It’s not easy when your best friend moves away. I found three picture books that might help a child in this dilemma but I’d love to add more books to this list. What am I missing? Thanks for your help!
With a little help from my friends by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, illustrated by Henry Cole
It’s nearly impossible to read this book without hearing the Beatles song in your head! Henry Cole does a brilliant job of taking the lyrics of this famous song and turning it into a story of a friendship between two girls. Their friendship is are able to surmount the difficulty of distance when one of them moves away. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
Juna loves to take an empty kimchi jar and explore with her best friend Hector. One day when she goes to find Hector, she finds out that he’s moved away. Her big brother Minho tries to cheer her up by buying her a fish for her jar. When the fish gets too big, she and her brother plant a bean plant in her jar instead. When the bean plant outgrows her jar, a cricket makes the jar its home. Each offering to her jar also sparks her imagination with a wonderful daydream. When she finally is able to say goodbye to Hector, Juna and her jar make another discovery at the park that helps her miss him less. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
A Year with Marmalade by Alison Reynolds and Heath McKenzie
Ella and Maddy are best friends but one autumn day, Maddy tells Ella that she’s going away for a year and asks her to look after her cat, Marmalade. As the seasons change, Marmalade keeps Ella company but she still misses Maddy. Finally, autumn comes again, and Maddy is back. And now the three of them are all together again. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Faraway Friends by Russ Cox
When Sheldon’s best friend moves away, he notices the word “Jupiter” on the side of the moving truck. Could it be that his friend is moving to Jupiter? Sheldon just needs a rocket ship to catch up with his friend. Luckily he has all the parts he needs lying around his house and his dog Jet to help him. On his way there, he finds a surprise that makes him miss his friend a lot less. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
My Life in Pictures by Deborah Zemke
Bea Garcia is upset because her next-door neighbor and very best friend in the world, Yvonne, has moved to Australia. To add insult to injury, a new family moves into Yvonne’s house, and they have a horrible boy named Bert who makes fun of Bea, wrecks her cardboard box building, and is generally horrible. Bea and her brother Pablo try to ignore Bert as much as possible, but since he is also in her classroom at school, Bea struggles with putting up with him. Review by Ms. YingLing Reads. [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 by Gretchen Brandenbury McLellan, illustrated by Grace Zong
It’s bittersweet that Mrs. McBee is leaving Room 3 and not returning to their school after summer vacation. Her class is sad but she organizes them into helping with the packing up and the remembering of the good times that they had. Every kid in class had their own special way of helping and coping with this loss. And Mrs. McBee topped their day off with a big hug and swirly ice cream cones. Use this picture book for kids who are sad that their school year is ending, even if their teacher will return to the school. While this is not the loss of a best friend, a beloved teacher leaving can leave that same kind of void. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Love, Amalia by Alam Flor Ada & Gabriel M. Zubizarreta
It’s bad enough that Amalia’s best friend moves far away without much notice, but then her beloved Abuelita dies. Her Abuelita took care of her after school every day, teaching her how to cook, and sharing stories of Abuelita’s children, now fully grown and living in far-flung places. Abuelita’s death brings the relatives back to Chicago where Amalia can finally put a face to the stories. The letters that Abuelita saved from her children are passed on to Amalia, and they make her realize her connection to her grandmother will never be lost. It’s this realization that makes her finally ready to reconnect with her best friend.
This quiet story has the warmth of a grandmother’s loving wisdom and would be comforting to anyone who has suffered loss either through a friend moving away, or a death in the family. [picture book, ages 8 and up]
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