‘Brave Like Me’ celebrates the challenges of military families

Never be afraid of….

Mommy and Daddy taught you that. Never be afraid of spiders, big animals, lightning or loud noises. Always be brave, they say, and so you are — and in the new book “Brave Like Me” by Barbara Kerley, you’ll see how that courage you’ve got helps them, too.

Your mom or dad isn’t home right now. They won’t be home for supper tonight, either, because they’re serving their country in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard. That makes you a military kid, which means you need to be very brave.

Before Mom or Dad went overseas, you spent lots of time together. Remember all the fun things you did? The trips and treats? Remember the kisses? Great big hugs had to “last the whole time” they’d be gone, so you grabbed as many as you could and Mom or Dad was glad to give them.

You might have wondered a lot of things about this process. Who would be there when you came home from school? Where would you live? How far away is overseas, anyhow? You might be sad or mad about not having Mom or Dad with you for all the important things you do in your life.

Most of all, you’re scared that someone is going to be hurt.

The good news is, you know how hard Mom or Dad works to stay safe, and you know they do the job right. You’ll still be able talk to them sometimes, on the phone or on a computer. You can write letters, draw pictures or send silly cartoons. There are many ways to stay in touch and even more ways to make your parents proud.

Just be sure you remember all the things you do every day — birthday parties, school plays, pals, pets and parks — and keep those “million hugs and kisses to share” because you’re going to need them. Mom or Dad will be home soon.

In the meantime, be brave….

As a nation, we’re proud of our soldiers. We know they do a hard job, and they sacrifice a lot. Keeping things as even-keel as possible here at home is what we can do for them, which might include having around “Brave Like Me.”

Using a huge abundance of pictures and including kids of many ages and cultures, Kerley gives military families a little bit to hang on to as a soldier-parent is packing up and suggestions for things to remember once a parent is deployed. Kerley offers photos of joy and happiness, of soldiers at work and the inevitable miss-you scenarios that happen. She also includes ideas for keeping morale high both at home and abroad, accompanied by words of encouragement for kids and caregivers.

While this book can certainly be read by kids of any age, the simplicity of word and photo is meant more for children ages 3 to 6. For them, in this time of uncertainty, “Brave Like Me” could make them a little less afraid.

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of books for children weekly.

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