Although the national “impact” of parents being deployed to war may have diminished slightly (there is less coverage every time a unit is deployed and the rate of deployment has eased off) libraries are still getting requests for books that would help young people understand what is happening. There have been few books to offer.
Off to War: Voices of Soldiers’ Children by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood, 2008) was just released. The focus is on the children in military families in the US and Canada whose lives have been affected by parents being deployed. Having been an “Army brat” I know that “normal” means having a parent gone for months but so much has changed since my father went to Vietnam. More media coverage brings the war, and a parent’s peril, into our homes every day. Unless you live on or near a military base, children may have few friends who understand their concerns and fears. Ellis’ book gives voice to those children and may bring comfort to readers. This is an important book for many collections.