This page has detailed descriptions of each of the 12 books. If you want a summarised version and a picture of each cover, please see our book covers and diversity page.
My Colourful Kite: Nick’s Story
‘My Colourful Kite: Nick’s Story’ focuses on separation anxieties children can sometimes have when parents go away for work or training. In this book, Nick’s mother has to go away for a long training session, so he spends some time with her before she goes making a kite. Nick tells the story of his struggles as he waits for his mother to return.
‘Through Nick’s voice, we explore what he did and how he felt when mama left home for a month. As the title reveals, flying the colourful kite they created together offered a focus, even a mother-metaphor, for Nick’s personal emptiness and worrying. Such play outdoors contributed to his feeling a little more settled, while Auntie’s ‘let go’ encouragement supported him.
This story highlights aspects of healthy, enjoyable life; sharing family foods; playing actively outside; engaging in creative arts; uncovering inner strengths; and, a solid measure of relationships with mutual help from others. Collaborative outdoor experiences, such as ‘pitching in’ with edible gardening and observing for careful nature study and engagement, can set a deliberately slower life pace. Also, being outside promotes children’s development of emotional competencies – personal awareness, control, and inspiration, along with worldly empathy and community involvement’.
Where is Work? Harry’s Story
‘Where is Work? Harry’s story’ is a book that examines the different types of work parents engage in when they work away (or work very long hours). It includes families where parents work away in the mining sector, natural gas sector, transport industry, medical field, primary industries sector, defence forces (military), tourism sector, and emergency services.
‘Where is work? Harry’s Story shows children that work means different things for different families and that each family finds unique ways to feel comforted and connected during this time apart. It’s an important message for children with a parent working away’.
What do you do when you miss your parents? Rachael’s Story
‘What do you do when you miss your parent? Rachael’s Story’ is a sister book to ‘Where is work? Harry’s Story’, literally. Harry’s twin sister, Rachael follows the families in Harry’s book. She looks at how the children in the family feel when their parents work away.
Rachael also explores ways the children cope and keep themselves busy. She looks at how the children communicate when their parent is away and how they keep the relationship fresh, despite the distances involved.
‘Across Australia, and globally, young children experience separation as an everyday aspect of their lives. In this book we follow Rachael, whose mother, a firefighter, often works away for prolonged periods. Rachael asks her friends about how they feel when their parents work away. We hear from children of harvesters, resource sector workers, drivers, volunteers and tour guides. The children talk about their feelings and the diverse and often joyful ways they connect with their absent parents. This book validates the experience of separation for children whose parents work away. Children experiencing separation will benefit from seeing, hearing and connecting to the experiences of others and know they are not alone.
This book also reveals the significance of extended family, community and social networks, communication and connection as protective factors for children’s and families’ resilience. The coping and connecting strategies illustrated in the children’s stories offer explicit resilience-building examples for children, families, educators, family workers, social workers and others working with and supporting children.
Just as Rachael questions children about how they feel when their parent works away and how they keep themselves busy and cope, so too might parents, family workers, social workers and educators. Importantly these questions may lead to further conversations and thinking about what it might feel like for others experiencing separation, building empathy, connection and community’.
Waiting for Daddy: Rose’s Story
‘Waiting for Daddy: Rose’s Story’ is told through the eyes of Rose. She leads us through her experiences when her parent goes away on military deployment with the Australian Defence Force. Rose talks about her responses to deployment and the ups and downs of the transitions in the family. We learn about the challenges of understanding time and learning to wait. We also share her joys when her parent returns during the reunion.
‘When young children experience the challenges of parental deployment, they may display many and varied responses that educators and parents can use as an indicator to understand where support is needed.
The book ‘Waiting for Daddy: Rose’s story,’ incorporates both the physical and emotional responses to a parent’s deployment, as well as providing resilience-building strategies for children when seeking comfort and understanding. When a parent in the Australian Defence Force has a deployment that is forthcoming or currently occurring, parents and educators can use this book as a platform to create an open and safe environment to encourage discussion with children.
The book encourages children to normalise feelings and emotions that they may experience and helps them to develop a base understanding of what is occurring in age-appropriate language. ‘Waiting for Daddy: Rose’s Story’ is a valued resource supported by in-depth research by Marg Rogers that can be used by parents and educators as a working tool to gain ideas and strategies. These ideas and strategies can assist the development of skills, knowledge and confidence to embed inclusive practices to support military families effectively’.
Mary’s Alphabet Slippery Dip
This book is for the youngest children, or it can be used as a reader for school-aged children. The story follows Mary’s adventures as she experiences family life within a military family. This book promotes language learning and understanding of some of the transitions and events in children’s life when they are part of a defence family.
‘The experiences children have in the early years of their life impact on the way their brain develops. Stressful experiences prompt the brain to develop in ways that focus on survival at the expense of other capacities such as thinking, problem solving and emotional resilience. The ways in which parents and families interact with children can help buffer the negative impacts of stress and thus contribute to children’s healthy emotional development.
For young children, having a parent deployed is a stressful experience. Children are dependent on their parents to create a nurturing and safe environment, and the absence of a parent can leave children vulnerable. The capacity of the remaining parent, who is also experiencing stress at the loss of a partner, to provide a stable environment where children feel protected, is dependent, not only on the emotional strength of the individual but on the supports available. Simply understanding children’s behaviour in response to the deployment is important in helping the at-home parent feel competent to manage. Knowing what to talk about and how to share the experiences of deployment with young children is a key support that helps families manage the stress they undergo. Mary’s Alphabet Slippery-Dip: The a, b, c’s of training and deployment offers parents the opportunity to share ideas with their young children. It provides reassurance to both parents and children that their feelings and experiences are okay and that they are not alone in their feelings. It helps children with the words they need to verbalise their feelings and their experiences. Sharing experiences, and building them into a coherent narrative, helps children understand their world, and their place in that world, enabling them to develop emotional resilience and the skills needed to cope with life’s stressful events’.
T is for Training: Rosie raps it up
‘T is for Training’ is told through the eyes of Rosie, who has a mother in the Air Force. This book explores the concepts of parents going away for shorter bursts of time for training or work-ups. Developing a shared language can improve children’s understanding of transitions in the household. The book explores some of the emotional and social responses children have to their parent working away. It also looks at ways to build resilience as they adapt to change. Rosie also learns about the many different jobs people learn to do when they are away on training. The readers are guided by these 4 lovable characters who teach emotional skills and resilience.
‘The early childhood years are a critical period for learning and development and foundational to building the skills and capacities of a lifetime. Children’s developmental trajectories can be interrupted by events in their worlds that they have no control over such as parental separation, a family death or natural disasters. Informed support by caring family members, educators, family workers and others in the child’s social sphere is key to moving forward in positive ways and minimising disruption.
This storybook captures how children might be feeling about events in their world and recognises those feelings as legitimate. It is okay to feel cranky or grumpy when things are challenging, many people do, including children. The text and images combined authentically prompt conversations between children and their supportive family members, educators or family workers. Such conversations may promote working together and caring for each other through challenging times.
This book, as part of a series, is innovative in a field where supportive resources and programs for very young children and their families, educators and family workers has been almost non-existent for years. There are many families where parents are deployed or away for training that will benefit from the sharing of these research-based insights in a storybook format’.
D is for Deployment: Ann raps it up
This book explores the language of deployment through the eyes of Ann, a preschooler. She also learns about some of the different jobs people do on deployment. Ann experiences many different challenges, emotional highs and lows and ways she can keep in touch with her father when he is away.
Australian Defence Force (ADF) families research acknowledges that having a family member in the ADF can impact many aspects of family life, including children’s needs. A recent Australian study of Military Families found that there are some indications that 2- to 17-year-old children of serving members exhibit more problem behaviours in comparison to other groups. But encouragingly, it was also found that family relationships were often perceived to be unaffected or even strengthened by ADF members’ military service.
To this end, I find “D is for Deployment: Ann raps it up” an invaluable resource to support young children affected by a parent’s military service away from home. Using DEPLOYMENT as an acronym, the reader is guided through the military deployment cycle through the eyes of Ann, a young girl whose father is in the Australian Defence Force. As we journey with Ann through this experience, she clearly expresses and communicates her emotions. Her self-awareness of the different and often difficult emotions that accompany military family life makes this book a valuable tool to help children in the early years make sense of what is happening in their world and link the events around deployment with the emotions they are experiencing.
As adults, we want our children to be happy, healthy, and successful. We attempt to equip them with the necessary skills and strategies to shift out of difficult emotional spaces. This book reminds me that sometimes when the going gets tough, we just need to be there for one another. We are reminded that love holds us together and of the importance of family and relationships. It gives the reader hope by reminding us that the difficult times do not last forever and that we are stronger when we work together.
Now that I am big: Anthony’s Story
The story explores some of the strategies Anthony uses to help him when he is missing his father who is on military deployment. Anthony also explains some of the emotional responses children may have to a parent working away, including pushing away from the parent to protect themselves.
‘This picture storybook provides a powerful insight into the lived experiences of children and their families when a parent is on deployment or training. Presented in a simple format the book includes the repetition of “When I was little? now that I am big” which captures the essence of children reflecting on their growth and learning. This reflection aids the ongoing development of self-regulation and emotional resilience over time- children can then develop a sense of time passing, an important concept.
While Anthony acknowledges he will always miss his father when he is on deployment or training, one of the powerful messages in the book is that Anthony now has the understanding required to cope and that he is also able to take on household responsibility and assist his mother to cope by helping with domestic chores.
When reading this book to children who have a family member on deployment (leave of absence) or training (work-up), each page presents an opportunity for focused discussion between families, and also between educators, family workers and children. For example, the discussion may be around a family member coming and going away from home; talking on the phone to the parent, and feeling grumpy after the family member comes home.
Children are likely to revisit the book over and over again which will in turn assist them to adapt to their parent’s deployment and training transitions in their own lives. Not only is the book appropriate for children who have a family member on deployment or training but sharing the book with all children can highlight the diversity of lived experiences of families, and how family members cope. Further, families, educators and family workers can use this book in their learning environment or home to inform how children emotionally develop, and what experiences families undertake’.
We Remember: Australia’s Story
This eBook is suitable for preschool children right up to 12-year-olds. The author has used a scaffolded approach where the book can be enjoyed by only reading the red font text (creating a short, simple version of the story for younger children), or the whole text can be read for older children.
The characters help to tell the story and are dressed in clothes from various eras, along with toys from the same time (e.g. WWI, WWII and Vietnam War eras).
‘Commemorating the experiences of Australians during war is a deeply embedded part of Australian society. Each year the Australian community reflects on the sacrifice of those who served in global conflicts. Military service continues to impact families, particularly through deployments and frequent relocations. Although our current Defence Force works mostly behind the scenes, many children come into contact with the ADF, either through their parents’ service or the service of others in their family, school or community.
‘We Remember: Australia’s story’ explores the stories and experiences of Australian involvement in war. It provides a contemporary overview which includes the experiences of Indigenous Australians and addresses issues such as mental health and veteran wellbeing. The eBook expands children’s knowledge of conflict in age-appropriate ways and is easily adaptable for children of different ages. By including images about modern conflict and service, it encourages children to remember those who are currently serving and respect the efforts of them and their families.
This eBook has been well informed by the lived experience of military members and their families, making it a very suitable resource for educators and parents to use in their discussions about military service. It explores the different ways people remember, whether it is in a public parade, or quiet contemplation at commemoration sites or at home. Parents and educators can use this resource in their Remembrance Day and Anzac Day commemorations, or in everyday discussions about military service. The eBook will be useful in connecting the military and civilian communities together in ongoing remembrance and respect for those who serve’.
And so, things have been a bit different: Ben’s Story
‘And so things have been a bit different’ explores the emotional and physical roller-coaster of a family that has a parent who is injured when they are on service. The book is for families who experience this and helps the parents start conversations about the changes in their family and develop emotional understanding and build resilience.
‘Legacy is a unique and iconic Australian organisation that was established in 1923 to support the families of veterans who had died or given their health as a result of their service in World War One. The focus was on ensuring that the children had the same opportunities as their peers to reach their true potential.
In more recent conflicts the number of Defence personnel who have died on operations has significantly decreased in comparison to past conflicts, but the number of veterans that now live with severe physical injuries and/or mental health issues as a result of their service has increased. The needs of this generation of veterans are more complex than in the past and requires a focus on their wellbeing, employment and connection with the local community. Legacy works hard to provide social, emotional and financial support to families of these veterans in order to build resilience in the family unit.
This book describes the changes in the home and how families cope as a unit to deal with the many challenges parents and children are confronted with when someone has severe physical and/or mental health issues as a result of an incident in the workplace. The family unit is the ‘icing when someone falls down’ and the foundations on which they can rebuild their life. Children play a key role in the success of that recovery. This theme underpins the work of Legacy and I commend the author on supporting children to appreciate what is happening at home and how to support the family’.
In Sickness and in Health: Sam’s Story
Sam’s story explores concepts of sickness, health, recovery, transitions, acceptance and new ways of operating in the household after his mother returns home from service with physical injuries and a mental health issue. The book is for families who have experienced a parent with service-related health and/or mental health condition.
The story centres on these lovable characters as they adapt and learn to understand and cope with the changes that occur in their lives.
‘Legacy, since 1923, has recognised the incredible sacrifice of veterans’ families left behind who bear the brunt of the impacts of Defence service. Through the loss or injury of their loved ones, the families are left to carry on with life under severe emotional and often financial strain. Their stories, their sacrifices are a much quieter story not often told and for so long with no or limited resources to help. Legacy works hard to provide social, emotional and financial support to families of these veterans’ families in order to build resilience in the family unit.
This book called ‘In sickness and in health: Sam’s story’ helps parents have conversations with young children about the changes happening in their family due to a parent who has an injury or mental health condition due to military service. The book explains injuries to children, exploring the way some injuries get better and some only partially heal. It also looks at the changes in the parent and what they can still do with the child and what is different.
This theme underpins the work of Legacy and I commend the author Marg Rogers on supporting parents and children to appreciate what is happening at home and how to have those conversations and help support the veterans’ family and build their resilience’.
Oh, by the way, my Mum has PTSD: Nathan’s Story
‘Nathan’s story’ looks at the changes that occur in his home when his mother returns home from military deployment with PTSD. The book is for families who have experienced a parent with a service-related mental health condition. The book examines stigma and the challenges of how to explain the health condition to others. Nathan learns about the team effort that is required to support her mother at this challenging time for the family.
‘The early years of children’s lives are critical for their social and emotional development and wellbeing. This is also the time when children are also most vulnerable to any negative experiences. Families are often the primary influence on children’s learning, development and wellbeing and have a unique understanding of their child’s strengths, abilities, and challenges. Having a parent with PTSD can be emotionally stressful for children. Some families have additional service-related pressures or may experience significant adversity, hardship, trauma or loss that can also impact on a child’s long term mental health and wellbeing.
Knowing how to talk about these experiences and share ideas and resources is important in helping families and children manage these stressors early and build social and emotional resilience.
‘Oh, by the way, my Mum has PTSD: Nathan’s story’ offers families and caregivers the opportunity to share experiences and ideas with young children. It provides support and guidance when discussing and normalising their feelings, whilst providing reassurance to both parents and children that they are not alone.
This book describes the changes that may occur for parents with PTSD and how children may perceive or react to those changes. It is a valuable resource for families and family workers to support children to share their experiences and make sense of their feelings and experiences. The book is part of a series of resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of children of veterans. Caregivers might consider each resource as a whole or focus on a specific area.
An informed understanding can guide caregivers on what children need to thrive and the systems and resources that can help to support this. I commend the author for highlighting these issues and supporting children and families through these challenging situations’.