As we approach the holidays, students and children of military families will especially miss their parents who are serving our country. I’ve compiled a list of the best books for military families and for military students during the holidays and all year. These books remind us of the sacrifices that parents and children make for our country, and how difficult it can be for children. They can be especially powerful for young children to feel understood and not so alone. I cry when I read most of these books because it reminds me of the great sacrifice that our military families make.
Are there any other books that you would add?
While You Are Away is a heartwarming story about the things that children do, think, and feel when there parents are away. Eileen Spinelli describes beautifully how children can wonder what their parents are doing and how they are feeling as they await the reunion of the family.
I Miss You!: A Military Kid’s Book About Deployment is not so much of a picture book. It is appropriate to read to young children and also for older children. The book also offers resources for parents and family members to deal with the stages and feelings of military deployment. It is more of a parent resource book. It has ideas for how to keep in touch with deployed family members. The author, Beth Andrews, provides a lot of conversation starters and questions to ask your child to help understand their feelings. This is a must have for the military family seeking support and resources.
I gave Hero Dad to a family member when his father was deployed. This is such a special book for young children. The picture book compares superhero characteristics, such as night vision, flying, capes, sidekicks, etc. to the actual job of a military father. It can be a great reminder that while you miss your dad, he is a superhero.
Hero Mom is the ode to the military mother. It is very similar to Hero Dad and by the same author. I love how this book shows women in the military as leaders and of course, superheroes!!
H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet is like a traditional alphabet book completed devoted to military families. This reminds families of all of the little ways that their families make our country great.
Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood is a book about the everyday heroes that you see in the neighborhood. It reminds us that veterans are people we know and how we can honor their service on Veteran’s Day and beyond.
Love, Lizzie: Letters to a Military Mom is a book of letters between a daughter and her mother who is serving overseas. The book is completely pictures and letters between the two. It shows what mother and daughter feel and think throughout the year. The book ends with the perfect surprise letter!
The Fathers Are Coming Home is a picture book for very young children. It describes all the animal fathers coming home to their children. Finally, the sailor father comes home to his little boy.
Sometimes We Were Brave is one of my absolute favorite books. This is a story of a boy and his dog who are missing their mom while she is away. It goes through emotions and things that happen – sometimes we have bad days, sometimes we get treats, sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are sad. He doesn’t think he can be brave but when his mom returns he realizes he was brave. This is a really touching books that chronicles what daily life can be like when you’re parent is away.
A Paper Hug is an adorable book with a really wonderful idea if you have a family member overseas or leaving. The boy makes a cut out of his hands and measures his arms with a string. He attaches the string to his paper hands to make a paper hug. The book has a really amazing poem to go with the “paper hug”. This would be the perfect gift from child to parent for a going away or holiday gift.
Night Catch is a book of a game that father and son play while he is deployed. It gives hope for a reunion and comfort in the stars.
The Wall is a book that I remember reading and having a great impact on me as a child. It’s the story of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Countdown ’til Daddy Comes Home is exactly as it sounds. A boy’s difficult waiting game until he can see his father again.
America’s White Table explains the importance of the white table and why each item is set at the white table. This is an important tribute to fallen veterans. A young girl understands the sacrifices that were made by her family.
I hope this list can help military families find the book that will help them handle the unique emotions that are a part of your sacrifice. I also hope teachers can use the list to teach their students or comfort individual students as needed, especially during the holidays.