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 House for Hermit Crab to some of our favorite hidden gems like A Kiss Goodbye.
We hope this list of kids books about transitions can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
This book is absolutely stunning! The colors and sweet illustrations totally make this book, even though I love the text, too. In this book, little ones will learn about the migration of birds, moving, and that home is where the people you love are, and there are a lot of wonderful places that can feel like home. :)
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.
This story shows how grief is manifested in different ways, but how the two sisters and their guardian bonded together and strengthened one another in their difficult times. I also loved that the mystery was about Andi’s family history and linked to the great depression, both of which are great topics for readers to learn about.
The first in a new middle-grade mystery series, in Andi Unexpected, twelve-year-old Andi Boggs, discovers evidence of her forgotten namesake, a missing relative, which leads her into a family mystery rooted in the Great Depression.
A story about a little girl and her imaginary friend going through a move, this book is fun, imaginative, and relatable! The storyline is great, and I think this book would be especially fun for a child who is moving themselves.
A little girl tries to reassure her favorite doll when they move to a new, and very different, home.
This is a touching story that successfully captures the powerful emotions that can come with moving, even and especially the tender emotions of a child. Anyone going through a move will relate to Chester Raccoon’s desire to stay in a familiar place with friends and things he loves. Hopefully Chester’s experience will also help bring courage and a positive outlook to anyone struggling.
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.
Hermit crab is growing and that means he must find a new shell. The shell he finds is quite plain, but during the course of a year, he invites many new sea friends to accompany him. Some add interesting colors to his shell, while others help protect him. A nice book from Eric Carle about adjusting to new situations and making the most of them.
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!
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!
Boomer's Big Day - 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.
Lost and Found - B is for Bookworm - The idea of having a twin and swapping places has always seemed intriguing, but Lost and Found does a great job demonstrating what such an experience might actually be like, along with teaching the valuable lessons of being honest and loving the family you have!
The Berenstain Bears' Moving Day - The Bear family decides it is time to move to a larger house.
I love the lesson shared by this book. I especially love how well the story of the String works literally, like the “tugs” that we feel for each other.
This sweet story is such a sweet read to help little ones realize that they’re connected to the ones they love, even when they’re not nearby. Whether that’s because a family member passed away, or maybe the child is starting their first day of school, this one will bring comfort and all the good feelings!
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.
I thought this book about a family that moves to a new country would be great for kids who go through the same experience, or who may have friends who have gone through something similar. It opens your eyes to what it might be like to have such an experience, as it’s told through the eyes of a child. I thought the story was nice, though I think it’s particularly good for those moving themselves or going through a similar transition.
“When Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia, he struggles to adjust to his new home. His eyes are not big and round like his classmates, and he can’t understand anything the teacher says, even when she speaks s-l-o-w-l-y and loudly at him. As he lies in bed at night, the sky seems smaller and darker. But little by little Hee Jun begins to learn English words and make friends on the playground. And one day he is invited to a classmate’s house, where he sees a flower he knows from his garden in Korea, “mugunghwa,” or Rose of Sharon, as his friend tells him and Hee Jun is happy to bring a shoot to his grandmother to plant a “piece of home” in their new garden.”—Provided by publisher.
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.
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.
The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones - “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
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.
Bad Bye, Good Bye - 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.
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?
Hating to leave her familiar surroundings, Tooter resorts to sabotage when her family moves from their suburban home to Aunt Sally’s farm.
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!
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.
Knockout - 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?
Road Trip with Max and His Mom - Third-grader Max is heading off on a road trip with Mom. With miles to travel, cousins to meet, and a tall roller coaster to ride (maybe), it will be an adventure! But Max always spends weekends with Dad; will Dad be okay if he’s left behind? And will Max be brave enough for all the new explorations ahead of him?
When Alice’s dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, she does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family’s old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to swim freestyle fast enough to get on her swim team’s record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school’s science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice’s best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mute—until Alice hears her speak. A funny and honest middle-grade novel, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice’s determination to prove herself—as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person—rings loud and true.
Thirteen-year-old Chloë left her whole life back in Montreal, including her mom and her best friend. Now she’s stuck in Victoria with her dad and her estranged grandfather, Uli, who recently had a stroke. When Chloë agrees to help Uli look after his garden, she’s determined to find out why he and her dad didn’t speak to each other for years. For decades Uli has collected seeds from people in the community, distinct varieties that have been handed down through generations. The result is a garden full of unusual and endangered produce, from pink broccoli to blue kale to purple potatoes. But Chloë learns that the garden will soon be destroyed to make way for a new apartment complex. And the seed collection is missing! Chloë must somehow find a way to save her grandfather’s legacy
From acclaimed author Linda Urban comes a younger middle-grade novel about the weekend adventures of a boy and his dad, who each see “home” in new ways as they adjust to changes in their family. Max and his dad love their weekends together. Weekends mean pancakes, pizza, spy games, dog walking, school projects, and surprising neighbors! Every weekend presents a small adventure as Max gets to know his dad’s new neighborhood—and learns some new ways of thinking about home. Acclaimed author Linda Urban deftly portrays a third-grader’s inner world during a time of transition in this sweet and funny illustrated story that bridges the early reader and middle grade novel.
Now that his parents are separated, Ludo has two homes: one in the country with his mom, and the other in the city with his dad. The young boy doesn’t like leaving the countryside and his friends to go to his father’s apartment in the city, but he does find some entertainment in the flashing traffic lights on the street corner under his window. Ludo convinces himself (with the help of his father) that the lights are controlled by a tiny gentleman who sits inside the signal pole, flipping switches all day and night. Ludo starts sneaking out to leave food for the man, and he soon makes a new friend in the big city. A tender story, complemented by vibrant illustrations, that reminds us empathy and generosity are marvelous tools to overcome one’s troubles.
From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant comes the charming story of nine-year-old Flora Smallwood and the eventful year she spends in the quiet community of Rosetown, Indiana.
For nine-year-old Flora Smallwood, Rosetown, Indiana, is full of surprises, many of the best of which happen at the Wing and a Chair Used Book Shop, where she loves to read vintage children’s books after school in the faded purple chair by the window.
But lately, those surprises haven’t been so good. Her dear old dog, Laurence, recently passed away. Not long after, her parents decided to take a breather from their marriage, and now Flora has to move back and forth between their two houses. Plus, she’s just begun fourth grade, and it is so much different than third.
Luckily Flora has two wonderful friends—one old and one new. And with them around to share thoughts and laughs and adventures big and small, life in Rosetown still has many sweet moments—and even some very happy surprises!
The Lost Boy's Gift - There are places where you want to go and places where you want to leave. There are also places where you want to stay. Nine-year-old Daniel must move across the country with his mom after his parents’ divorce. He’s leaving behind his whole life—everything—and he’s taking a suitcase of anger with him. But Daniel is in for a surprise when he settles into While-a-Way Lane and meets his new neighbors—the Lemonade Girl, the hopscotching mailman, the tiny creatures, and especially Tilda Butter. Tilda knows how to look and listen closely, and it’s that gift that helps Daniel find his way in that curious place called While-a-Way Lane. Kimberly Willis Holt explores themes of divorce, acceptance, intergenerational friendship, and the power that comes with listening thoughtfully in this insightful novel.