Kiddosphere: Honoring Our Veterans: Books for Military Appreciation Month

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While Memorial Day is specifically set aside to honor our servicemen and servicewomen who died in the line of duty, May also includes other official military days such as Loyalty Day (May 1), VE Day (May 8), Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 12), and Armed Forces Day (May 20). In honor of Military Appreciation Month, here is a sample of our fantastic children’s books about the military:

Most people know the first three parts of the International Communications Alphabet, but do you know the rest of it…or how it was created? Alpha Bravo Charlie: The Military Alphabet is an intriguing overview of the ICA, complete with the official signal flags used by the US Navy to indicate each letter.

Brave Like Me by Barbara Kerley book cover When a military parent is deployed, it’s a hardship on both the spouse left behind and on the children waiting for mom or dad to return home. Brave Like Me is a beautiful book that acknowledges the concerns and fears that are inevitably felt by children in military families.

Count on Us: American Women in the Military is an revelatory look at American military women, beginning with their involvement in the Revolutionary War. Published by National Geographic, this is a gorgeously created tribute to the brave women in the armed forces.
Throughout US military history, dogs have been used in countless ways to fight wars and protect our armed forces. For an expansive and heartwarming overview of these amazing dogs, check out Dogs on Duty: Soldiers’ Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond.

With 2017 being the 35th anniversary of the completion of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, we will see more article and books about its unique creation. Those not familiar with the long journey involved in building the memorial may be surprised that its design was quite controversial, and that the architect was a 21 year old college student. Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines is a stunning picture book biography of Maya Lin, as it chronicles her childhood influences (including her parents fleeing oppression in China), the difficult journey from design to completion, and the emotion that many feel when encountering the memorial (including Lin finding the name of her friend’s father on the memorial). This is one of my top favorites for 2017.

Although Japan was able to crack the Army and Navy codes during World War II, they were never able to crack code used by the Marines. What made the Marines different? They used American Indian soldiers fluent in Navajo and able to send codes using their language. Navajo Code Talkers: Secret American Indian Heroes of World War II retells the thrilling and humbling work of the Navajo code talkers.

Who were the Red-Tail Angels? If you’re not familiar with the Tuskegee Airmen, the African American fighter and bomber pilots of World War II, you need to read Red-Tail Angels: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. Written by the inimitable Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, this is one of the best World War II books for children that you’ll ever read.

Rolling Thunder by Kate Messner. Illustrated by Greg Ruth book cover We received Rolling Thunder just in time for Memorial Day. A young boy accompanies his grandfather to the annual Memorial Day tribute and demonstration; this has received excellent reviews, so I’m sure this will be a popular choice!

We are gearing up for another fun-filled summer reading program! This year’s theme is Reading by Design, so we’re celebrating construction, architecture, inventions, and the arts! If you’re interested in some fantastic picture books with a building theme, check out the ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children) blog.

Looking for more program highlights and staff suggestions for children and young adult readers? Make Kiddosphere your source for all the latest on what to read and what to do for kids!

∼ Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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