Cross-Cultural Books for Every Kid: Belonging Books

Especially in our current reality, so many kids are feeling isolated or at the very least, just a little lost in all the craziness. It’s been a lot of change and transition this year! Like a LOT. And those of us who have lived overseas know all about transition and the overwhelming challenge it can be. 

So. Here’s a list of kids’ books I’ve been curating for some time now. Initially, these books were meant to speak to the heart of the Third Culture Kid, but the more I read them and process them along with my older son, I realize that these books are not just for TCK’s. They are for any kid who experiences transition and feelings of not belonging at times. 

Maybe you have a kid that switched schools. Or a kid who lost someone important to them. Or a kid who is from mixed ethnic backgrounds. Or really…ANY kid living in the present reality of a pandemic. SO many of us are going through feelings of identity loss and grief for so many reasons. 

So, this list is for any kid out there who needs a reminder that transition is HARD and you BELONG. I know I want my own TCK sons to know these things, always. 
For me, beautiful books are a must. So, I am drawn (ha!) to books that are not just written well, but also have illustrations that are moving and beautiful. 
I’ve split this list into three categories: 1. Books for Heart and Home  2. Books for Out and About  3. Books for the In Between

Books for the Heart and Home

  1. Home by Carson Ellis
  2. Du Iz Tak? By Carson Ellis
  3. Someplace Else by Carol P. Saul
  4. Somewhere In the World Right Now by by Stacey Schuett
  5. You Belong Here by M.H. Clark and Isabelle Arsenault
  6. The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr
  7. Going Home, Coming Home by Truong Tran

Books for Out and About

  1. What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street? By Felicita Sala
  2. Thank You Omu! By Oge Mora
  3. If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles Laroche 
  4. Atlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences, and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe by Rachel Williams and Lucy Letherland
  5. This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Life of Seven Kids From Around the World by Matt Lamothe 
  6. The Girl with A Brave Heart: A Tale from Tehran by Rita Jahanforuz
  7. Hello World! Greetings in 42 Languages Around the World by Manya Stojic

Books for the In Between

  1. Richard Scarry’s A Day At the Airport 
  2. Everything and Everywhere: A Fact-Filled Adventure for Curious Globe-Trotters by Marc Martin 

Sometimes, kids don’t know how to express what they’re feeling. Goodness, sometimes adults don’t know how to either! Read-Aloud time with our kids can really help in developing their awareness of their own feelings and then we’re better able to talk through how to deal with those feelings. The National Association of the Education of Young Children tells us that thinking through how characters feel and react in a story can help them to prepare and deal with their own range of emotions and behaviors. The NAEYC also encourages the use of a mood meter in helping kids to identify their own emotions.

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