Sunday 28 July 2013

Book Review: Slurping Soup and other Confusions

I wish this book had been available years ago when I was a child and our family moved around in Africa. This book is full of real life stories and activities to help third culture kids during transitions. Children related very differently to international moves than adults. This book helps parents get an insight in to how children experience leaving a country and discovering a new country.

The book Slurping Soup and other Confusions has been written by 6 authors, each with their own professional background and they are all parents of third culture kids. One of the authors: Ulrike Gemmer even grew abroad in Jamaica, Somalia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Zambia.

All the children of the authors contributed  their personal stories, artwork, pictures, and ideas for activities. So it's a book by third culture kids for third culture kids!

In one of the first chapters D'Arcy (aged 8) writes "My first year in Vietman was wierd". He says "the worst part about Hanoi was the bad smell outside our house where the taxis parked". The story continues and following this story there is an activity: the Wierdometer. The child is encouraged to write down things they find wierd in the new country.

In another chapter Sophie (aged 8) writes that she did not feel safe in Jakarta, Indonesia when her parents went out and left her with the nanny. She would cry a lot every time they went out. Discover why she did not feel safe and how Sophie and her parents found a solution that made Sophie feel safe! The activity is make your own backup plan.

Hafsah (aged 6) discovered she had missed her favourite aunt's wedding. How could she? Without me? The connected activity is that a child can write down what special event they had missed. Then they can circle the emotion that best fits the feelings they had, like angry, disappointed, sad, heartbroken, confused, lonely etc.

There are many different fun activities: like making a special collage, learning to count in 15 different languages, brainstorming ideas for keeping in touch with relatives, marking on the map of the world where you live and have lived and where you still want to go. The activities are suitable for 3 to 12 year olds.

The book is a collection of 23 true storiesThe stories explore:  
  • adapting to new environments
  • Who am I? Where do I belong?
  • Home and family adjustment
  • Cultural differences
  • Friendship change
This a great book for expat parents to use with kids while preparing to leave, during the move and while living abroad. It is a easy tool to use to talk with your child about the changes and all the things that are different in the new country. It makes it easier for parents to talk about the feelings involved with all the changes. No matter in which country you are moving to you should take it along with you.

Slurping Soup and Other Confusions by Maryam Afnan Ahmad, Cherie Emigh, Ulrike Gemmer, B├írbara Menezes, Kathryn Tonges and Lucinda Willshire. Available on Amazon or on There is a facebook page: Slurping Soup and other confusions too. Interested in a preview of the book? You find a sample here of 4 chapters (includes stories and activities).

Have you used the book? What are your experiences? Do you know of other good books on moving abroad and useful for kids?

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