This is meant for middle grade readers.
“Hannah, we have a big announcement for you!” Her parents exclaimed one day when she got home from school.
Hannah giggled. She had an idea what this ‘big announcement’ was so she yelled, “I know already!” She jumped up and ran to her mother to give her a big hug. She thought she was very clever at guessing what her parents had to say so she asked, “I’m going to have a baby sister, right?” Finally! She could already imagine being a big sister and showing her little sister how to draw with crayon, how to dig for worms, and how to go way high on the swings without falling off. All her friends had little sisters that they could dress up or tease so she wanted one too. Sometimes Hannah got lonely and bored at home since she was an only child. She wouldn’t even mind if her sister was a little brat.
But her parents didn’t look like they expected her guess because they looked at each other and just laughed. “No, Hannah, you’re not going to. We’re moving to another country next week,” they said.
“What about school? What about my friends? I don’t even know where we’re and I don’t want to go! I want to stay here… please?” Hannah begged. She didn’t want to go somewhere where she wouldn’t have any friends and also where she wouldn’t know anyone other than her parents. Usually she was an obedient daughter but this time it was just not what she wanted or expected. Hannah knew if they moved she would miss her friends, have to try and make new ones, and go to a new school. At least the one good thing about the move was that she wouldn’t have to see Danielle, who was her personal nightmare at school anymore. But still, Hannah wanted to stay where she knew everyone in her life instead of going somewhere where she knew almost nobody.
“You’ll be doing homeschooling, honey,” said Hannah’s mother as she gave Hannah a long hug. Her father nodded behind them and added, “Plus, I’m sure you’ll make new friends soon because you’re such a bright and warm girl.”
“What’s homeschooling?” Hannah wondered out loud. She pictured her house turning into a school full of people her age. “Am I going to have classmates at home?”
“You’ll be working through homework by yourself, and of course I’ll help you if you get stuck,” Hannah’s mother said. “Your classmates will be online instead of face to face, since they will be in Canada while we are away. I guarantee you’ll like this whole idea when we arrive next week.” And that was the end of the discussion.
The next day, Hannah climbed out of bed in a gloomy mood and did not want to go to school at all. She did not think that school would be as much fun as it was, now that she was going to leave it soon to study at home. Thinking about moving away made her lose her appetite and she nibbled on her breakfast, mixing the food and swirling it around until it was time to go. This made her receive a disapproving look from her mother, who then announced, “Stop looking so grey and gloomy, Hannah. They say the world is supposed to end in 2012! Not today. Put a smile on your face and you’ll feel better once you get to school. I guarantee it.”
Hannah highly doubted it but she nodded and attempted a little smile. Her mother seemed to enjoy this very much. Sometimes she thought her mother treated her as if she was still a baby. She certainly wasn’t a baby. As she sat in the car while her mother drove her to school, she had a small thought that, “Maybe it won’t be that bad moving to another country! I’ll be able to see things that I haven’t seen before, and make new friends too.” Hannah shook her head. It wasn’t going to be that easy and even if she made new friends, she would be abandoning her friends here. She couldn’t leave them behind just to make new friends and then forget about them.
By the time she had thought this over, the car had stopped and Hannah’s mother had opened the door and walked her to her classroom. “Have a great day at school, honey!” Her mother called as Hannah went to class. Her eyes widened at the banner that said, “GOING AWAY PARTY” in rainbow colours, at the table full of food and candy, and at her classmates (other than Danielle, who sat glumly in a corner) who were all wearing colourful party hats and blowing on their toy horns.
Hannah was speechless as her classmates came and asked her a million questions (well, not a million but more than Hannah could keep track of).
“Where are you moving to Hannah?” “Will you miss us?” “When are you moving?” “Are you excited?” “Will you come back and visit us?”
On and on the questions went and Hannah did her best to answer all of them. By the time she finished answering questions, it was recess. Her classmates had went back to their usual activities and she realized that she hadn’t seen Sally (or Danielle at that, though she didn’t worry about Danielle too much) the whole time. “Sally?” She asked as she looked around the classroom. “Has anyone seen Sally?”
“Oh! Sally’s been looking sad today. She said she was going to the playground,” Matt said. He was one of the nicer boys in the class, but he was still a boy so Hannah just said, “Thanks!” and ran off. The playground was full of children. There were four swings and they were all taken up. The tunnel slide had a line up and the monkey bars were also full. Finally, Hannah spotted Sally. Sally had blonde hair, shiny in the sunlight. This was the easiest way for Hannah to recognize Sally because out of everyone she knew, Sally had the lightest hair. Unlike Sally, Hannah’s hair was just a plain dark brown, straight and almost always tied back in a ponytail. Even though people always said how pretty Sally was, Sally would always say that Hannah was just as pretty.
Now, sitting under a maple tree by the soccer field, Sally looked like her eyes had turned into fountains and her nose had turned into Rudolph’s or a clown’s nose. “Are you okay, Sally?” asked Hannah.
Sally sniffled and wiped her eyes, not that it helped much, and said, “I’m fine Hannah. It’s just that you’re leaving soon and I’ll really miss my best friend. We won’t be able to see each other or play for a while will we?”
“I don’t want to leave everyone here. I wish Danielle was leaving instead of me. We won’t get to play together but we can always talk over the computer. My mom taught me how to use it so maybe I can teach you before I leave.”
“I’ll miss you a lot. We’ll have to call each other all the time once you get there,” Sally said. Her tears had dried up a little and she was looking slightly less red. She had turned back into the Sally that Hannah knew best.
They raced back to class just in time to hear Mrs. T announce, “Since today is one of the last days Hannah will be in class with us I want everyone to write a card or a letter to her so she can look at them when she gets to her new home and still remember us. Hannah, you can write a card to all of us.” Mrs. T had placed coloured paper on a table at the front of the class and some markers too. Everyone went up and took a piece of paper, folded it in half then in half again, and made a card out of it. Hannah went up too, but she didn’t fold hers because she was planning on drawing a picture and writing a short letter to everyone in the class.
As she was about to leave the front table, Mrs. T stopped her and said, “Hannah, how are you feeling? You must be surprised that you’re moving away so soon.”
“I was feeling sad this morning but now I’m feeling better,” she said while she could feel her eyes starting to get watery. Hannah thought to herself and repeated, “I’m not a crybaby.” until the tears started to fade away. “I’ll miss everyone but I hope that I can keep sending letters back here from my new home with pictures of the places I go to.”
“You’re such a good girl Hannah. I’m sure we’ll all miss you and we’ll try keep in touch as much as possible. I know Sally will miss you the most.”
The last sentence made Hannah think of how she had comforted Sally. By comforting Sally, Hannah had found what she needed to feel less sad. She knew she could still come back and visit, and that she could still talk to everyone through letters, e-mail, and phone calls. Leaving Canada wouldn’t be the end of the world. It was just as her mother said. They say the world ends in 2012 but today isn’t the end of the world, instead, it’s a beginning of a new one.