I love finding good fiction books about people living cross-culturally. This year, I found three great middle-grade novels that featured main characters living in a new country. I think they’re good stories, especially for TCKs and expat families. Have you read any of these?

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can’t distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home.

Person handing out full-size Butterfinger bars on Halloween: “And what are you dressed as, young lady?”

Me: “Oh, this is just a traditional costume from the Rasht region of Iran.”

Person handing out full-size Butterfinger bars to everyone but me: “I don’t know where that is, but I assume you’d prefer a piece of fruit for your camel?”


The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce

When two Mongolian brothers inexplicably appear one morning in Julie’s sixth grade class, no one, least of all Julie, knows what to do with them. But when Chingis, the older of the two brothers, proclaims Julie as their “Good Guide” – a nomadic tradition of welcoming strangers to a new land – Julie must somehow navigate them through soccer, school uniforms, and British slang, all while trying to win Shocky’s attention and perhaps also an invitation to her friend Mimi’s house.

“Chingis shook the Polaroid dry and showed it to me. The funny thing was, it looked like Mongolia, as though he could turn bits of Liverpool into bits of Mongolia just by pointing his camera at them.”


Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan

Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they’re both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. Joe’s lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi’s family just moved to America from India, and he’s finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in. Joe and Ravi don’t think they have anything in common — but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.

“Everything has changed. I am no longer the person I was before. I am Curryhead now. Curryhead who has no friends and can’t speak English.”


I hope you get a chance to read them. In fact, I’m hoping you can get the chance to read them for FREE, my treat.

That’s right, ladies and gents, I’m having a giveaway!

I’ll be sending all three of these books to the lucky winner of a prize drawing on January 10. Yes, by real mail, and yes, to any address in the world! (I got your back, expats!) If you win, you just have to tell me where to send them. It can be to yourself, a family living overseas, or to a TCK you know and love.

To be entered in the drawing, simply “Like” my Facebook page and sign up on my author website. Do both and you will double your chance of winning! Entries close 11:59 p.m. MST on January 9, 2018, so be sure to get your entries in now.

Click here for my Facebook page
Click here for the sign-up form on my author website

That’s it! I’m excited to see who will win this awesome book bundle.

And speaking of fiction books that talk about living cross-culturally, I have a big announcement to make. Watch this space for more news!
Happy 2018, everyone!


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