We are now four months into our six month deployment and one thing that’s been helping the kids a lot, with dealing with their emotions, is our collection of deployment related story books for reading at bed time. I thought it might be helpful to share the ones we have in case you are in a similar situation and are looking for books to add to your own collection.
Sometimes – Clare Shaw – this book was written by a military spouse and really hits the nail on the head with the emotions it describes. There are also activities and what I love is that it talks about how it’s hard for mum too, which helps kids understand why mums can get sad too. It took me ages to be able to read it to my kids without crying so prepare yourself!
My Daddy is Going Away – this book is written by Christopher MacGregor, a former Army officer and is supported by HRH Prince Charles – who writes a little foreword at the front. A story about a dad going away (not particularly military focused), the kids helping him pack, how other people in the world need him, how they pass the time until he comes back and then his homecoming. It is linked to the charity Combat Stress which is a great charity that helps veterans with their mental health. A definite one to pick up for any military child. It’s one of my kids’ favourites.
My Daddy is a Hero – this is a non-military story and also not one about a parent going away, but it is a lovely story about a Dad and we find it acts as a nice way to help the kids remember Dada. It talks about all the things Dads do with the kids when they’re at home, reinforcing good memories and helping them remember stories about him.
Zoe and the Time Rabbit – this is a lovely book commissioned by the Royal Navy Royal Marines charity and it talks about a girl called Zoe who’s dad has to go away with work for a while. He gives Zoe a rabbit toy before he goes and after Zoe gets sad a few times, the rabbit ‘comes to life’ and helps her get through the rest of the time that he is away. Lovely illustrations and a such a nice story. It isn’t Navy, or even forces, specific really. You can get it by emailing email@example.com
Lily Hates Goodbyes – this is an American based military kids’ book but it’s really good. It talks about all the emotions that a child can go through when their parent is deployed and lets them know it’s ok to feel those feelings. It says that mum has those feelings too and there are things we can do to make the days happier and go by quicker. A really nice book that ends with Dad coming home. It comes in Navy, Air Force, Army or All Military versions.
Night Catch – another American military book (you can always tell by the uniforms and the ‘mom and dad’!). This story focuses on a son and his dad who has gone away. In order to feel closer to each other they play a game of catch across the sky at night. It’s a really enjoyable story that the kids loved listening to. Meels decided she wanted to play catch across the sky with her Dada at bed time too.
While You Are Away – the last American book, and the last book full stop, on the list! I like the fact this one covers Navy (Dad), Army (Dad/Grandad, I’m not too sure haha) and Air Force (Mum) and especially that it talks about Dad’s life on a ship as well. It is a bit ‘wordy’ and old fashioned though and probably not my favourite of the books we’ve got. The beginning bit makes me a bit sad but it ends with all the mums and dads coming home.
Let me know which books you use for deployment/mum or dad being away. They really do help in our house.
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