Understanding deployment: books for military children

Understanding deployment: books for military childrenThere are many ways to help children deal with the stress they may be feeling due to the deployment of a parent. Suggestions such as keeping a journal, volunteering your time, or staying active with a sports team or hobby are fun ways to distract kids from what seems like a never-ending time in their life.

While staying busy does help school-aged children avoid dwelling on a parent being gone, how do you help younger children understand and cope with what they are feeling? Many families love reading fun books together; this time can also double as a great teaching moment to help young military kids.

Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to cozy up with your little one under a tree or in the park and enjoy one—or all—of our favorite deployment-related books geared towards children under the age of five.

The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn – This book helps children learn a coping skill when encountering a change or missing someone by connecting their love of family with a “token” – or kiss in the hand. This is one of several books in a series. The author wrote another book, A Kiss Goodbye, that helps young children process moving.

Over There, by Dorinda Williams – Written by Dorinda Williams at Zero To Three, this is a great book because families can download a version of the book, print it out, and then customize the story by using their own photographs. The activity book comes in a “daddy” version as well as a “mommy” version. Military families can order this book via Military OneSource.

The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst – Similar to The Kissing Hand, this book teaches kids how to deal with missing a parent by understanding that they are still connected to their parent via an “invisible string.” While not geared solely to military families, this touching book can help young children feel connected with deployed parents or other family members that are far away.

This is a short list of the many books military families have found helpful. What military-related children’s books do you recommend?

dustinPosted by Dustin Weiss, Youth Initiatives Deputy Director at the National Military Family Association

7 responses to “Understanding deployment: books for military children

  1. Just purchased “The Kissing Hand” for our 2 1/2 year old son and he loves it.

  2. Dorinda Williams has also written a very sweet board book, Sparrow. Mama (or Papa) return after a long time of separation from Sparrow…a little bit different from before they left but still very much the same … loving little Sparrow.

  3. Thank you for posting this!! I love the books and will definitely be buying some and making the “Over there,” books for our little ones!!

  4. Even though my husband has returned my kids still love Over There. Great choice!

  5. I’d like to recommend my award-winning book, “Boo Boo Bear’s Mission The True Story of a Teddy Bear’s Adventures in Iraq,” available through Amazon. com and the publisher, Beaver’s Pond Press. “Boo Boo Bear’s Mission” tells the story of a teddy bear who fulfills an important mission—to carry a military family’s love until they can be together again. Illustrations done by children from military and civilian families.

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