Cross Cultural Workers

Mental Health Resources for People Living and Working in Cross-Cultural Settings

What Cross-Cultural Workers Ought to Know about Books for (and about) MKs and Other TCKs

(Recommended Reading, 2007)

Ronald Koteskey

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Have you ever walked into a bookstore, even a Christian bookstore, and felt overwhelmed? With about 24,000 new Christian books published yearly, it is little wonder that most people are puzzled about what to read. Although lists of recommended books appear in print from time to time, many books are hard to locate unless you have access to an academic library or interlibrary loan, or they are so expensive that a cross-cultural worker can not afford them. Here is a list of books that are available, reasonably priced, and helpful.

Criteria for including a book

The following criteria were used to decide whether or not to include a book:

  • In Print. To be listed in this brochure, it must be available for purchase.
  • Reasonably Priced. None of the books included cost more than $25, and two-thirds are under $15.
  • Variety. Some are written for the general public, some for cross-cultural workers.
  • Complete Data. Price, ISBN number, and complete publication data are included, so when friends ask what you would like, any bookstore should be able to order the book.
  • All these books can be ordered on-line at www.amazon.com and/or www.mti.org (check both for prices, including shipping). They can also be ordered from MTI by mail, by fax, or by phone.

Parents

  • Knell, Marion. (2001). Families on the Move: Growing Up Overseas and Loving It. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI (ISBN 0825460182) $14.95. 9 chapters, Appendix, 189 pages. This is a well-written, practical book for families living overseas. It covers everything from getting ready to go, living overseas, to reentering one’s passport culture. It is valuable for cross-cultural worker parents and any others who work with MKs and other TCKs, as well as those TCKs themselves who are in high school.
  • Pascoe, Robin. (2006). Raising Global Nomads:  Parenting in an On-Demand World. Expatriate Press, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (ISBN 0-9686760-3-0) $24.95; 10 chapters, 230 pages, appendix.  Written by the mother of TCKS, this book is filled with personal experiences as well as much practical advice on living in other cultures.  Much has changed in our world since 1993 when the author wrote her parents guide.  This update considers implications for TCKs growing up outside their passport culture in this globalized, digitized, terrorized world.
  • Blomberg, Janet R. & Brooks, David F. (2001). Fitted Pieces: A Guide for Parents Educating Children Overseas. Share Education Services, Wheaton IL (ISBN not available) $22.50. 8 Chapters, 667 pages. With 84 articles (50 from Interact) appearing in the eight chapters, this is without question the most comprehensive book available on the education of third culture kids. It is a valuable resource for people considering the education of their own children overseas.

Preschool

  • Bowman, Crystal. (2004). Boxes, Boxes, Everywhere! Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI (ISBN 0310700620) $4.95. 18 pages written for ages 2-4. This is a well-illustrated brief book dealing with a boy packing up things in one house, moving, and unpacking them in another. A special "Mom’s Moment" from MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is included at the end.
  • Gray, Nigel. (1988). A Country Far Away. Orchard Books, New York, NY (ISBN 0531070247) $6.95. 30 pages, written for ages 3-6. This book has nearly as many pictures as it does words about life in two different countries. On each page it shows home, school, and recreational activities that look quite different in two cultures. Having a baby, going swimming and shopping in a rural African village are quite different from doing them in a town in a western culture.

Elementary School

  • Viorst, Judith. (1995). Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move. Alladin Paperbacks, Simon & Shuster, New York, NY (ISBN 0689820895) $6.99. 30 pages, written for ages 5-8. As suggested by the title, this book is about a boy who has decided that he does not want to move. After investigating other alternatives, Alexander finally reluctantly agrees to pack and go—but this the last move he will ever make!
  • Waber, Bernard. (1988). Ira Says Goodbye. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA (ISBN 0395584132) $5.95. 40 pages, written for ages 5-9. This book demonstrates how NOT to tell a child about moving and all the distress that can cause—by having the child hear about it from someone else. However, Ira finally realizes that saying goodbye is hard for everyone, hard for those who stay as well as hard for those who move away.
  • Blohm, Judith. (1996). Where in the World Are You going? Intercultural Press, Yarmouth, ME (ISBN 1877864447) $12.95. 63 pages, written for ages 5-10. This is a book written to help children work through the process of moving. First published by the USA State department, it suggests many things children can do alone, and some things that parents can do with them. These activities help children to prepare emotionally, as well as practically, for moving to a new country overseas or returning to one’s passport country.
  • Van Swol-Ulbrich, Hilly, & Kaltenhauser, Bettina. (2002). When Abroad—Do as the Local Children Do: Ori’s Guide for Young Expats. XPat Media, the Netherlands, 2002 (ISBN 90-5594-262-6) $15.95; 9 chapters, 105 pages, information for parents.  Written for children ages 8-12, this guide for living another culture follows Ori, a migrating bird, through transitions.  In addition to activities and assignments, this book also has additional information on Ori’s website to complete the interactive format of the book.

Middle School

  • Brammer, Deb. (1994). Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World. Bob Jones University Press, Greenville, SC (ISBN 0890847517) $7.49. 17 chapters, 179 pages. Although it is written for ages 9-12, the issues are relevant to teenagers in high school as well. Written by a cross-cultural worker mother of two daughters, this Christian fiction is fun to read. Set in Taiwan it deals with a variety issues such as making friends with those of other cultures, communicating with someone with a different language, and conflict with other expatriates. The book presents a realistic look at children finding their niche in a new school in a new country.
  • Fritz, Jean. (1982). Homesick—My Own Story. Yearling Press, New York, NY (ISBN 0698117824) $5.99. 7 chapters, 176 pages, written for ages 8-12. This Newberry Award winning book is a true story about events occurring in the life of the author as an MK in pre-communist China. Though about events that happened 75 years ago, these memorable moments in the life of a 10-year-old girl are timeless. They are still the ones faced by TCKs today, whether they are about happenings at school, on vacation, or those marked by violence and evacuation. Parents would be wise to read this as well to see how their 6th and 7th graders may be experiencing life overseas.

High School

  • Roman, Beverly D. (2003). Footsteps around the World: Relocation Tips for Teens. BR Anchor Publishing, Wilmington, NC (ISBN 1888891351) $13.95. 104 pages written for teenagers. This book was written by a Navy wife who wrote a book about moving, and then she could find no one to publish it. Determined to offer practical advice to people who were moving, she has now written more than 20 books for adults, teenagers, preteens, and children. This book is a practical one including such things as crossword puzzles, find-a-word puzzles, lists one should make, and a variety of other practical activities.
  • Gordon, Alma. (1993). Don’t Pig Out on Junk Food: The MK’s Guide to Survival in the U.S. EMIS, Wheaton, IL (ISBN 0961775114) $13.95. 6 chapters, 9 appendices, 8 types of resources, 160 pages, index. Written for MKs by a fourth-generation MK, this book offers helpful practical advice from MKs to MKs about all aspects of transition to the USA, from preparation to identity to relationships. Each chapter includes great illustrations, questions for reflection, and work sheets.

College & Adult

  • Pollock, David, & Van Reken, Ruth. (2001). Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up among Worlds. Intercultural Press, Yarmouth, ME (ISBN 1857882954) $19.95. 18 chapters, appendix, 333 pages. Written by authors with many years of experience working with TCKs, this book not only reveals what TCKs are like, but also goes on to devote 7 chapters to telling how to maximize the benefits of being a TCK. This book is an excellent resource for parents and teachers wanting to understand their own TCK children or the students they work with in school. It is also an excellent resource for adult TCKs wanting to understand themselves, no matter what their age.

Ronald Koteskey is
Member Care Consultant
GO International