Family Development

Books for Children

We invite you to take a look at our list of books for military children. The books have been organized by topic and each title is linked to a webpage with more information.

The Early Intervention team has also developed Book Nooks, Guided Discussion Questions, and Author Interviews to accompany some of the children’s books listed below and on this printable book list.  These resources equip providers with activities and ideas to extend the social-emotional learning in young children as the result of shared book reading.  If these additional materials have been created for a specific book, links are provided following the book’s description.  Feel free to print and share them with your colleagues and the families you serve.

If you have book recommendations, please contact us so we can add to our growing list.


Addiction Adoptive Families Autism
Caregiver Illness Combat Injury Caregiver Loss or Absence
Deployment Reunion Disability
First Responders Grandparents Incarceration
Income Instability LGBTQ Migrant Families
Military Families Social Emotional Skills Trauma


Addiction in the Family

Critters Cry Too: Explaining Addiction to Children
A picture book that explains addiction and some of the emotions around the disease in a way children can understand.

The Dragon Who Lives at Our House
This book uses illustrations and simple text to help children understand and discuss the experience of a family dealing with substance abuse.

I Wish Daddy Didn’t Drink So Much
A young girl shares her feelings and frustrations about her father’s behavior who is an alcoholic.

My Dad Loves Me, My Dad Has a Disease
Using simple words and children’s original artwork this book provides an understanding of addiction as a disease and expresses the feelings some children may have.

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Adoptive Families

The Day We Met You
In this book, a mom and dad recount the day they met the baby who would become their child through adoption.
Book Nook – Coming Soon!
Discussion Questions

Just Really Joseph: A Children’s Book About Adoptions, Identity, and Family
A day in the life of two brothers who look very different from each other provides a positive and affirming way of talking about race and transracial adoption.

Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies
Told through the child’s voice, this story conveys his travels from his home country to his second family in another place.

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Andy and His Yellow Frisbee
This story is about a boy living with autism, named Andy. It shows us from an outsider’s perspective of what it looks like to have autism.

Ian’s Walk: A Story about Autism
This is a story about how a child with autism experiences the world differently than others. This book also highlights the experience of siblings of children who have autism.

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Caregiver with a Chronic Illness or Disability

Kemo Shark
A comic book to help children understand the effects of chemotherapy on a caregiver with cancer.

Mama Zooms
A little boy tells about his experiences “zooming” on his mama’s lap and how her wheelchair is a “zooming” machine.

Mummy’s Lump
Young children whose mother has breast cancer learn about diagnosis and treatment in an age appropriate way through the experiences of Elly and Jack.

Ravyn’s Doll
Ravyn’s Doll is a simple and effective way to explain fibromyalgia to a child in a way they can understand.

When Pete’s Dad Got Sick
When Pete’s dad gets sick, he no longer can play with Pete like he use to and it upsets him until he understands that his dad still loves him.

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Caregiver Combat Injury

Daddy’s Home
A picture book that helps military parents explain the invisible wounds of war, including PTSD, to their small children.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions

Our Daddy Is Invincible!
Based on the true story of a Wounded Warrior and American hero and his family.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions

When caregivers are injured, physically or emotionally, this book helps children find comfort and learn to cope through challenging times.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions

Why is Dad So Mad?/Why is Mom So Mad?
A narrative story told from a family’s point of view (parent and children) of a service member who struggles with PTSD and its symptoms.
Book Nook – Dad  ♦ Book Nook – Mom
Discussion Questions – Dad  ♦ Discussion Questions – Mom
Author Interview

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Caregiver Loss or Absence

Always By My Side
This is a story to help children understand that a father’s love is forever, even if they are not present in their lives.
♦ Book Nook
♦ Discussion Questions
♦ Author Interview

The Invisible String
This book a reminder that no one is truly alone even though you can’t see it, the connection is there.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions
♦ Author Interview

The Kissing Hand
This is a book for any child confronted with a difficult situation and needing some reassurance.
Book Nook (created by CSEFEL)

Love and Memories: Activities for Kids Who Have Lost a Loved One
Page by page, as children work through their grief, they also create a keepsake scrapbook that forever captures their love and memories for this special person.

Mama’s Right Here
This is a story to help children cope and understand that a mother’s love never disappears, even if they are not there.
♦ Book Nook
♦ Discussion Questions
♦ Author Interview

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A Paper Hug
A story about a little boy who figured out the best gift to give his dad who was leaving to serve his country, a paper hug.
Book Nook – Coming Soon!
Discussion Questions

Boo Boo Bear’s Mission
A story about a little girl who sends her bear, Boo Boo, to be with her dad when he is deployed.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions
♦ Author Interview

Dear Blue Sky
A timely, eye-opening novel for teens that demonstrates how war affects families on both sides. The story tells the struggles of a family when a member who is deployed to Iraq.

I Miss You!: A Military Kid’s Book about Deployment
This book is designed to help children especially, but also their parents, when a father, mother, or sibling is deployed for military service and must be away from the home.

My Father’s Shirt
The little boy in this story is sad when his father is deployed. His dad, however, knows what to do with the help of his favorite shirt.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions
Author Interview

My Mother’s Wings
The boy in this story misses his pilot mother when she is deployed for duty. But she knows how to heal his heart.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions
Author Interview

Night Catch
A story that connects families while they are apart and offers comforting hope for their reunion.
♦ Book Nook
♦ Discussion Questions
♦ Author Interview

Over There
This board book can provide reassurance and comfort to a young child who is separated from a military parent because of deployment. Through this book, parents and caregivers can help keep hearts and minds open for a successful reunion.

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Deployment & Reunion

Countdown ‘Til Daddy Comes Home
A story of a boy whose father has deployed. The family creates routines to stay connected until he comes home again.
♦ Book Nook – Coming Soon!
Discussion Questions

Home Again
Sharing this book can help a family readjust to life together after a long separation.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions

Lily Hates Goodbyes
This book goes through the emotions of a little girl as she misses her daddy when he is deployed.
♦ Book Nook
♦ Discussion Questions
♦ Author Interview

My Red Balloon
This story is about a boy who has been waiting and preparing for his dad to come home. When the boy loses his red balloon he is afraid his dad will not recognize him.
♦ Book Nook – Coming Soon!
♦ Discussion Questions

The Wishing Tree
The little girl is sad when her dad has to leave for deployment. She wants to do something special each day for her dad until he comes home. She creates the wishing tree.
Book Nook – Coming Soon!
Discussion Questions

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All Kinds of Friends, Even Green!
This story is about friendship and looks at differences in a unique way, such as being in a wheelchair or missing toes. This book helps children to discover that living with a disability and overcoming challenges can be positive.

I Am Deaf
This book is teaches children about being open and about overcoming obstacles that they may face in everyday life. Coming from the point of view of a child who is deaf and illustrates some of the things she uses to help her learn at school and communicate with her teachers and friends.

My Sister Is Special, My Sister Has Down Syndrome: A Story about Acceptance
This book is heart felt and a must read for anyone that can relate to having a child or family member with Down syndrome. It illustrates ways in which siblings of children who have a disability are able to be resilient and come to a place of acceptance.

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First Responder Families

A Hero Lives in My Family: A Story for Kids of First Responders
Children of first responders are encouraged to know that their caregiver saves, helps, and protects others, but loves taking care of them the most.
Book Nook – Coming Soon!
 Discussion Questions

My Dad is a Firefighter
Jaden learns all about his dad’s scary, wonderful, and daring job.

My Mom the Police Officer
From the child’s point of view this book follows a day in the life of their mom who is a police officer and how that makes the child feel.

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Grandparents Caring for Grandchildren

I Call My Grandparents Mom and Dad
Kayden calls his grandparents mom and dad because they are the ones who raise him, and he shares his story to let others know they are not alone.

Our Grandfamily: A Flip-Sided Book About Grandchildren Being Raised By Grandparents
From the perspective of both children and grandparents, this story shares the different feelings, perspectives, and thoughts of those in “skip-generation” families.

Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies
From a child’s point of view, this book centers around a nontraditional family of grandparents raising their grandchild.

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Incarcerated Family Member

Far Apart, Close in Heart: Being a Family When a Loved One is Incarcerated
This story helps children recognize the variety of emotions and experiences when a caregiver is in prison.

The Night Dad Went to Jail: What to Expect When Someone You Love Goes to Jail
Through the use of animal characters this book helps children understand the feelings surrounding this challenging circumstance.

What is Jail, Mommy?
While a little girl’s father has been incarcerated, she becomes frustrated when visiting a friend’s house and begins to questions what is jail.

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Income Instability & Homelessness

Fly Away Home
A young boy who is homeless spots a trapped bird in the airport in which he and his father try to live without being noticed. He finds hope when the bird is finally freed that one day he might feel free too.

The Lady in the Box
When Ben and Lizzie see the lady sleeping in the box they begin to sneak food and clothes out of their apartment to help her while she deals with homelessness.

Maddi’s Fridge
Sofia discovers Maddi’s secret about her empty fridge and she faces a tough decision to keep the secret or tell her parents, so they can help their friends.

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LGBTQ Families

Daddy, Papa, and Me/Mommy, Mama, and Me
Through the loving bond between caregivers, a family can do anything together.

Keesha & Her Two Moms Go Swimming
Keesha goes swimming with her two moms and her friend Trevor and his two dads. This story promotes normalcy of everyday life in LGBT families.

Stella Brings the Family
When Stella’s class has a Mother’s Day party, she cannot decide which of her two dads to invite. She decides the party will be most fun with both of them and all her family.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions

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Migrant Families

Papi’s Gift
Graciela’s dad leaves the family to pick work as a migrant farmer but she feels his love in many ways until he returns.

Radio Man
While traveling to different places, Diego takes his radio with him to learn about other people and places he goes.

Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez
The story of the partnership between Huerta and Chavez to motivate migrant workers to advocate for their rights and make history.

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Military Families

H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet
This book explores the branches of the Armed Services and speaks from the heart about the honor, privileges and sacrifices of military families everywhere.
♦ Book Nook
♦ Guided Discussions 
♦ Author Interview

Hero Mom/Hero Dad
The moms/dads in the books are superheroes and are employed in a variety of field to help create a safer world.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions – Dad  Discussion Questions – Mom
Author Interview

Love Spots
Love spots is a story about a dad explaining to his children all of the love and memories that he sees in the spots on his uniform when he is far away when serving the country.
Book Nook
Discussion Questions
Author Interview

Military Life: Stories and Poems for Children
This collection of original stories and poems touches on many aspects of military life from a child’s point of view. From moving to making new friends, deployment, homecoming, patriotism, and tender family moments.

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Social Emotional Skills

The Feelings Book
This book talks about the importance of being able to express your feelings and how to identify what certain emotions look like.

I Like Me!
This book teaches children about self-confidence and how they should appreciate themselves. It also teaches them to not be afraid to make mistakes and that they can always try again in order to improve.

Making Friends Is an Art!
This book demonstrates the art of making friends for children who have difficulty reaching out to others and being self-confident. It also illustrates the role social skills play in being a good friend.

Square Cat
This story is more than just being different, this is also a sweet story of true friendship. This book has a great message about accepting yourself for who you are as well as accepting others.

Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning about Empathy
This book teaches children about empathy and how easy it is to develop it towards those around you.

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Finding My Way: A teen’s guide to living with a parent who has experienced trauma
This book is an invaluable tool in the hands of those so often forgotten in dealing with trauma: the teenagers who are confused and frightened by what is happening.

The MFLN Family Development Early Intervention (FDEI) team would like to acknowledge the work of the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL).  CSEFEL has created over 20 book nooks to promote emotional literacy in young children.  The FDEI team’s book nooks and related materials aim to support emotional literacy and resiliency within challenging circumstances. The design of all materials linked above was a collaborative effort of the FDEI team, Allison Barton, Loretta Hayslip, Meghan McDonald, Kristin Rose, and Crystal Williams.  

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