When a parent gives their health

This book is ONLY for children whose parents have given their health.

You can scroll down to download the book and accompanying educational resources. Some of these have been released early on this page. To access all of these resources, please register to evaluate our suites of resources.

About the book

Sam’s story is for families where a parent has returned with physical and mental health issues. The story is not for use with other families.

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 story centres on these lovable characters as they adapt and learn to understand and cope with the changes that occur in their lives.


The book also features lovable pets such as Woof, Poppet and Fluffy. Research shows pets can be a major source of comfort to children from defence families to help them cope with change. There is also a resident possum who lives inside the roof of Sam’s house and makes frequent appearances in the book.

Thanks to the Foundation of Graduates of Early Childhood Studies, we have been able to create an interactive version of the book. To create interactive activity concepts, Marg Rogers formed a working group with Jo Bird (an early childhood technology expert), Tegan Kanard who is a Legacy 4G Family Support Team Leader, Emily Small (early childhood consultant and inclusion support specialist), knowledgeable Legacy Family Workers from various states, and amazing veteran parents and partners.

Our digital builders at ‘Abstractal‘ have brought these ideas to life.

The interactive version of the book includes practical activities to support:

  • emotional recognition and expand their emotional vocabulary
  • children’s empathy, understanding and resilience.

Free, research-based, downloadable resources:

(This book is ONLY suitable for children whose parents have given their health in service). Please read the book before sharing it with children.

  1. Storybook: In Sickness and in Health: Sams Story
  2. Accompanying Educational Activities (puppets, puzzles, matching games, sight words, card games, board games, sequencing and storytelling games)
  3. audio read-along recording
  4. another audio read-along recording
  5. digitised eBook (requires constant internet)
  6. All eBooks, downloadable (printable) versions of the book, and educational materials are free. You can also order a commercial, professionally printed:
    • A4 tough book (wire coil bound – slightly smaller than an A4),
    • A5 tough book (wire coil bound – half the size of an A4),
    • A3 Big Book paperback for teaching groups of children (wire coil bound – twice the size of A4), and
    • hard card stock Educational Activities pack (looseleaf).

    You are not paying for author royalties, illustrators, graphic designers or technicians. You are paying for a commercial printery (Fuji Xerox Australia) to do on-demand printing, a commercial bookstore (UNE Life Campus Books) to process and pack the online order, Australia Post, a $2 donation to Legacy Australia, and $2-3 for the ECDP project to host their website and continue to provide revisions and updates to the materials, and new resources. The postage and handling is a $14 flat fee for as many books and teaching materials as you like via regular post (so, think about ordering with friends, your organisation, your early childhood service or school). Express Post and International Postage is calculated by weight. Once you click on the link, scroll down to the advanced search, then you can search by typing ‘Defence’ into the ‘Title’ bar or the name of the particular book you are after.

Please contact us with any constructive feedback about these resources because we are still evaluating them.

Other similar books

Here is another page showing a similar book called ‘Oh, by the way, my Mum has PTS’ with an interactive version. Here is another book about service-related physical injuries.

How to access these free books

Where and when can I get access to these books? Please have a look at our timeline to see when we finish evaluations and release them to the public for free. If you want early access, please register to test-drive our resources here.

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