We Serve Too!

Kathleen Edick and Paula Johnson have written and illustrated a series of books for children who are coping with the deployment of a military parent. Kathleen’s son served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she was eager to find a way to explain her son’s deployments to her grandchildren in a meaningful way.   Paula, also a grandmother, loved the vision and added her writing and rhyming talents to the stories.  Together, these two grandmothers have created a beautiful series of books that will help children and families deal with long deployments, reunions and homecomings.   Children will have fun with the rhyming.  The bold and colorful  illustrations depict a lot of action and emotion designed to help kids understand and share feelings.  There a three basic books in the series for children 2-9 years.  The characters remain the same throughout the series. The books have all won the Silver Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence.

“Children make a sacrifice of the parents’ time and attention which needs to be recognized by the American public,” says Kathleen.  “We need to care for and acknowledge that they indeed serve too!”

A Child’s Deployment Book

Opening/Synopsis:  “My daddy joined the Army, He’s away from me and Mommy: and I don’t like it…NOT ONE BIT!  Sometimes I even pitch a fit:  And sometimes I regret it!”  Told in first person, a little girl is very unhappy about her father being deployed for a year and  she thinks about the time they will miss together before he returns home.   He explains to her that he’ll be in a danger zone, and that he wants her to stay home safe and sound.  She thinks about him when she gets up, imagines what he’s doing during the day, and what he eats for dinner.  Bedtime is when she misses her daddy the most.  But, she says a prayer for her dad at the same time he prays for his family.  The book is an honest portrayal for kids, but it is also a book of strength, courage and hope.  Posted in the back of the book is “The Creed of the Soldier’s Child,” a wonderful tool to use or post for the child.

A Child’s Reunion Book

Opening/Synopsis“Home is where things get messy – my room, my playhouse, my brother!  Sometimes when feelings get messy too, we don’t know what to do with each other.”  Their father is deployed  in the autumn, and the little girl and her family celebrate Christmas early with Dad.  They celebrate Christmas again in the winter, but it’s lonely without him.  The little girl travels through the seasons, pointing out the things she misses with her Dad — hunting Easter eggs,  losing a tooth, and missing birthdays, and the Fourth of July parade.  As autumn begins to arrive, a it’s time for Dad to come home.  The children prepare a “Welcome Home” banner and greet him with other military families.  The girl is happy for a while, but her feelings become messy and she feels jealous at his paying attention to her mother, angry when he tries to tell her what to do.  The family needs time to become a family again.  A very realistic portrayal for families.

The Homecoming Box

Opening/Synopsis:  “We got a surprise at FRG, a great surprise I think you’ll agree.  We walked down the hall to the room just for kids, and there sat two boxes – boxes with lids.”  The sister and brother attend a program for military children at a center.  Ms. K. holds a decorated box in her lap, and invites the children to gather around her, reach into the box and pull out an item.  Ms. K shares her memory associated with each item.  She gives each child a box– Homecoming Box — to decorate and take home.  During the year they will put items of events and special moments they want to share with their deployed  parent when he/she returns.  Filling the box, helps the time pass for the sister and brother.  They can’t wait until their dad returns so they can tell him about their year.  This is a creative activity for children and helpful for parents during the adjustment period that follows a deployment.  There is an appendix at the end that gives directions on creating a Homecoming Box.

Kathleen and Paula formed their own publishing company, We The People Publishing, LLC, for the WE SERVE TOO!” books.  There is an inspiring story behind the creation of the books, and their journey to bring these remarkable books to children of service families.   The books are distributed through Complete Book and Media.  They can be purchased through the WE SERVE TOO! website.  I encourage parents and teachers to check out the website.  There is an on-line discussion guide for each book that can be downloaded for free and short videos about the books.   There is a booklet for children 6-10 years about Afghanistan, coloring books, “We Serve Too” dog tags, and free printable coloring pages and military branch stickers.

This book has been provided to me free of charge by the author in exchange for an honest review of the work. 

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About Patricia Tiltonhttp://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

31 thoughts on “We Serve Too!

  1. How wonderful and of such importance to recognize these children, who have no choice, serve too! Hats off to these two grandmothers for this lovely series. These three reviews and the resources look excellent. Thank you once again, Pat, for introducing us to such healing kids books, this website is a fabulous resource for many parents and teachers! Bravo!

  2. Oh Patricia, this sounds like such a beautiful book and that video is just priceless! Your theme is wonderful. We have been contemplating on having a war-and-peace theme for the longest time, I would definitely keep an eye out on some of your recommended books for me to find in our libraries in the event that we go through with that theme. Thanks for sharing this, Pat!

    • Myra, I’m glad the books and theme have inspired you. I really like your idea about war-and-peace theme. But this month has been focusing on the real heroes left at home — the children and spouses. And, these are the first really good books I’ve run across that speak directly to the needs of military children. And, I just happened upon the video on YouTube. Thought it was special! Glad you liked it!

    • Catherine, it is hard on the kids, no matter how many times they’ve seen a parent deployed. It goes with the territory. Until the recent wars, the military had a rotation schedule and a soldier knew when they would be deployed. Deployments were shorter. But, 9/11 changed all of that. So, Kathleen and Paula have done a wonderful job of creating something special for children.

  3. A wonderful review Pat on this very important series that these two ladies, Kathleen and Paula have created. As Joanna pointed out these children have no choice for the life they find themselves in and are rarely commended for their bravery. The video and resources round off this beautifully put together review. Thankyou!

    • Diane, thank you for your comments. You and Joanna are right, that the children have no choice, and they serve too! I’m glad you appreciate the grandmother’s efforts. I love the books and think they fill a real need.

  4. Thanks for telling me about these books! I will check them out because then I will know how a military child feels like. My Dad does away for work for a week at a time sometimes and I don’t like that. I can’t imagine having him away for a long time

    • Erik, I remember when I was a kid not liking it one bit when my Dad went away for a week on business. It’s disrupting. Can’t begin to imagine what military children feel. Most of their parents are going to war. It must create anxiety as well as pride — both conflicting emotions. You must not know any military kids. I worked at an Air Force Base, so I’m very familiar with the stress on kids.

  5. Thanks SO much for these titles – I will definitely be checking them out. We often use Sometimes We Were Brave by Pat Brisson. So much empathy for the military child and, in this little treasure, it’s the mom who deploys!

    • Barbara, I’m glad you enjoyed the books. You must be a military family. I am familiar with Pat Brisson but not the book. But, thank you for mentioning it. Will check it out.

      • Hello again. I’m actually not military myself (I’m a farmer’s daughter), but I have such a deep respect and gratitude for those who are. We do a soldier project with our students at least once a year, sometimes twice, to create an awareness and to honor those heroes who serve. Thanks for stopping by the Corner on Character!

      • Barbara, I thought you might be. It’s great that your students do a soldier project during the school year. You may want to see the 7 remaining posts I will be sharing on a variety of subjects that impact military families. Thanks for the recommendation — got it!

    • Craig, very well stated. No matter what our beliefs are, it’s important we support Military Families. Like you choice of words “team mates.” Thanks for you comments.

  6. I honestly don’t understand how people cannot support the armed service people. I have one that lives across the hall from me in my apartment complex. He’s so hot that if he asked me to do anything, I’d probably drop everything I was doing and help him out. I know that sounds shallow…but it’s the truth. The men coming back from the war sure look good (all the ones I’ve seen).

    Anyway…great way to spotlight what’s going on with the children. I love getting that fresh perspective.

    • Michael, glad you liked my spotlight on military children. These books fill a real need for children. After working around the military, they do command respect. It all depends on what their assignments. Those at the greatest risk are the boy soldiers under 20 years of age. They are facing the duties that put them on the front and in harms way. But, this long war and long deployments has been hard on on services.

  7. Such important books for both kids and adults, and not just the ones who have family members serving in the military. This would help kids whose friends have family members in the military as well. (And no surprise that there are tears in my eyes after reading about these books!)

    • Beth, yes I agree. The books are designed for military kids, but they would be helpful for their friends and classmates. I’m glad they moved you. The video really moved me as I saw some very courageous kids making the best of things.

    • Kathleen and Paula saw a need that was not being met. There book are ideal for kids with deployed parents and siblings. And, for friends and family trying to understand the difficulty.

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