The ache and loneliness felt when missing a family member on deployment comes through in this photo essay about children of military and government personnel.
Kerley gives voice to the children’s emotions, as they express fear, resolve to stay positive and strong, and love through simple personal statements matched by crisp, compelling color photography of ethnically diverse service members and their families. For example, “We spend lots of time together…until the day we have to say goodbye” accompanies a full-bleed double-page photo of a white mom and dad in military fatigues, each with a child on a lap on a playground swing. Farewell scenes of a white dad kissing a toddler and a black mom hugging a preteen highlight smiling faces. “Dad gives me a huge kiss. / Mom wraps me up in a hug big enough to last the whole time she’s away.” But the reality is clear as a young, light-skinned girl looks out a window with hands against the pane, thinking: “And then they’re gone. The house is too empty. Who is going to take care of me?” Key words or phrases—far away, sad, safe, happy, proud of me—emphasize the children’s concerns with larger, boldface black lettering within the text. A key to the locations where each photo was taken, notes on coping, the missions of the military, and a list of resources round out this attractively designed publication.
Heartfelt and necessary. (Picture book. 4-8)