Marie’s Big Adieu

Marie’s Big Adieu, written by Tamara Rittershaus, Illustrated by Giulia Iacopini, Pen Magic Books 2019

This is Tamara’s debut picture book. She teamed up with Giulia, who has illustrated several other books. I asked Tamara for a review copy of this book after seeing her post about it on Twitter. As a Third Culture Kid, I was curious to read this book about making big moves, written by an expat Mom. It didn’t disappoint.

Marie’s Big Adieu is a good resource for kids facing a big move, whether internationally or within their own country. Marie loves playing with her best friend, Lorelei, in the woods near their homes. When her dad tells her they’re moving to the big city she’s sad and angry that she wasn’t given a choice. (Boy, I can relate to that feeling!) I’m not going to lie. I teared up when I read the scene where Marie and Lorelei say a tearful goodbye: “I’m not so sure I’ll be okay.” (I was instantly transported back to a childhood memory of saying goodbye to my best friend in second grade, both of us crying as we sat on a swing spider-style and sang, “Friends are Friends Forever.”) The story follows Marie’s journey as she settles in and makes a new friend. But she still misses her old friend, and feels guilty and disloyal about moving on. When she calls Lorelei, her friend encourages her to try making new friends in the City. “I’ll be okay.” This helps Marie realize she can make a new friend, and still keep her old friend, too.

It’s a simple example, and one I think children will relate to. Although the book doesn’t go into all the other losses and new discoveries that come with a big move, the same lesson applies there, too. There’s room to love Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese, Lomo Saltado, and sticky rice with mango. You can miss your old favorite climbing tree and love the little mysterious cubby in your new house, too. There’s the grief and the joy of new discoveries all rolled up into one confusing jumble, and they all become a part of who you are.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the illustrations in this book. They are absolutely beautiful. I love the color palette and the whimsical style of Giulia’s drawings. You can see some of the other illustrations on her instagram page.

*I was given a free PDF copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. *

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