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 resources can be found below. To access all of these resources, please visit the Children’s Resource Modules.

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. Commercially printed book All eBooks, interactive eBooks, downloadable (printable) versions of the book and teaching materials are free due to our wonderful funders. You can also order (and pay for) commercial, professionally printed books. Click here to order. 
  5. Interactive app: (requires constant internet) for children to get the most out of the interactive app, they need to be very familiar with the story. After that, they can engage with just a few pages of the app at a time.

Desperately seeking feedback

Thanks for test-driving our Early Childhood Defence Program project resources.

We desperately need feedback so that we can:

  • improve our resources,
  • let our funders know if the resources are effective, or need improving, and
  • apply for further funding to produce more resources to support children and families.

This survey should only take about 5 minutes. We really appreciate your time.

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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