When we first decided to relocate to Jakarta, one of my main concerns was helping N to adjust. He was old enough to be aware of the big move, unlike the twins who just needed me to be around, and I knew he would especially miss his friends in school. Thankfully, I came across this post by Owls Well, and thought that Augustine would be the perfect book to read with N.
I ordered a copy of Augustine from Book Depository, but before the book arrived, we had many little chats with N to prepare him for the relocation. He was naturally upset and worried about moving to a new country, and kept asking if he would have friends, and if he had to go to a new school. He told me repeatedly that he wanted to “go to my Singapore school”, and even though he was excited about moving to a new and bigger place (we showed him a video of our new apartment), he was still anxious about having to go to a new school and making new friends.
Augustine is a little penguin who has to relocate with her family because her father had a new job in a different country. She is sad about leaving her friends and grandparents behind, and gets cold feet about going to a new school. Her parents encourage her to be brave, and although she feels left out initially, she keeps herself occupied by drawing, and breaks the ice with her classmates through her lovely pictures.
I could see so many similarities between Augustine and N, and was glad that N noticed them too as we read the book together. He kept saying, “Like me!” and this book quickly became one of his favourite books before we moved, and even now, after we have lived here for about half a year. I think it helped that the illustrations were very colourful and complemented the storyline. N loves matching the pictures to the text, and counting the different homes that they viewed before finding the right one.
Personally, I feel that this book isn’t just meant for children who have relocated or are about to relocate. Of course, it’s easier for them to identify with Augustine, but it’s a good way to teach empathy as well. I’m sure there will always be new kids in a class, and children can better understand how their new classmates may feel, after reading this book. Apart from that, the illustrations are inspired by famous artists, and I’m planning to do a bit more research about them, before getting N to work on some art pieces himself, since he’s been really into drawing and crafting recently.
Buy the Book
Augustine on Book Depository