Today I have the opportunity to share with you some more about this great book and author. So, sit down with your cup of coffee (or tea, but Valérie and I would be drinking coffee) and learn more about Valerie and the backstory of B and Emma.
As a Dutch TCK, Valérie knows all about packing up belongings and moving around the world. As a child she moved five times, and countless times as an adult. She understands the ins-and-outs of being the child who feels they had little or any choice in moving to new places, learning new languages, and making new friends.
All transitions have advantages and challenges. Children, and many adults, usually only acknowledge the challenges. This is true during the transition of a move as well. As an adult, Valérie now sees the advantages of being a TCK and shares this knowledge in her book through the sideline character, B. The idea of this unique character came from her childhood. B was her traveling sidekick during those transitional years of maturing into an adult, but also transitioning from country to country. Today, B is still a part of her family as he sits peacefully on her bed. Valérie believes that having a “sacred object” helps TCKs as they make their transitions, just as B helps Emma make hers.
Where is home?
Like most TCKs, Valérie has had her struggle in finding where “home” is. After university she found herself back in the little village of Switzerland where her parents took her on holidays. It was there as a ski-instructor she met her husband, an American. They worked and backpacked together until they earned their Masters in (International) Education. From there they taught in international schools all around the world: Egypt, Bolivia, Aruba, and now back in Switzerland. They have two daughters and can’t wait to show them more of the world. For now, though, that consists of holiday trips, as they have chosen to plant some roots –
“Even though my husband and I both easily get itchy travel feet, there is also a certain calm charm to being able to plant some roots in these early years of their childhood.”
Valérie appreciates the time her parents took to always go back to the village in Switzerland that became sort of home to her as she became an adult.
Write what you know.
Valérie has always loved writing. She took classes in university and enjoyed writing fiction based on her personal experience. Writers are always told to write what they know and Valérie knows “moving.” As a child she struggled with the feeling of not belonging. She says about writing her book that: “Partly, I needed to write this story for myself. But mostly, as a primary teacher and as a mother, I felt a growing sense of responsibility to let children know that they are not alone in their search for ‘home’.”
Although it took her three years to complete the book, she was able to write a large portion of the book during her maternity leave. Like most writers she needed encouragement and support from those closest to her. Valérie says, “I am lucky to have a very supportive husband who is a wonderfully involved house-husband and father to our girls.” She continues to write now that she is back in the classroom, but she admits that finding the balance is “tricky.”
“They described my experience better than I’d ever been able to myself.”
Before Valérie began writing about her TCK experience, she first read Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken. She says that after she read the book she “felt an overwhelming sense of recognition and relief.” She had the opportunity to hear Ruth speak about her work. The stories “were even more powerful in person.” It was from this opportunity that Valérie found the courage to pitch Ruth her story idea about Emma. From there, Ruth put her in touch with Jo Parfitt at Summertime Publishing and as the saying goes, “the rest is history.”
Valérie’s thoughts on publishing~
- I think it’s important to know that it will take time and that you need to be patient.
- Take the time to edit your work until you’re truly happy with it.
- Take the time to let your target audience read it and give you honest feed back on the content of your work.
- Take the time to let it rest once in a while before you continue writing.
- After many people, including professional editors, have edited it have someone who you trust give it a final read through. I’ve learned that it’s very easy to become ‘blind’ to small errors and ‘fresh’ eyes are always helpful.
Valérie’s thoughts on helping kids transition~
“I think the best thing you can do for your child is to accept that your child will likely go through many different emotions during different stages of the transition. It’s important to acknowledge all of these emotions, not to underestimate the grief that saying goodbye will cause them, and to comfort them without judgment.”
Wise words to part with. I want to thank Valérie for taking the time to answer all my questions and for allowing me to share her story.
Again, if you haven’t signed up for the contest, you need to do that. Deadline is May 30th.
BONUS POINTS: Yes, today you have an opportunity to add more points and have a better chance at winning B at Home: Emma Moves Again. All you have to do is subscribe to our websites. For mine, you just need to scroll up and it is located on the right side of your screen. For Valérie’s, you need to click here. Her subscription box is also located on the right side as well. After you subscribe just comment below that you followed and you’ll get two extra entries for each (total of 4). If you already are a subscriber, then just comment below that you want to enter the giveaway because we sure don’t want to exclude those of you who have been following us thus far.