Children's Books for Young Children in Military Families

Navy officer reading to children

Children’s books are such a great way to help children deal with change – and military life certainly has plenty of that!  Here are some books that can help young children deal with different changes that may occur in their families. The books in bold have a specific military theme and include characters in military families. Others are recommended because of how well they deal with emotions from a child’s perspective. Even though the situation doesn’t involve a military element, children will relate to the emotions of the situation. Most of these will be appropriate for children aged 2 to 5 unless otherwise indicated.

Military Life

  • Love Spots by Karen Panier
  • My Mommy Wears Combat Boots by S. McBride
  • Captain Cat by Syd Hoff
  • H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet by Devin Scillian
  • Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin
  • My Sailor Dad by Ross Mackenzie
  • My Daddy is a Guardsman by Kirk Hilbrecht
  • My Mommy is a Guardsman by Kirk Hilbrecht
  • My Dad’s a Hero by Rebecca Christiansen & Jewel Armstrong
  • Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops by Dr. Jill Biden


  • Lily Hates Goodbyes by Kerilyn Marler
  • Dear Baby, I’m Watching Over You by Carol Casey
  • Night Catch by Brenda Ehrmantraut
  • Boo Boo Bear’s Mission: The True Story of a Teddy Bear’s Adventures in Iraq by Mary Linda Sather
  • We Serve, Too! by Kathleen Edick
  • Sammy’s Soldier by Sarah White
  • A Paper Hug (age 4+) by Stephanie Skolmoski
  • Bearable Moments (age 4+) by Christopher Judd
  • Stars Above Us by Geoffrey Norman (age 4+)
  • Sometimes We Were Brave (age 5+) by Pat Brisson
  • When Daddy Goes Away (age 5+) by Kristie Algeo
  • A Year Without Dad (age 5+) by Judi Brunson
  • I Miss You: A Military Kid’s Book About Deployment (age 7+) by Beth Andrews
  • Love, Lizzie: Letters to a Military Mom (ages 7+) by Lisa Tucker McElroy
  • Pilot Mom (age 7+) by Kathleen Benner Duble
  • The Wishing Tree (age 7+) by Mary Redman
  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
  • The Invisible String by Patrice Karst 
  • When I Miss You by Cornelia Spelman

Relocating: Preparing

  • Goodbye House by Frank Asch
  • Moving House by Anne Civardi
  • Mouse Moves House by Phil Roxbee Cox
  • Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen

Relocating: Adapting

  • Augustine by Melanie Watt
  • I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas


  • Home Again by Dorinda Williams
  • When Daddy Comes Home (age 5+) by Kristie Algeo
  • Countdown ’til Daddy Comes Home by Kristin Ayyar

Strong Emotions

  • When I Feel Sad by Cornelia Spelman
  • No Matter What by Debi Gliori
  • My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
  • When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Spelman

Injury of a Parent

  • Sparrow by Dorinda Silver Williams 
  • Our Daddy is Invincible! (age 5+) by Shannon Maxwell
  • That’s My Hope (age 5+) by Marlene Lee and Lil Ingram

Death of a Parent

  • The Hero in My Pocket (age 5+) by Marlene Lee
  • Klinger: A Story of Honor and Hope (age 7+) by Betsy Beard
  • Love Never Stops: A Memory Book for Children (age 4+) by Emilio Parga
  • The Tenth Good Thing about Barney (age 5+) by Judith Viorst
  • I Miss You by Pat Thomas

Activity Books

  • My Dad’s Deployment: A Deployment and Reunion Activity Boook for Young Children (age 4+) by Julie LaBelle
  • My Mom’s Deployment: A Deployment and Reunion Activity Boook for Young Children (age 4+) by Julie LaBelle
  • Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies (age 4+) by Janis Silverman

For a PDF version of this list, including a link to a site where each book can be ordered, click here. (Links are included for convenience and do not reflect specific endorsement of the merchant.)

For More Information

More resources, information, and opportunities to learn and connect are available from the Military Families Learning Network. Visit our project page to find out more. To learn more about caring for young children in military families, check out the following articles:

Updated May 2, 2013