Pat Brisson, Author
France Brassard, Illustrator
Boyds Mills Press, Fiction, 2010
Suitable for: Ages 4 and up
Themes: Separations, Military Families, Bravery, Courage
Opening/Synopsis: “My mom is a sailor. She works on a big ship. When her ship is in home port, she comes home every night…When her ship goes to sea, she goes, too. She’s gone for a long time. Mom hugs me hard before she goes…She says, “Be brave, Jerome. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Dad does his best to care for Jerome and his dog Duffy, but it’s just not the same with Mom gone. Jerome doesn’t feel very brave. But, Jerome has Duffy to share his experiences. Sometimes there are surprises. Sometimes they both have accidents. Sometimes they’re afraid during storms. Sometimes they both get ice cream cones. Sometimes they both have bad days. And, they both learn about bravery in an unusual way.
Why I like this book: Pat Brisson has written a very sensitive story about a military mother who serves in the Navy. She creates a skillful and realistic portrayal of what separation means. Jerome’s loss isn’t glossed over, problems are faced head on, and the family makes the adjustments needed with hope, love and courage. Brassard’s illustrations are warm, gentle and covey the right amount of emotion for the story. This is also an excellent book to use in the classroom with students.
Activities: A special thank you to Barbara Gruener who recommended this book to me. Check out her review. Every year she reads this book to her students, and then has her students do projects for the military at school. You can learn about what her students have done. There are many classroom activities that support our troops, including writing postcards, e-mailing messages, sending care packages and cell phone cards. It you have a military child in you classroom, invite the parent to visit and talk to students. Support our Troops also has a very complete list of organizations that sponsor activities.
To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays badge in the right sidebar.