Lisa Tucker McElroy, Author
Diane Paterson, Illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company, Fiction, 2009
Suitable for Ages: 6-10
Themes: Military Families, Mothers and Daughters, Separation, War
Opening: “Dear Mommy, I know that it’s only been three days since you went away, but I really, really miss you. Can you come back soon?”
Summary: Lizzie’s mother is a soldier who has been deployed overseas to serve her country, and Lizzie misses her a lot. She and her mother write a lot of letters to help with their separation. Lizzie keeps her up to date with every day happenings at home with her Daddy and brother. She talks about school, winning a soccer game and attending the state finals. Lizzie draws pictures of how she rearranges her room. She also draws many detailed maps about changes in town, and trips she takes with her Dad and brother to visit grandparents. Foremost in Lizzie’s mind are the questions “Are you staying safe, Mommy?” and “When will you be home?”
What I like about this book: This book is a series of hand-written letters with child-like drawings. The major focus is about how a child deals with a long separation from a parent, especially if the parent is on a dangerous assignment. Lisa Tucker McElroy has written a compelling book that speaks for the many military children who silently serve at home and endure the long separations, anxiety, fear and concern for the safety of their deployed parent. They want to know where their parents are, what they are doing, why they miss birthday parties, holidays and soccer tournaments. Diane Paterson’s colorful and lively artwork is very appealing.
Resources: The author has written “Tips from Lizzie and Her Mom on Handling Separation.” A great activity is to encourage your child to create a memory box where they can save things they’ve done throughout the year. The box can be a way of sharing their year with a returning parent.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.