Picture Book--Children & Young Adult

T.A. for Military Kids: The Awesome Military Kid's Guide to Feelings by Leslie Nelson

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

"T.A. for Military Kids – the Awesome Military Kid’s Guide to Feelings” helps military children understand some of the unique feelings that come with being members of military families. “T.A.” stands for Transactional Analysis, a communications theory. Author Leslie Nelson designed the book to be read by an adult working with a child explaining different feelings and then asking children questions to help them explore their feelings. Stephanie Nelson provides colorful and descriptive illustrations to accompany the text and appeal to kids.

The author’s background as both a counselor and a member of a military family provide an understanding of the subject matter. The questions she asks keeps children engaged and thinking, without probing. She discusses the differences between military children and others including the not-so-great things including frequent moves, new schools, and parent deployments. She also suggests ways for children to replace bad feelings with good ones based on Dr. Claude Steiner’s research.

This is a book that fills a void for adults looking for methods to speak with military children about the realities of being members of military families. It is a good primer to get children talking. It speaks of good feelings, bad feelings, and reminds children to be proud of themselves and their families. This book is an easy read for adults and recommended to be read to eight- to-eleven-year-olds.

MWSA Review by Valerie Ormond (June 2018)


Author's Synopsis

A 2011 Department of Defense report approximates that 44 percent of military personnel have children. When the military enlists a service member, it enlists the entire family. These families make many sacrifices and deserve our respect and appreciation. T. A. for Military Kids: The Awesome Military Kids Guide to Feelings encourages military kids to feel proud of themselves and their contribution to the family, and proud to have a parent in the military, even if military life is challenging for them at times. A kid’s perception of an event like deployment is often very different from an adult’s. Depending on their age, kids may believe they are responsible for the deployed parent going away, while this thought would never enter an adults mind. The book talks about the normal feelings all kids have and then explains the possible emotions experienced by military kids when faced with the events of everyday military life, such as frequent moves, adjusting to new schools, absence of the military parent, and re-establishing family roles when the military parent returns. This guide helps military kids make sense of their experiences and understand that all of their feelings are normal and okay, even the challenging ones. For military parents, T. A. for Military Kids makes life a little easier by encouraging kids to talk about what’s going on in their heads.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-4624-0874-0 ASIN: B07922FNLH
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Picture Book
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 40

The Tale of Buzz-Anna The Traveling Bee by Cathy-Ann M. Alexander

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

The Tale of Buzz-Anna the Traveling Bee by Cathy-Ann M. Alexander is a unique idea for a children's book. Buzz-Anna develops a wanderlust yearning for the bright lights of the big city. "One day I will leave and move to the big city, where the bee-utiful lights will shine and dance on my bee-utiful body! I will marry a city prince and have lots of bee-utiful ba-bees!""

Accompanied by bee-utiful illustrations, the reader/listener journeys with two adorable bees until Buzz-Anna makes the decision to strike out on her own to follow her dreams.

Review by Nancy Panko (July 2018)


Author's Synopsis

The Tale of Buzz-Ann the Traveling Bee is the story about a little bee named Buzz-Anna who lives in the small town of Bees-Ville with her mother, Tree-Lisa, her father Comb-Ba, her sister Honey-Sha, and her brother Nest-er. Buzz-Anna hates her small town of Bees-Ville and dreams of moving to a big city. But day after day, Buzz-Anna finds herself still living in her small town. One day Buzz-Anna and her best friend Wax-Ann went exploring through the forest when they discovers a new world on the other side. Buzz-Ann knew that this was going to be her way out to the big city. The Tale of Buzz-Ann the Travelling Bee will take you on a journey as Buzz-Anna travels through her newly discovered world, to find a big city and follow her dream of finding and marrying a prince. The Tale of Buzz-Anna the Travelling Bee is a children’s book about following your dreams. This is a book written to remind children that they should never limit themselves, to think outside the box, and to always follow their dreams.

ISBN/ASIN: Soft cover- 9781546213840; Hard cover - 9781546213826; E-Book- 9781546213833; ASIN: B0796576PY
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Fiction, Picture Book
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 38
 

Eddie and Bingo : Destination Christmas by Kathleen and Katherine Taylor

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Eddie and Bingo: Destination Christmas by Kathleen Taylor and Katherine L. Taylor is a delightful children’s picture book based on the life of a U.S. Navy sailor. As a sequel to Eddie and Bingo: A Friendship Tale, this book explores the life of a naval combat photographer during the years of the Korean War. The book is a heartwarming tale of normal everyday ship life as well as time spent ashore. Eddie, our “hero” is a regular guy whose kindness and compassion shine through in all he does. After Christmas leave is cut short and Eddie is ordered to return to the ship, the sailors find a meaningful way to share Christmas where they are stationed. And what about Bingo, the dog Eddie discovered on board in the previous book? Rest assured he makes an appearance in this book too, bringing joy to children and sailors alike.

Eddie and Bingo is engagingly illustrated, and children will identify particularly with the facial expressions of the characters throughout the book. They will also find enough detail to capture their attention while someone reads the words of each spread.  A brief glossary of navy terms as well as some fun facts are found in the back, along with some of the actual photos taken by the Navy photographer who is the inspiration for this book.

For those who love the Navy or are interested in learning more about combat photographers, this book will provide exceptional conversations with your young ones.

Review by Betsy Beard (July 2018)


Author's Synopsis

Eddie's Christmas Destination is uncertain. Will he fly home to New York City for the holidays?Could he stay in Hawaii fulfilling the admiral's photo assignments? Would the Navy send him back to Japan to be reunited with his pup, Bingo? See what develops this Christmas?

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-62901-538-5
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Creative Nonfiction, History, Biography, Picture Book
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 48
 

My Daddy Sleeps Everywhere by Jesse Franklin

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

On any given day, thousands of US military servicemen and women are deployed around the globe.  Over two million have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan over the last decade, and about half of those have deployed more than once.  That equates to countless days and nights spent away from home—often more than a year at a time.  Inevitably, the repeated and prolonged absences of so many fathers and mothers leads to stress, anxiety, and a feeling of loss at home.  Although they don't fully understand what's going on, the youngest members of these military families are still very much aware that there has been a dramatic change in their lives.

It is for this reason that author Jesse Franklin and illustrator Tahna Desmond Fox's My Daddy Sleeps Everywhere is so timely. Using a series of short declarative sentences and a matching set of well-executed drawings of military fathers in various locales and settings, the book allows young children to imagine where their daddies might be sleeping on any particular night.  Each drawing includes a black and white cutout of the sleeping father, so that children can put their own father "in the picture." 

During these early, formative years, these young ones aren't yet ready to understand—much less worry about—what Daddy's work might entail.  But by concentrating on where he might be sleeping (instead of what he's doing), the parent can share a comforting look at the varied locations where Daddy might be laying his head at night.  In the end, they'll appreciate that, of all the places where he might be sleeping while he's away, his favorite is at home with his family. 

My Daddy Sleeps Everywhere will appeal to military families with children one-to-five years old having a father who spends large stretches of time away from home on deployment.

Review by John Cathcart (April 2018)


Author's Synopsis

As military families tuck in for the night, their thoughts often turn to daddies who can’t always be home. This children’s military deployment book shows some of the many places daddy sleeps while he is away. In this wonderful story, daddy travels to every clime and place including the mountains, the prairie, the jungle, and everywhere in between. Though daddy’s particular location and sleeping arrangements are constantly changing, one thing never does. No matter how far daddy is from home, home is never far from his mind.
 

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-938505-25-6
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover
Genre(s): Picture Book
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 40

my daddy is a sailor by Tahna Desmond Fox

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

my daddy is a sailor is an excellent book to share with the young children of deploying sailors.  It uses clear, rhythmic language to define to young children what sailors do in a way that will make the children proud of their parent.

I especially liked the way Tahna Desmond Fox paid tribute to fallen sailors from the copyright year, using almost an ""Easter-egg"" technique to recognize the sailors lost in the USS MCCAIN and USS FITZGERALD accidents, as well as a C-2 Greyhound mishap.  It's very appropriate, and serves as a reminder to all the sense of sacrifice that goes with service, without being at all morbid or ""dark.""

The illustrations are clean and support the story, and it will resound with any child who has a Daddy getting ready to ship out.  Similar to MY SAILOR DAD by Ross Mackenzie, this is a necessary work to help children understand why Daddy has to be gone.  Well done to the author.

Review by Rob Ballister (March 20118)


Author's Synopsis

Learn the words Daddy knows about his ship and where he goes, in the Navy. Daddy is a sailor in the United States Navy. Learn the words Daddy knows about his ship and his mates. Join Ollie the Octopus and travel with Daddy as he sails on every sea in a great, big ship, watch what he does on board, and see the sights he sees. Due to the naval tragedies that occurred while creating this book in 2017, I paid tribute to our fallen sailors aboard the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), and the C-2A Greyhound (VRC 30). Each lost sailor is represented by a golden bird in flight or a star in the heavens, signifying they have passed from this world but their memories remain. My heart and love go out to the families, friends, and loved ones of these twenty sailors, and every sailor who never made it home.


ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-938505-34-8
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover
Genre(s): Picture Book
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 38
 

My Soldier Dad; by Ross H. Mackenzie

MWSA Review
Outstanding tribute to our military family in a beautifully illustrated children’s book.
 
Military families will enjoy sitting down together to read this short book.  You'll look at the beautiful illustrations and learn some of the what and why of military life.  Children will also enjoy searching for small images hidden within most of these beautifully rendered illustrations.
 
Written in simple, rhythmic verses, this book will appeal to today's military family.  This handsome hardback belongs on your family's coffee table… but only when you and your children aren't holding it as you read it together!
Review by John Cathcart, MWSA Awards Director

Author's Synopsis:
My Soldier Dad is the much-anticipated second book in the Patriot Kids series. My Sailor Dad, the first book in the Patriot Kids Series, won a GOLD MEDAL in 2010 for best Children's Book from MWSA. All of the Patriot Kids books exist to bolster national pride in our service members, be an invaluable resource for service member families, and be engaging, educational books for military kids who are so proud of their parents and yearn to know more about their parent's respective military profession. My Soldier Dad is written in a slightly modified (but impeccably consistent) anapestic tetrameter. The story offers two exciting stories-within-stories, some fantastic artistic techniques that help kids feel that they are actually part of the story, and a celebration of Dad's humanitarian efforts in addition to his military prowess. Finally, this My Soldier Dad offers some clever “Easter Eggs”: at the bottom of each page of text, the reader will find an image (the red thumbtack on the first page). Can you (or your child) find the same image hidden in the drawing on that page? (Hint: there is no dog in the newspaper page.) More information can be found at patriot-kids.com.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9893420-2-5
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Genre(s): Picture Book
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 40