Sometimes, it can be hard to explain to your young children what your loved one does in the military, why they have to leave for deployment, or why you have to move – again. Books can be great tools for helping kids understand tough concepts, adjust to military life and make it through deployments. They also make great holiday gifts. Here are our picks for the ten best military books for kids:
1. Hallmark My Wish for You Recordable Storybook
Usually priced between $20-$30, recordable books can be an expensive purchase but are well worth it for deployments. Have your loved one record several of these before they deploy, and your child can return to them again and again when they’re missing mom or dad. This book is a sweet story about all the happiness a parent wishes for their child.
2. I’ll Lend You My Daddy
I’ll Lend You My Daddy, targeted at kids ages 4-8, helps them understand why their dad has to deploy and how important a job in the military is. It will also help them feel less alone and understand that many kids have the same feelings they’re having.
3. H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet
H is for Honor is a great book for explaining simply and clearly the different branches of the military and what being a military family means. It discusses how much soldiers love letters from home, why military families have to move and what life on base is like.
4. My Army Coloring Book
Coloring books are great for preschoolers because it gets them interested in and excited about the military and their parents’ service. It can also help them figure out what questions they want to ask about military life.
5. Military Animals with Dog Tags
This Scholastic book tells the true stories of many different kinds of animals that have served the military, from dogs and horses to pigs and bees. A fascinating read for grown-ups too! Kids’ favorite part will be that paw-print dog tag that comes with every book.
6. Buddy the Soldier Bear
This adorable story takes kids on a journey from the toy store to the battlefield with Buddy, a bear who ends up in a care package for a soldier. It’s a great way to get kids excited about putting together care packages, and help them imagine what happens to the packages on their journey. We love that a portion of the proceeds go to nonprofit organizations that help active duty military and veterans.
7. Making Friends
Making Friends by Mr. Rogers is a great book for a child who has to move to a new school and make new friends. It will help them get excited about meeting new people, instead of being scared.
8. Letters to My Daughter/Son
This beautifully packaged book contains 12 letter prompts (Like “I am proud of your because…”) that mom or dad can fill out before they leave for deployment – or for a child to read when they’re grown up. These handwritten letters will become your child’s keepsake, and you can seal each letter and write the date the letter should be opened (Idea: one per month during deployment).
9. I Love You Near and Far
I Love You Near and Far is a great book to read before any time of separation – even if it’s just a day at work. With rhymes, colorful pictures and a reminder that a reunion is not too far away, it’s the perfect book for any military family to have in their collection.
10. The Soldiers’ Night Before Christmas
The perfect holiday book for a military kid! This Big Little Golden Book retells “The Night Before Christmas” at a military barracks. It starts: “‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the base / Only sentries were stirring — they guarded the place.” Make this your new holiday tradition.
With young kids, the most important thing is to reassure them that they are loved, whether mom or dad is near or far, and to let them know that it’s okay to feel all the emotions that come with living the military life. While they are lots of difficult parts, there are also lots of wonderful, happy memories made too.