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Helping children adjust to moving

November 24th, 2009

Have you had to make a move with your children?

As a real estate professional for over 20 years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing families excited about moving into their own home. But I’ve also seen children not so excited.

It’s a big change for children, and unknown territory can be intimidating.

Elena’s Big Move, a children’s story by author, teacher, mom and former new kid Sarah Olivieri, can help explain to children how to make that move a little bit less scary

“I saw the need to help children and parents who are going through a move. Parents need ideas to help children make the transition to a new place easier. As a teacher, I see how frightened children are when they enter a new school,” explains Olivieri. “I wrote Elena’s Big Move to help children know that they don’t need to forget the place they’re leaving behind.”

When Olivieri was 9 years old, she moved from Puerto Rico to Indiana. The move was sudden and she didn’t have much time to adjust to the idea. Trading palm trees for pine trees wasn’t exactly easy. Olivieri recalls how jarring her transition to a new home was.

“I remember how scary it was to be the new kid on the block. This is my way to help any child who has to relocate to a new place. Children should enter the classroom with confidence.”  Olivieri is now a second grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in Gary, Indiana, as well as a youth leader at First Christian Church, where she helps with at-risk teenagers.

Elena’s Big Move, inspired by  Olivieri’s own story, tells the story of a 9-year-old Puerto Rican girl, Elena, who is moving to Indiana. Faced with the scary idea of leaving her island, she turns to her family for support. Her parents give her a camera and an empty scrapbook, assuring her that memories will travel just as well as her belongings. She photographs her favorite places, documenting everything from her school to her family’s favorite spot to picnic. When it’s time to walk into her Indiana classroom filled with new faces, Elena is braced by the memories she holds in her scrapbook. When her photos prompt a class discussion, Elena learns that home, even a new one, always holds both the past and an exciting future.

Elena’s Big Move is an entertaining story where children can easily identify with Elena, whether they will be moving or not. It helps children to understand friends who may be moving, or new students who move into their school. The back of book include some great ideas to actively prepare for the move, even before leaving the old home. There’s even a word search just for fun.

If you know someone who is going to be moving, this would be a good book to give to them. Even if you are not moving, this book is a good resource for teachers and parents.

(Disclosure: I was given this book to write this review. But I was not paid to write the review.)

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