Books, Articles and Research

Here I am collating an eclectic, and by no means exhaustive, list of books, articles and research that touch on the experiences of Third Culture Kids directly, or indirectly through various themes or expressions that might nevertheless feel relevent. Some are references I have come across myself, some will have been recommended to me. If you do feel something is missing from this page that you’d like to see listed, do get in touch here. I’d love to hear from you.

When Wanderers Cease to Roam – A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put by Vivian Swift

This is a charming autobiographical work that walks the reader through the months and seasons of one year, with observations encompassing many years of travel and nomadism. Yet the writer is speaking from a place of settledness and is uniquely able in this book to celebrate both wandering and stillness. A wonderful read for all those seeking settledness, and want the detail of what that settledness could look like. I discuss an observation made in this book here.

In Love but Worlds Apart – Insights, questions, and tips for the intercultural couple by G. Shelling and J. Fraser-Smith

I met Janet Fraser-Smith years ago, while I was embarking on my initial research, and was struck by her enthusiasm for the topic, and wisdom. I am not a couples counsellor, nor have I used this book myself directly with clients – but it may be a useful support to Third Culture Kids for whom relationships will always be intercultural!

Writing Out of Limbo – International Childhoods, Global Nomads and Third Culture Kids edited by Bell-Villada, Sichel with Eidse and Orr.

A wonderful collation of Third Culture Kid writers, from a number of perspectives and across multiple themes. Well-written, and a mix of autobiography, reflection and research, this book merits a peruse.

Military Brats – Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress by Mary Edwards Wertsch

This book is simply extraordinary. It’s a courageous and unflinching look at the experiences of many Military Third Culture Kids. Not always an easy read and potentially triggering as it encounters child abuse, both physical and sexual, it is a book that gave me courage to write about the hard places of our TCK landscape.

Belonging Everywhere & Nowhere: Insights into Counseling the Globally Mobile by Lois J. Bushong

Unique in its discussion of the therapeutic journey of Third Culture Kids, this is worth a read by counselors and TCKs alike. While written from an American perspective (and the American diagnostic context) it has broad applicability. My only critique would be that I feel it can occasionally be read as privileging the TCK culture or identity over other, non-TCK ones. Nevertheless, it carries great insight into the implications of the TCK experience in life generally as well as in the therapeutic setting.

Letters Never Sent – One Woman’s Journey from Hurt to Wholeness by Ruth E. Van Reken

A beautiful book, written by a TCK who has done so much to open up the TCK narrative. It will probably make you cry. And you will breathe easier after reading it.

Third Culture Kids – Growing Up Among Worlds by Pollock and Van Reken

Widely referred to as “the TCK Bible”, this book is where it all starts for many Third Culture Kids. Read it, give it to your teenagers, it outlines many of the founding concepts around the TCK experience, and is the place from which much of our vocabulary as a community stems.

At Home Abroad – An American Girl in Africa by Nancy Henderson-James

Engaging, intimate and honest, this is worth a read.

Misunderstood – the impact of growing up overseas in the 21st century by Tanya Crossman

The latest in TCK research, and quite possibly the most comprehensive to date, this book is a great update and extention of the original ‘Growing Up Among Worlds’. I’ve written more about it here.

The Global Soul – Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home by Pico Iyer

Beautifully written, this book is an invitation to explore the world of the Global Soul and all its implications.