by Christopher O’Shaughnessy

Published by Summertime Publishing, 2014

Here’s a book that is truly one of a kind on the subject matter of third culture kids. As a military kid, Christopher O’Shaughnessy understands living between worlds and cultures, while trying to figure out the identity as a third culture kid. He has a gift to write in a way that words on the page seem to just come to life. His memorable stories are hilarious, and yet at the same time they drive a point that will be remembered well after the book is put down.

To read the rest of this review at CLEW, click here.

If you’d like to read a different review, click here to read the one on Goodreads.


Book Review: SAFE PASSAGE by Douglas W. Ota

by Douglas W. Ota
Summertime Publishing
Regardless how long someone has been an expat, mobility issues are a major part of their life. Many expats can quickly estimate how many boxes will be needed to pack their belongings. They know the routine of good-byes and hellos. From personal experience, they know the grief that trails after them from place to place.  They recognize this grief in their children, and may long for a ‘quick-fix’ to help them cope with this grief.
A new book by Douglas W Ota, Safe Passages:  How Mobility Affects People and What International Schools Should Do About It, might just be the essential resource needed for expats.
If you’d like to read more about this book, check out my review at ExpatArrivals.

Book Review: Picture Books

This month I’ve joined an online group called ReFoReMo (Read For Research Month). It’s a group that has dedicated to read and research picture books for a month. I’ve joined because, well, it’s something I’d like to do and am working towards….publishing a picture book. Anyway, in my researching I’ve discovered a few gems that would be helpful to TCKs. Below are three that I’ve found so far.

1. THE NOISY AIRPLANE by Mike Downs illustrated by David Gordon

Not all TCKs begin life in an airplane. Some are toddlers when they take their first flight. This book is a great book to introduce the experience of riding in an airplane: the loud noises, the bumps, the meals, and riding in the day and in the night. I highly recommend it if you are a parent about to take your TCKs on a long flight for the first time.


2. THE LEAVING MORNING by Angela Johnson/paintings by David Soman

This book focuses on the morning of the move. Although, the family is probably not moving to a new country – kids can relate to the feelings of saying good-bye to friends, neighborhood acquaintances, and even family. It’s a nice book that might help younger children understand the process of moving.


3. THE COLOUR OF HOME by Mary Hoffman illustrated by Karin Littlewood

Little Hassan is new to the UK from Somalia. When his teacher gives the class time to paint, Hassan’s painting begins to tell the harsh story of his family and what he witnessed. I added this book for two reasons because 1) sometimes our children witness some harsh realities of life – even dangerous ones and 2) I felt this teacher was a good example in finding a way for this child who spoke no English to communicate. Although, it is not probably a book you would want to read to a younger child, it is a good book to read as an adult or an older child.

*Please know that in no way am I suggesting ways to counsel children who have gone through traumatic experiences. If your child has encountered such experiences, please seek professional guidance and help. And if it is a student, please talk with the parent/guardian first.

Book Review: RED BUTTERFLY by A.L. Sonnichsen


by A.L. Sonnichsen


Kara lives with her American mom in Tianjin, China. Her mother brought her home eleven years ago after finding her abandoned, but for reasons Kara doesn’t understand or fully know they are not able to travel too far outside their small apartment, let alone move to Montana where her dad lives. After her older sister comes to visit, unpreventable events occur that causes a domino effect in Kara’s life. She uncovers answers to her questions and learns to thrive in new, and sometimes quite scary, environments. The story is told in moving (sometimes to tears) verse.

My thoughts:

I’ve included this book on my list of TCK books because Kara is a TCK. From the beginning you sense it. She’s Chinese, but her mother is American. She looks Chinese, but feels American on the inside. Isn’t that what a lot of our children feel like? The author knows this feeling because she herself grew up in Hong Kong.

It’s also an adoption book – as there are some deep issues touched upon. We “hear” Kara’s thoughts about all that is going on around her: her fears, her questions, her sadness. I think I’ll let the book show what I’m trying to say. You’ll get an idea from this excerpt – which is one of my favorites.


On my way home,

like always,

I inspect





one of them

could be


Sonnichsen understands adoption as well as a mother can. She and her husband adopted their oldest child while living in China.

I totally recommend this book, especially if you have internationally adopted. It is truly a good read. My only warning is that you set time aside, as it will be hard to put down. It seriously is that good.

Book Review: Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style

DUTCHED UP! ROCKING THE CLOGS EXPAT STYLE is a compilation of short stories and articles written about living as an expat in the Netherlands. The stories come from women who have and are living there as foreigners. These stories are well-written and very entertaining – even to this expat who does not even live in Europe.

I truly believe that if one finds his/herself moving to the Netherlands that this book should be on their list to read before moving there. The stories in this book are not just entertaining, but helpful to those learning to navigate through the culture, the language, food, and yes even help with the washing machine manual. I found myself wishing I had had a book like this for living in Asia when I first made the dive into living abroad.


Book Review: PASSAGE TO PERSIA by Margaret A. Frame

PASSAGE TO PERSIA is a story of a young missionary doctor and her 30-years in Persia, or what is now known as Iran. Adelaide Kibbe became a doctor in the 1920s and traveled to Persia. Her story is woven together through her personal letters, diary entries, and mission/hospital reports. It’s through these accounts we see a young lady become a wife, a mother, and a widow – all while working as a doctor in a fairly rough country for women.

You can read my full review at the CLEW website. Just click here.



by Jo Parfitt and Colleen Reichrath-Smith

Living the expat life can sound adventuresome, exciting, and honestly quite fun for most people. Most trailing spouses will agree that at the beginning, it is fun and adventuresome, but somewhere in the middle of maybe the third month or so the “vacation” is over. They begin to feel bored, somewhat useless, and possibly even depressed. Most left jobs and/or careers back in their home country to support their spouse or partner. This was the scenario for both Jo Parfitt and Colleen Reichrath-Smith, authors of A CAREER IN YOUR SUITCASE.

Jo found herself on a plane from England to Dubai as a young wife. The first ten years were rough she says in her book, but she “developed…a career in my suitcase, a portable career that moves when I do.” Colleen, a career consultant, moved to the Netherlands shortly after she married a Dutch man. She gave herself time to learn the language, and then began giving career development training in Dutch. The two of them have teamed together to add and improve what Jo created over fifteen years ago.

In their book, they say, “a portable career is work that you can take with you wherever you go. It is based on your own unique set of skills, values, passion and vision and is not based in a physical location.” Technology has really paved the way for many to be able to make a career while they are traveling the world. “The only real limit is your ability to imagine and create it,” they say at the beginning of their book when describing more about a portable career.

A CAREER IN YOUR SUITCASE is packed with useful tools for anyone looking at the next step. It is divided up into three parts: Find Your Direction; Find Your Opportunity; and Putting it Together. The first part helps you find what you are passionate about to remind you what skills you already possess and can use. The second section takes those passions and skills and helps you discover career options. The last section encourages and directs you in ways to step out and make your career work.

This book is not a book you just read through. It is one that is to be used, marked up, and notes taken in. Jo and Colleen created a separate section called “My Career Passport” at the end of the book, which is a space to write out answers to the “homework” questions in each section. This new section makes it worth having the newer version. This version is also packed with so many resources that are available on the internet. One being their own called A Career in your Suitcase.

This book is definitely a must read for those who are the trailing spouse or if you are at a point in your life that you want to do something new. I found this book to be highly useful and resourceful.

Author Interview: Valérie Besanceney

IMG_9127This week I’m celebrating my 100th post here on Raising TCKs. Click here to find out how you can enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of B at Home: Emma Moves Again by Valérie Besanceney.

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.

Book Review: Harvesting Stones

Harvesting Stones by Paula Lucas 

Summary: This memoir is about a Catholic farm girl journeying through Europe and the Middle East with her international photographer husband. To the outsider, including her family, everything looked perfect – even fairy-tale like. In reality, though, she was surviving a nightmare and protecting her three children at the same time. This is the inside look of a woman beaten, bruised, and trapped and how she turned her experience into starting two organizations to help expat women who are experiencing domestic abuse. These organizations are Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center (AODVC) and Sexual Assault Support & Help For Americans Abroad Program (SASHAA)

My Take: I really liked Harvesting Stones. Though the first few chapters are a little slow reading, I do believe they need to be there to help you understand where Paula came from. After those chapters hang on because the ride she takes you on is, seriously one you won’t believe really happened. It is like something from the movies with all the twists, turns, and suspense. The difference is that after the movie, you can sigh and say, “Well, I’m glad that was just a story and not real,” but with this book it is real – and the sad thing is her story mirrors many other expat women. Women I may know by name, but not deep enough to know the hurts they are experiencing. This book forced me to open my eyes a bit wider, with not just the knowledge that there are women like this living overseas, but that there are organizations – people who care, support and help these women and children. I love how she describes how she was able to take the “stones” that were thrown at her and “harvest” them into something good. What a challenge to us all – to take whatever hardships we’ve been given and to harvest them into something that can help and encourage others.

* I received this book for review by the publishing company, Summertime Publishers. The views are strictly mine alone.

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Book Review “Expat Life: Slice by Slice” by Apple Gidley

Expat Life Slice by SliceExpat Life Slice by Slice

by Apple Gidley

Book Description: Apple Gidley is not only a TCK, but one that has parented and now grandparenting TCKs. She shares her life from the beginning in Africa with her pet monkey, to the various moves and boarding schools, to life as a young mother, and the challenges of elderly parents. She offers insights and tips throughout the book that all expats can use.

My Take: I received this book from Janneke, a fellow blogger-friend who writes at DrieCulturen. I was excited to read it after Janneke’s review because Apple has been an expat all her life. With a full understanding of the TCK experience, she shares her frustrations and excitement living and traveling around the world not only as a TCK, but also as a trailing spouse, or as she has renamed this group STARS (Spouses Traveling And Relocating Successfully). I enjoyed her humorous stories and related to many of her, let’s just say, interesting experiences. I liked this book because it wasn’t just a memoir of an expat life. At the end of each chapter (slice) she gives tips and thoughts that she calls the “Take Away Slice”. Although, I didn’t agree with everything that she writes, I do think it was a good book that made me think through some issues.

I must warn you now, I was inspired with a few ideas for posts while reading this book. So, you will be hearing more about this book later. So, I definitely recommend it to those who are about to venture into expat life, those who are in the midst of the adventure, or to even those who have left or about to return “home”. She has much to share.

Your Turn: Have you read this book yet? What were your thoughts? Please share in the comments below.