Finding Home: Third Culture Kids in the World

by Rachel Pieh Jones on May 18, 2018

What a season of books for A Life Overseas! I loved seeing Amy Young’s post earlier this week about All the News That’s Fit to Tell. And Elizabeth Trotter released a book recently as well, Hats. Such a privilege to write alongside these wise and creative people. Definitely check out their books!

And I’ve got my own book to share, though it is hardly ‘my own.’ The voices of 24 writers from all over the globe and all manner of experience fill these pages.


It can be easy to box Third Culture Kids into a book or a paradigm, to limit them to their label. But, of course, TCKs are as diverse as the countries in which they live. There are similar characteristics and experiences but there are infinite possibilities for how TCKs will live and respond.

In 2012, on my website, Djibouti Jones, I hosted a guest post essay series about Third Culture Kids called Painting Pictures. The title was taken from Sara Groves’ song, Painting Pictures of Egypt,

I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me
Either way
And the places I long for the most
Are the places where I’ve been
They are calling out to me
Like a long lost friend…

I knew the series would capture this diversity of experience when I received two particular essays in the same week. One was called, “When an Adult TCK Chooses a Life Overseas.” The next one was called, “When an Adult TCK Does Not Choose a Life Overseas.” The authors had no idea the other had written on this topic.

Other essays covered topics from adoption to re-entry grief, university transition to marrying a TCK. They were written by parents, children, educators, and counselors and we had the immense privilege of launching the series with a post by none other than Ruth Van Reken, who wisely laid the groundwork for defining the term.

At the time, I had just sent two of my children to boarding school. Now, six years later, I am about to launch them back into their passport countries. I revisited the essays and found they resonated on an even deeper level than they had in 2012.

I compiled the essays into a single resource and included interviews and follow-ups with most of the authors. Then, I added action points to each essay, suggestions for how kids or parents or friends or individuals can take the topic and make it personal and useful.

The result, with a gorgeous cover designed by Cecily Paterson (the author of Six Stages of Re-Entry Grief), is Finding Home: Third Culture Kids in the World.

The book will be released on May 22, 2018.

I personally have two essays in the collection, but feel more like a conduit or a midwife, than an author. It is an honor to bring these wise voices together, from all over the globe, and present them to you.

I would love as many people to be able to access this resource as possible, so to that end, if you pre-order the book, that is order it before May 22, I will send a free copy to the person of your choice. Maybe someone you’d like to start a TCK conversation with, someone who just moved abroad, a family member, an educator, a church member, a coworker, a graduating senior…Of course, you can still get the book after May 22!

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Order the book on Amazon
  2. Email me the receipt (rachelpiehjones(@)gmail(dot)com)
  3. Include the email address of the person you’d like to gift the book to (I promise I won’t keep their email addresses for anything else, just to send the book)

And then, once the book is released, leaving an Amazon review would be totally awesome.

My hope is that these essays would help and encourage TCKs and those who love them as deeply as they have me.

Here are some other great resources for TCKs:

Misunderstood, by Tanya Crossman

Between Worlds and Worlds Apart, by Marilyn Gardner

Noggy Bloggy, a blog by a TCK chronicling with vulnerable honesty his journey with depression, and host of an incredible TCK art series

Home, James, by Emily Steele Jackson, a novel about a TCK

What are some of your go-to resources?

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About Rachel Pieh Jones

Rachel was raised in the Christian west and said, ‘you betcha’ and ate Jell-O salads, she now lives in the Muslim east, says ‘insha Allah,’ and eats samosas. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Family Fun, Running Times, and more, and she blogs for Brain Child and Babble.

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