Everyone always talks about the sacrifices that adults make when they enlist in the military–and they do make many terrible, heartbreaking sacrifices during their years of service. But no one really talks about the sacrifices that the children of enlisted parents make: at times it can be an adventure, but for the most part those children endure hours of confusion and stress, months of agonized waiting, and years without parental guidance and comfort.
But of course, books can help with almost any problem. And the following books are an excellent way to help those children find solace and cope with their parents’ long absences:
1. Night Catch written by Brenda Ehrmantraut, illustrated by Vicki Wehrman
This sweet little book is a great way to help children with deployed parents understand family separation–it even includes a fun game for the family to play together.
2. I Love You Near and Far written by Marjorie Blain Parker, illustrated by Jed Henry
A great resource for families with deployed (or even divorced) parents, I Love You Near and Far helps children cope with long-distance separation.
3. Love, Lizzie: Letters to a Military Mom written by Lisa Tucker McElroy, illustrated by Diane Paterson
A beautifully written story, Love, Lizzie is a great way to teach children about keeping in touch with family members who live far away.
4. H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet written by Devin Scillian, illustrated by Victor Juhasz
This fun little book teaches kids all about military lingo: it explains the various branches of the military and also helps children understand the sacrifices their parents are making.
5. I Miss You!: A Military Kid’s Book About Deployment written by Beth Andrews, illustrated by Hawley Wright
This author (a former social worker) wanted to help kids and parents communicate with each other in difficult situations. This particular book helps military children–and their parents–navigate the stresses and emotions related to deployment.
6. Lily Hates Goodbyes written by Jerilyn Marler, illustrated by Nathan Stoltenberg
A fun and interactive storybook, Lily Hates Goodbyes highlights both the scariness of family separation and the joy of reunions.
7. Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops written by Jill Biden, illustrated by Raul Colon
Inspired by her granddaughter’s experiences, Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops focuses on the support military children can and should receive during their parents’ deployment.
9. A Paper Hug written by Stephanie Skolmoski, illustrated by Anneliese Bennion
Give your child a hug! Even if the parent is far away, they can still connect with their child through creative methods like paper hugs.
10. Countdown ’til Daddy Comes Home written by Kristin Ayyar, illustrated by Melissa Bailey
Waiting is the worst. But it can be a little less stressful, with the help of books like Countdown: it helps kids navigate both the excitement and the sadness of waiting for a parent to come home.
What’s your favorite military kids book? How does it help children–or even parents!–endure the separation? Share your thoughts below!
YouTube Channel: Jerilyn Marler
Featured image via Zeiders
h/t Read Brightly