During the Month of the Military Child, it’s important to recognize that your child serves and sacrifices, too. Military children often go without the love and support of their parents while one, and sometimes both, serve overseas. They transition schools an average of between six and nine times during the course of their academic careers, leaving behind favorite friends and teachers. One way that you can honor the sacrifice of your children is by sharing with them stories that can help them better understand and appreciate the importance of their role in both your family and in our larger community. Below I’ve detailed six great books that you can share with your children, but if you can think of any more, please share them with our readers in the comments section!
This is a beautifully illustrated book that uses the alphabet to help teach young children about all branches of the military. Each letter represents an element of military life, for example, A is for the Army and the Air Force, R stands for Reveille, and L is for letters sent from home. Rather than simply listing what the letter represents, the book features a rhyme for each letter as well as an historical interpretation, offering an educational insight into military life for our young military brats! For children ages 6 and up.
Written by a former military brat and now mother to her own military children, Meet Robby the C-130 is part of a series that traces the experience of a military aircraft through training and deployment. It provides young military children with an understanding of what their parent may go through during a deployment, but it does so in a way that allows the child to experience the deployment with a somewhat emotional distance that is created by a cute and friendly illustrated aircraft, Robby. In later books, Robby goes to Hawaii and Germany, helping children either prepare for a PCS to these locations or to better understand the missions these aircraft fly. For children ages 4 and up.
A veteran of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Qatar, Seth Kastle wanted to explain Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to his two young daughters in a way that showed he loved them very much–even if he seemed “mad” at them. This beautiful story is told through the perspective of a family of lions. In the story, the archetypical strong male lion constantly berates his sweet young lion cub, and his mother, the lioness, helps him recognize that daddy needs their love and support. This book is intended for preschoolers.
If you’ve read the captivating World War II tale of Louis Zamperini, the fiery spirit of an Olympian turned Airman, you’re already aware of the transcendent message of perseverance that permeates the story. This version shares the same message with younger children while removing some of the adult content. The original highlights graphic details of the Prisoner of War camps in Japan, so as a parent you’ll need to ascertain the level of maturity of your child to determine which of the two versions to allow. This book is the “safer” option of the two, and is intended for ages 12 and up.
This World War II memoir tells the story of a former Japanese internment camp prisoner, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. Houston tells how, at age seven, she had to leave Long Beach in California with her Japanese-American family to move to the community of Manzanar in the mountains. Her story chronicles her family’s trials through a particularly dark period in American history. In reading this story, your child should learn just how precarious the gift of freedom truly is for us. For ages 12 and up.
As any seasoned military spouse can attest, the return from deployment never gets easier. It’s easy to build up the idea of a joyous return over many months, but the military mom or dad may have experienced a tough deployment, making readjustment challenging at best. Home Again helps prepare your military child for what to expect when his parent returns during this period of big transition for your family. If there’s anything in which a military child can use constant support, it’s change; change is the only thing that remains constant in the life of a military family. This book is intended for preschoolers.
What about you? Do you have any stories that you recommend for military children?