In honor of Veterans Day, I pulled some books that deal directly with teens and their interaction with parents being deployed.
Parry says the idea was born from her own memories of the US returning to war in Iraq in 2003, “I began remembering what is was like to have my husband deployed there in Desert Storm, and I noticed how hard it was on rural communities to lose their reservists to deployment. That gave me a framework to make a larger story about a boy and his grandpa living on a ranch.”
Parry’s website is a veritable cornucopia regarding this topic, as well. She has links to take action, like “Things a Kid Can Do to Support a Military Family” and “How Teachers Can Support a Child of a Deployed Soldier.”
On the younger end of the YA spectrum, we have ‘Bull Rider’ by Suzanne Morgan Williams. This story is about dealing with loss that is brought on by war. The main character, Cam, is 14 years old, a ranch boy, and a skateboarder. He sounds like your everyday kind of kid, until something happens to his older brother when he is serving in Iraq. Cam deals with his grief by bull riding to support his family’s traditions, as well as to deal with his grief. Williams’ empathy in dealing with Cam’s fear of bulls and Ben’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) makes this a compelling read.
Third on today’s list is “Operation Yes” by Sara Lewis Holmes. Set in a sixth-grade classroom on an Air Force base, students are forced to think differently when their quirky teacher tries to bring the world of improv to their classroom. The strength of this book is in the characters who deal with moving every time a military assignment comes up for one of their parents or when a parent is deployed.
Holmes’ insight to military families stems from her own experience as a military wife. Regarding ‘Operation Yes,’ she says, “Much of my family’s real life is in there—including air shows, FOD walks, “remove before flight” key tags, the sound of flightsuits in the dryer, living on base, moving often, dealing with deployments, bravery, fear, uncertainty, hope, and the kindness of all the communities we’ve been a part of. I wanted to write a book that would not only reflect their lives, but extend an invitation to readers to step in and be part of that world for awhile.”
While we remember our veterans today and every day, let us also consider the military families and all of those who support our soldiers. There are some great non-profits working hard with this effort, as well.
Let a soldier or a veteran know that you are thinking of them today because every day is Veteran’s Day.