I love the resources our community has available for our military family. Today we have resource websites, networking groups and many books to help guide us through some very difficult times. Having these resources for families with kids has become a lifeline for us.
My husband’s eight month, out of state training last year turned into quite an anxiety fest for my family. Not only was I stressed from being a solo parent, but my children were missing their dad. It had been quite some time since he had last left, so we were all going through some transitional hurdles and having a hard time getting past them. About two weeks into the separation I remembered what helped my son six years prior, reading.
Books for military kids are written specifically for military kids and the unique situations or challenges they may be experiencing. Military kid books deal with various topics; dealing with deployment, missing a parent, help with emotions, relocations, and transitioning for homecoming.
In honor of Month of the Military Child, I would like to share my top six military kid books that have been helpful to me and my children throughout our military walk.
• I Miss You!: A Military Kid’s Book About Deployment: Beth Andrews, a social worker who counseled military families, wrote this book to help children and parents deal with deployment. The book is one-half parents' guide and one-half child's coloring book. In age-appropriate words, it explains what deployment will mean for the child, the deployed parents and the family left behind. It includes suggestions that can help children deal with anxiety and anger and go ahead with their lives.
• My Dad’s a Hero: Any child whose father is serving in the military far away from home should read this book. It's a perfect book for children who miss their dads, worry about them, have lots of conflicting emotions and unanswered questions. The book is also perfect for young readers, uplifting and free from scary words like guns, war and fighting. This book gives kids permission to be happy and proud of their military dad.
• A Paper Hug: This book is a favorite of both my children, ages 10 and 4. This story is perfect for kids who need to deal with the emotion of sadness. The story is about a little boy who figured out the best gift to give his dad who was leaving to serve his country . . . a paper hug.
• The Wishing Tree: A good book for all, but especially for girls. This book is about a girl who understands her dad is making the world a better place, but is still upset over the deployment. She finds a way to support her dad by creating a small wishing tree in her room, writing her hopes and prayers on yellow ribbons that she ties onto the branches. She wishes for her dad to enjoy good meals, make new friends, and return safely, the little tree comes to life with yellow ribbons of hope.
• Military Life: Stories and Poems for Children: This book was one that my daughter fell in love with, we still read it! This book is a collection of original stories and poems on the many aspects of military life from a child's point of view.
• My Dad’s Deployment: A Deployment and Reunion Activity Book for Young Children: If you’re looking for fun activities to do with your kids during deployment, then this book is perfect. The activity book features mazes, dot-to-dot, counting, matching, coloring, crafts, telling time, and other activities for preschool and early elementary children. Shown within the context of common deployment and reunion topics, the activities reinforce concepts young children are already learning and offer children the opportunity to ask questions, talk about their feelings, and feel connected to their deployed parent.
What are your favorite books written for military kids? Share your favorites in the comments below.
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