Books for Kids: When Things Change

Illustration of a young girl looking out the window

These books for young readers address big changes that can be hard to talk about. These gentle stories offer an entry point for talking about topics like moving, natural disasters, an illness, and changes the world experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Place Where Hurricanes Happen

A Place Where Hurricanes Happen
Age Level: 6-9

New Orleans is known as a place where hurricanes happen . . . but that’s just one side of the story. Four children of New Orleans tell about their different experiences of Hurricane Katrina through poignant and straightforward free verse in this fictional account of the storm and its impact. This book was inspired by the stories Renée Watson heard during her writing workshops with young people in New Orleans.

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow

Young girl in an internment camp

This book, based on experiences of the author's mother and grandparents, tells the story of a Japanese American family relocated to an internment camp in Utah. Even in the harsh landscape of the desert, a young girl is able to find beauty in unlikely places, and to re-establish her identity through art, by drawing what she remembers of her life before coming to the camp. Historical notes included. Bilingual English and Japanese.

Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua

Painting of Luz Jiménez
Illustrated by: Duncan Tonatiuh
Age Level: 6-9

As a young Nahua girl in Mexico during the early 1900s, Luz learned how to grind corn in a metate, to twist yarn with her toes, and to weave on a loom. By the fire at night, she listened to stories of her community’s joys, suffering, and survival, and wove them into her heart. But when the Mexican Revolution came to her village, Luz and her family were forced to flee and start a new life. In Mexico City, Luz became a model for painters, sculptors, and photographers such as Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot, and Tina Modotti.

Coquí in the City

Coquí in the City
Age Level: 6-9

Miguel's pet frog, Coquí, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panadería, and listens to his abuelo's story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even Coquí behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people.

Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops

Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops
Illustrated by: Raúl Colón
Age Level: 6-9

"Biden, wife of the Vice President, watched for a year as her granddaughter, Natalie, dealt with the deployment of her father (Beau) to Iraq. Using Natalie's experiences as a springboard, Biden chronicles what life is like for a child with a parent fighting far from home…As always, Colón's scratchboard-style art, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, invites a closer look...The excellent back matter gives readers myriad ways that both adults and children can help military families in their own communities." — Booklist

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!
Illustrated by: Juliana Perdomo

Ramón is a little boy who can’t sleep. He is nervous for his first day at a new school. And El Cucuy is the monster who lives in Ramón’s cactus pot. He can’t sleep, either. It turns out that El Cucuy is scared, too! This gentle, perceptive story explores the worries that can accompany moving to a new place and beginning a new journey — and reveals how comfort, bravery, and strength can be found through even the most unexpected of friendships.

Good-Bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong

Good-Bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong
Illustrated by: Yangsook Choi
Age Level: 6-9

"My heart beats in two places." So begins the tale of Jangmi, a young girl who is preparing to leave her home in Korea (382 Shin Dang Dong) for a new home in Massachusetts (112 Foster Terrace). Jangmi can't bear the thought of leaving her house, her favorite willow trea, the monsoon rains, and most of all, her best friend Kisuni. Jangmi's story and its hopeful conclusion will resonate with children who have left a beloved home or friend behind.

Grandfather's Story Cloth

Grandfather's Story Cloth
Illustrated by: Stuart Loughridge
Age Level: Middle Grade
Language: Hmong

Product Description: Chersheng's grandfather is beginning to forget things: little things like turning off the water faucet and big things like Chersheng's name. Then Chersheng's mother presents him with a story cloth stitched by Grandfather himself, embroidered in the Hmong tradition, and Grandfather's memories of his life in Laos come alive.

Lily's New Home (Confetti Kids)

Lily's New Home
By: Paula Yoo
Age Level: 3-6
Language: English

Lily and her parents move from their suburban neighborhood to New York City. Lily is used to living in a house on a quiet street. When they arrive at their new apartment, Lily notices the amount of activity all around. Kids play jump rope on one corner. Buses and taxis zoom by. Lily feels like a small ant on such a busy block and worries that she’ll never feel at home. As she and her parents explore their new, multicultural neighborhood, Lily discovers that sometimes change can be a good thing.

Little Mamá Forgets

Granddaughter with grandmother
Illustrated by: Stacey Dressen-McQueen
Age Level: 3-6, 6-9
Language: Spanish vocabulary featured

Product description: Every morning, Lucy tiptoes into her grandmother's room to wake her with a gentle tickle. Little Mamá always remembers to tickle Lucy right back! But Lucy knows there are things her abuelita sometimes forgets — like the way to the park or how to tie her shoes. Still, there's much that Little Mamá remembers and shares: how to skip and dance, stories from Mexico, and plenty of hugs and kisses.

Maxy Survives the Hurricane

Girl running with dog

Maxy is a happy puppy who lives with Clarita and her family in a house filled with music and laughter on the island of Puerto Rico. One day, Maxy sees everyone rushing around, putting things in boxes. Someone says, "María is coming!" When Hurricane María roars ashore, Maxy is terrified and everything changes due to the storm's impact. After recovery begins, things slowly return to normal, until it rains again.

Outside, Inside

Outside, Inside
Age Level: 3-6

Something strange happened on an unremarkable day just before the season changed. Everybody who was outside . . .went inside. Outside, it was quieter, wilder, and different. Inside, we laughed, we cried, and we grew. We remembered to protect the ones we love and love the ones who protect us. While the world changed outside, we became stronger on the inside and believed that someday soon spring would come again.

The Key Collection

The Key Collection
Illustrated by: Yangsook Choi
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Xiao Jimmy's Grandma Ni Ni is his favorite person in all the world. Ni Ni cooks delicious jiao zi, teaches Jimmy Chinese characters, and always has wonderful stories and fascinating objects — like the key collection — to share with him. So when Jimmy learns that Ni Ni must move far away to California, he feels he is losing his best friend. In time, however, Jimmy discovers there are ways to bridge distance, and to make new friends in the process.