Friends Books - from a German tradition to a memories book for global kids on the move

25 Apr 2023

Almost two years ago now, my family and I were embarking on a big transition. We were leaving Germany and moving to Portugal. Although our move was entirely desired, it was a little precipitated and happened under difficult personal circumstances on top of the dreaded pandemic restrictions.

While planning for this move, my priority was, as for many other parents, my children. At 7 and 11, they were not babies anymore who could be moved without a care in the world. I researched the best tools and ideas to make this transition as smooth as possible. I wrote a an article about some of the little things we did at the time to help them visualise, say goodbye and make memories. 

Having both spent their early childhood in Germany (we lived there for 10 years), they were obviously leaving all of their friends, schools and the only home they remembered. It was important for me to keep some kind of keepsake from all of these aspects of their life. I also did not want to dedicate entire boxes to memories and souvenirs. Yet, photos with friends, contacts, a little word from their favourite teachers, a special piece of the school journal, etc were all things we wanted to hang on to. How to keep all of these things in one place, one small place that could fit in our hand-luggage? Enter Germany’s Freundebuch. 

A German tradition

Freundebuch is a little book children finishing Kindergarten or primary school give their peers at the end of the academic year to remember them by as they move on to different schools around a city. A Friends’ Book is a little German traditions parents love to hate. Imagine a class/group of 20 kids with 20 little Friends Books going around the class. Little kids tend to not be able to complete the required pages by themselves (as they can’t write or read), so it is a time-consuming demand parents love or hate. Some have more questions than others. Some are more time-consuming than others as they come in many different formats and styles. 

However, my children got their own Freundebuch when they left German kindergarten. And I could see how over the years, they kept looking at this little book again and loved to remember their friends even though we lived in the same city still. I realised these would make a great memento for my own kids who would be moving abroad (far away from all those children and friends). 

What about a Freundebuch for kids moving internationally? I searched but my options were limited. 

A global life

Many Freundebuch are not suitable for the global life. They all assume you will stay around town. Other more global moving books provide limited space for friends sadly. When space is included, it is usually part of bigger workbooks that include emotional support. While the content is often amazing, this is not what I was looking for, in this instance: pages upon pages of questionnaires not everyone has the time or desire to fill in. And often, not everyone wants others leaving a little kind word the ability to read more personal accounts of the move. 

I ended up creating little stand-alone pages for my children to hand over to their friends and teachers so everyone could leave them a message, share a memory or some fun facts. For my oldest, we also included contact details, so she could reconnect with her friends by herself when she would be gone.These were messy, let me tell you! I am organised but it was some job to keep it all in check. Yet, their teachers absolutely loved them. They left the sweetest notes. Their friends shared the cutest little anecdotes in those pages. My kids treasure those books 2 years on.

Friends Books

Since then, I have had time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, what my kids loved reading again and again, how we used them and how others had fun doing. I have since created 3 versions of those books (for different age groups). The questions are slightly different depending on the age group: my now 13-year-old didn’t think asking about favourite  ice-cream flavour was interesting! A French version of them is also coming very soon. 

How they work

Similar to the yearbook tradition in the U.S. or the old-fashioned autograph books with empty pages, friends books can be passed around your friends. The prompts are simple, sweet, age-appropriate and quick to complete. Kids can also map out their life around the world with space for family and former homes. Finally, there is a space for tickets, photos and mementos too.

Two formats are available: 

 a PDF to download and print yourself:

- Because you live in Antartica and cannot get the book shipped to you at all or in time.

- Gives you the flexibility to print all of the pages quickly  if you need something by yesterday.

- Gives you the option to only print those pages you like.

- Gives you the possibility to add to it later on by re-printing more pages.

- Lets you give those friends and teachers only the one pages they need (saving a lot of time).

Physical copy of the Friends book

a physical book:

- Because you are not tech-savvy and would rather have someone else do the work.

- Gives you the possibility to offer the book as a gift for a child/family leaving soon.

- Gives you a neater and more practical way to handle the book in the long-term as it is binded professionally.

- Makes it easier to grab and stuff into a bog before taking that plane out of your old home country.


All of your kids memories fit into a handbag: their friends photos, a sweet note from a teacher, a concert ticket. Their life in a book.

If you move often, you don’t have to use one every time. You can keep reusing the same one, adding to the friends and teachers pages. 

They also make a fabulous gift for any child who is moving away. My son is gifting two next week to a classmate who will be leaving for France next month (shhh!).

Who is this book for?

- Expats, immigrants, digital nomads, (whatever your label is for your global life) and their children

- Worldschooling, road schooling families

- Military families

- Anyone child moving for any reason!

Get Your Friends Book Now:

3-6-year-olds printable Friends Book 

6-12-year-olds printable Friends Book

12-year-olds and older printable Friends Book

3-6-year-olds physical Friends Book

6-12-year-olds physical Friends Book

12-year-olds and older physical Friends Book

6-12-year-olds printable French version


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