Hello Reading Force families! I'm Emma, I'm a Pad Brat and school librarian and I write a regular blog here about reading and Forces life.
Forces life is unique. There are very few other lifestyles that allow children to travel and experience different cultures so freely and fully in a safe and supported community. This, however, is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I can look back and have such fabulous memories of the things I’ve seen and done, on the other hand, other memories are filled with sadness as I look back on friends I have lost touch with, and schools and houses I may not visit again, or perhaps no longer exist.
I know one place I am able to escape from feeling alone is in literature. Books are a home that can travel with me, that I can’t lose touch with and I often turn to the pages of a book for advice and support, but are there any books about Forces life? I didn’t remember any from when I was growing up, but I am pleased to see that the publishing industry and writers are now taking notice of our unique lifestyles and how difficult they can be.
So, if you would like to read a book that features a Forces child, here are a few I have uncovered:
Sometimes by Clare Shaw (4+ and great for 7+)
This book is great for little ones who need a book to help them whilst their parent is away. It features some great ideas for counting the days until they’re home – like eating a sweet for every day they are away, and an envelope for keeping letters in.
There’s a version for mummy soldiers and a version for daddy soldiers, which I think is really cool. The books are exactly the same, just the gender pronouns changed but great to know it’s not assumed that only men can be soldiers!
Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson (9+)
Jacky Ha-Ha is a class clown who is struggling with a mum who is away fighting and a dad who is never home and uses humour to get through her day. Patterson is a great children’s writer who writes with both humour and heart. A must-read.
A Million Angels by Kate Maryon 9+)
Mima’s Dad is fighting in Afghanistan and every night Mima sends him a million guardian angels to watch over him. At home, her mum is busy about to have another baby, so who is watching over Mima? A heartfelt but uplifting novel.