Zeke might be an alien. Roxy just thinks Harris is jealous that she’s becoming friends with Zeke. But when Roxy invites Zeke over to Harris’s house, will Harris find a way to prove that he’s right?
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