Military families have been described as an "invisible subculture"1 with unique life experiences and needs. Public libraries are particularly well positioned to serve military families because they are well-known, trusted public institutions that are open to all. This is especially pertinent in Virginia as around fifteen percent of the Virginia population has a military affiliation. This paper presents an overview of more than a decade of serving military families in public libraries from the author's perspective as a librarian and as a military spouse. Because public libraries have traditionally prioritized literature and lifelong learning this paper includes many collection recommendations as well specific books that address events in a military family's life. It also includes some general ideas about services and programming. The author hopes it will encourage other librarians to take an opportunity to pay closer attention to military families’ needs and cultivate this natural partnership.

Figure 1: One Saturday morning storytime that I presented was focused on military families and was advertised as "all ages" in the local paper. We had the unexpected and rewarding situation of attendees ranging from babies in arms to two women in their nineties. This experience suggests a broader community interest in military family lifestyles and perhaps reveals more all ages programming opportunities. Credit: Poster made by Laurie Ziegler of Williamsburg Regional Library.

Good library programs will serve a variety of people; nonetheless, in Virginia there will certainly be military affiliated families near you. There are many ways to serve military families, but this paper focuses on public libraries’ traditional role of locating and purchasing literature appropriate and useful for a particular group, in this case children with a parent in the military. In addition to acquiring books that sit passively on the shelves, libraries can connect military children and their caregivers with this literature through programs, displays, and blog book reviews.

Background of Virginia Military Families

The military lifestyle can be so distinctive that it feels like a different culture. As Mary Edwards Wertsch said in her 1991 classic, Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress, “Not only does the military constitute a separate and distinctly different subculture from civilian America, it exercises such a powerful shaping influence on its children that for the rest of our lives we continue to bear its stamp.”2 Children benefit from seeing their own experiences reflected in print and "A good and honest book can strengthen the pride of the minority member and enrich all who read it."3 For a non-military child, this literature allows them to imagine what someone else's life is like. Sutherland added, "Books like these parallel the need of each individual not only to belong with pride to his or her own group, but to identify warmly and sympathetically with ever-widening circles of people.”4

In 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available, Virginia had 124,197 active duty military, which made it second only to California (150,563 active duty military), a state with a population nearly five times the size of Virginia's.5 If you include active duty, National Guard and Reserves, veterans, military retirees, and their families, then between 12.5 and 23.8 percent of Virginia residents have a military affiliation (See Table 1). Even if the military affiliation no longer exists, such as for an adult who grew up in a military family, the person may still be interested in seeing aspects of their childhood reflected in print.

Table 1. Percentage of Virginia's Population with a Military Affiliation

Category Number Percentage of Virginia Population
Total Population of Virginia 8,411,808
Active duty 124,197 1.5%
Ready reservesa 26,115 0.3%
Veteransb 733,046 8.7%
Active duty dependentsc 172,108 2.0%
Total military or dependents 1,055,466 12.5%
Estimate of veteran dependentsd 952,960 11.3%
Total military or dependents with estimate of Veteran Dependents 2,008,426 23.8%

SOURCE: United States Census Bureau. Quick Facts: Virginia.6; Department of Defense (DoD), 2015 Demographics7; and National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. Population Tables. Table 6L: VetPop2016 living veterans by state, age group, gender, 2015-2045.8

NOTE: This table is approximate: statistics referenced are from 2015-2016 depending on the source.

a Includes Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and Department of Homeland Security's Coast Guard Reserve

b Includes military retirees as a subset of veterans

c The official definition of a military dependent includes spouses as well as dependent children

d There is no single figure published with a number of dependents of veterans. This estimate uses the number of veterans (733,046) from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics and the ratio of Active Duty Members to Family Members (1 to 1.3) from the Department of Defense (DoD) 2015 Demographics to reach an estimate (952,960)

There are 1,758,365 children in the United States who have one or both parents in the current military.9 These children tend to be young because their parents tend to be young. The military has a pyramid age and rank structure, with 40.1% of the total military force being 25 years of age or younger.10 Overall 37.5% of military children are between 0 and 5 years of age, while 31.3% are 6 to 11 years of age and only 24.2% are between 12 to 18 years of age.11

Military families can live anywhere, not only on or close to military installations. The families near military installations may be the most obvious, but National Guard and Reserves members can live anywhere. They are part-time military until they are “activated”, when their military job becomes their full-time job. They usually have no control over when this happens and are often sent far away, sometimes deployed overseas for war. For active duty, their military service is a full-time job so most live near military installations. However, families with an extreme commute or “geobachelors” (when one parent lives near their job in one place and the rest of the family live elsewhere, perhaps hundreds of miles away) are becoming more common. Families may take this difficult and expensive step because the military member is overseas or in an expensive location. Alternatively, the family may be tied to a mortgage, or the family has moved frequently and wants the stability of the children staying in the same school or house. In a military family with a “geobachelor,” the other parent faces the difficulties of being a part-time single parent.

Programming and Planning for the Entire Military Family

Library programs and initiatives serving job seekers will serve a wide variety of people, but they may be particularly essential to military spouses. In 2015 the military spouse unemployment rate was 12%12 compared with 5% to 6% for the country overall.13 Some of the 34% of military spouses who reported not seeking work14 may start looking as deployments end, they move, their children grow or other circumstances in their lives change. This is one reason to make your library volunteer opportunities obvious and accessible. Military spouses have fractured careers. Volunteering is a valuable way for them to bridge resume gaps, stay current, maintain skills, and meet people with similar interests.

Library staff may assume everyone already knows about library initiatives that have been happening for a few months, but new military families may have just arrived. Prioritize creating signage for programming and collections that are not easily visible

Don’t assume your patrons already know what your library offers. Military families are by necessity independent and may not ask questions. They are used to being in a new place every few years. Library staff may assume everyone already knows about a new initiative in the library because it has been happening for a few months, but new military families may have just arrived. Prioritize creating signage when something is not easily visible. If not easily located, a new patron may assume you do not have a collection – both a potential loss for them and for your check-out statistics.

In their 2014 research article in Public Libraries, “Library Services for the “New Normal” of Military Families” Jennifer Taft and Cynthia Olney asserted that: “The top priority of most military parents is the well-being of their children.”15 Overall, 41.2 percent of the total military force has children.16 Therefore this paper focuses on the children of military families and particularly on highlighting and sharing the literature that features their lives.

Military Children’s Unique Challenges

Military families lead varied lives, but all have stressors in common, including: constant relocations and school or job changes; prolonged military family member absence; knowledge of family member’s danger; distance from extended family; and living on a military base or overseas. Other children may experience some of these stressors (for example, the child of a long distance truck driver will experience prolonged parental absence), but these combined stressors are characteristic of a military lifestyle.

Constant relocations and school changes

Most military families move every two to three years, although this varies considerably. These moves are likely to be long distance, often to another state and sometimes to another country.

According to the Department of Defense Education Authority (DoDEA) the average child of a military family will move six to nine times during their school career.17 Because the moves are dependent on the needs of the military, they can take place any time. Children may have to move in the middle of a school year, making it doubly difficult for them to find their place socially and academically. At school, some children will be well-rounded and academically knowledgeable because of their travel and experiences of living in different states or countries. Other children may struggle academically because, for example, what they needed to know about fractions is always taught later in the year at every school they attend. Other subjects can also be problematic: in a country as large and varied as the United States, history class can be difficult. One state may teach its own state history while another state won't accept that class for credit. A middle-grade book that addresses these concerns is Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry, where the high school character Jody says, “every time you made a friend, you had to move away.” Similarly, in an adult book suitable for teens, Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg, the reader understands, “We are not allowed to cry when we drive away ... about any place we leave behind. ... You will be the new girl again, the one always having to learn things.”

Prolonged parental absence

More than two million children have experienced parental deployment since September, 2001.18 Many of these two million children are now grown to adulthood, but there is considerable evidence in the psychological literature that the military experience will affect them all their lives.19 If a parent is away for months on a deployment, the children have to adjust to a parent leaving and returning, whereas in a civilian household a parent who leaves is not necessarily expected to return. Re-integration of families after months of separation causes its own set of problems and in some cases may be more difficult than the separation.20 A good example of a picture book that deals with prolonged parental absence is My Red Balloon by Eve Bunting, in which the main child character worries that his father has been away on the ship so long that his father won’t remember him.

Knowledge of parental danger

If a parent is deployed to a war zone older children may be acutely aware of the parent's danger. This is portrayed in the intense and disturbing graphic novel Refresh, Refresh by Danica Novgorodoff. Younger children who are not developmentally capable of having a concept of parental danger may be confused and stressed by the reactions of the adults and family members around them. This is portrayed very well in Year of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins about her memories of when her father was deployed to Vietnam.

Distance from extended family

Any family is lucky to be helped by supportive extended family, such as grandparents, aunts or uncles, and these family members can be more essential for single parents. Unfortunately, due to the nature of military assignments these extended family members are not available to the vast majority of military families. Military families often have no control over where they are sent for their assignments and may have to choose between an undesirable home location or losing their job. The stress of this separation from extended family is amplified for military families during deployments and intermittent single parenting. The separation from extended family is especially difficult for foreign military spouses whose families may be thousands of miles away and in all practical terms unreachable. A great example of a junior fiction series that addresses distance from extended family is Piper Reed: Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt.

Living on a military base or overseas

There were 212,339 active duty dependents living overseas in 2015.21 Some will spend a considerable amount of their childhood overseas. These "third-culture kids" can see their first entry into an American school as a change into a foreign culture.22

If a military family lives on a base they will likely have a military library, but military libraries serve military needs first and families second. Those programs that do benefit families are worked into schedules around "mission requirements" – meaning programs may not be available on base at the best time for families. In addition, as military housing is privatized, the houses themselves may be distant from a base. For example, in the Hampton Roads area the Bethel Manor Air Force housing area is much closer to the Tabb Library of the York County system than the Langley Air Force Base Library. Books that cover living on a base include Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell or, for older teens, the adult book The Yokota Officer’s Club by Sarah Bird, which examines living overseas.

National Guard and Reserves can live anywhere and have any job, including being a librarian, but they also face the uncertainty of when they might be activated. The activation may be sudden and will often be mandatory. This will disrupt their normal family life and a good middle-grade fiction example that covers this is Heart of a Shepherd, by Rosanne Parry.

Figure 2: You can use the same display concept and materials in very different display areas.

Figure 3: I used the same letters from the children’s displays shown in Figure 2 to reword the sign to “Celebrate Military Families,” which I felt gave it a more friendly and inclusive feel.

Finding Books to Validate Military Children’s Experiences and Address Military Children’s Needs

It is possible to find books with a variety of genres, approaches and viewpoints. If military families are looking for uplifting books they can try, Night Catch by Brenda Ehrmantraut for small children or Piper Reed: Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt for school-age children.

Many of the books featuring military families are darker and parental death or physical or mental injury are covered for teens and older children in Refresh, Refresh by Danica Novgorodof, Joseph by Shelia Moses, Black Jack Jetty by Michael A. Carestio, The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, and a self-published picture book Our Daddy is Invincible by Shannon Maxwell.

Historical fiction examples include A Boy At War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer (WWII), Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry (Cold War), and Knit Your Bit by Deborah Hopkinson (WWI picture book). Adult books for older teens include The Yokota Officer’s Club by Sarah Bird and The Great Santini by Pat Conroy. Because people can join the military as young as 18 years old, there are also books featuring teen soldiers, including Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick and the soldier brothers in Gingersnap by Patricia Reilly Giff.

Ranganathan's Second Law of Library Science, says "Every reader his/her book,” but it is important to remember that a book that is appropriate for a reader at a certain time may not be appropriate a short time later. Many people turn to literature for comfort when they are feeling stressed or dislocated, but remember that books reflecting a military family’s experience are sometimes disturbing and violent. For reading for enjoyment or perhaps even comfort, military children will want age appropriate children's books and adult readers will turn to their favorite genres. Because of my own preferences I dubbed this “The Secret Garden Effect,” as the more difficult the life circumstances, the more I wanted to read children's books that were light and hopeful.

Figure 4: For the book displays of books celebrating military families, I made the letters at home by sewing military fabric to cardboard. If you don't have personal access to old military uniforms, try a thrift shop.

Military Family Books’ Potential Limitations

There are several ways in which the books portraying military families don't accurately reflect the reality they live. The ranks of the military members in the books don’t reflect demographics of the real military. The military has a pyramidal rank structure where there are far fewer officers than enlisted personnel. In 2015 there were 4.6 enlisted active duty military members for every one active duty military officer.23 Unfortunately, many books portraying military families don't reflect this and show more officers as military parents.

It is difficult for a civilian to understand the importance of rank in the military. A parent’s rank will not only affect their pay, but also where they live if a child lives on a base or in base housing. The formal social relationships of the parents' rank will also influence the social interactions of the children.

The gender of the military members in the books also doesn’t reflect the true-life demographics as the vast majority of military members are male. In 2015 women only comprised 15.5% of the active duty force24 but a disproportionate number of the books have the military member being the mother of the main character.

Like in all fiction the details must ring true for a story to be believable. Military equipment, protocol, and lives have a myriad of details that may be completely lost on a civilian. These errors stand out to the knowledgeable. For example in Soldier Mom by Alice Mead, the main character’s father is in the Air Force but flies a Navy plane, a Tomcat.

There are several recent books with a theme of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS or PTSD), such as The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. These books reflect a harsh reality for some people and can make a dramatic story, but may leave unaffected children bemused, or even angry that their parent is being misrepresented.

One difficulty in recommending books featuring military children or using them for a program is that they often talk about war and weapons. War can be a taboo or at least a difficult subject for children's books, especially for the youngest children. At some point children need to learn about war to be informed citizens, but when this will happen is fraught and perhaps even controversial. A book like Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl is often assigned in high school. Seeing the Holocaust and World War II through the eyes of a real teen is arguably a valuable learning experience for this age group, but for picture books some argue that war and weapons should not be mentioned at all. For some books featuring military children this is not an issue as the books focus on parents going away, such as, My Red Balloon by Eve Bunting. Perhaps the best books for small children have both aspects. The picture books Hero Dad and Hero Mom by Melinda Hardin focus both on the child left behind and the deployed parent doing military tasks in a far off place. These tasks are not necessarily weapon and war related, but they can be. For these reasons it may be best to warn parents before presenting books that have war and weapon content.

Identifying Books Your Library Already Owns

Many of these books are widely owned by public libraries. Your library may already own many suitable books that may never have been grouped together for a display or program. Even if your library owns them, identifying appropriate titles for a display or storytime can be difficult. One way is to use Library of Congress Subject Headings. There is a general heading “Children of military personnel -- Juvenile fiction,” but many of the most useful books may not have this heading; and may be found under varied headings. You can try searching for a particular conflict within juvenile or young adult fiction, such as: “World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Juvenile fiction” and “Afghan War, 2001- -- Young adult fiction.” After I identified several such books, a helpful cataloger at my library added the heading, “Children of military personnel -- Juvenile fiction,” to our catalog records.

Once you identify books for military families at your library, consider adding additional subject headings to their catalog records to make them easy to find again

For a list of books featuring children with parents in the United States Military from World War I or later, I have developed a website that may be useful at

Choosing Which Books to Buy

If your library doesn’t already own these books and you want to develop your collection you will find that they vary enormously in quality. To assess their quality, you can use review journals for the larger publishers' books.

There are also a considerable number of suitable books that are self-published. Some have great production values and wonderful stories, such as Dear Baby I’m Watching Over You by Carol Casey, Night Catch by Brenda Ehrmantraut, and Our Daddy is Invincible by Shannon Maxwell. Other self-published books may have stapled covers and less sterling art, but such books as The Soldiers Tree by Stephanie L. Pickup and My Mommy Wears Combat Boots by Sharon G. McBride can be useful.

Nonfiction can also play an important role, and there are many great books for young children in this category, including Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle by Brian Dennis and the Capstone Press Pebble Plus Series on military branches. Nonfiction books are very likely to include descriptions of weapons and war.

Programming for Children: Storytimes

One Saturday morning storytime that I presented focused on military families and was advertised as "all ages" in the local paper. We had the unexpected and rewarding situation of attendees ranging from babies in arms to two women in their nineties. The two women had seen the ad and thought it was for all military families. They told us fascinating stories about being married to soldiers and sailors during and after World War II. The women were not expecting stories and songs so they didn’t stay for the storytime, but this experience suggests a broader community interest in military family lifestyles and perhaps reveals an opportunity for a library.

For older children regularly scheduled library programs will give them a chance to connect after a move or if they are homeschooled

In other storytimes that I presented at several libraries and military bases I found that presenting suitable books to reflect children's experiences, while remaining sensitive to concerns about war and weapons, can be challenging. I addressed this in some programs by focusing on military children’s issues such as moving or missing an absent parent. Supporting songs or actions are easier: there are an abundance of well-known marching tunes including The Ants Go Marching or The Grand Old Duke of York. Another challenge is that many of these books are sad or sentimental, so choose books that you will be able to get through without wiping away tears!

Programming for Teens

For older children regularly scheduled library programs will give them a chance to connect after a move or if they are homeschooled. For example, our teen librarian noted that many teens who regularly attended the variety of programs she offers are military. She has spoken to several who came to a library program when they first arrived in the area and met someone with whom they were subsequently classmates.

Figure 5: : These three teen display photos (poster close-up, display, and display), demonstrate that the same concept and materials can be used for displays at different times and in different places. For teen displays I included books that were written for adults, but that teens might also read like, ‘The Great Santini.’

Connecting Military Children to the Books That Portray Their Lives


Displays require less librarian preparation than a storytime or other program, and are an excellent way for librarians to make military families aware of books that portray their lives. Displays can be accessed any time and don’t take as much family commitment as organizing children to attend a storytime. For some of the displays I created and printed bookmarks, book lists and reviews. This gave library patrons something to take away (and if some of the books were checked out, the ability to request them). The picture book displays tended to be very popular with high numbers of check outs. The teen displays varied but generally had fewer check-outs. To fill up the displays and provide a variety of books I used broad criteria. For the children’s displays I included nonfiction and for the teen display I included suitable junior fiction (Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes) and adult fiction (The Great Santini, by Pat Conroy).


To connect military families with these books I also provided online reviews by using the library’s existing blog, Blogging for a Good Book, at at and Pied Piper Pics (no longer online). I have also created dozens of shorter reviews on Books for Military Children at

What Other Libraries Have Done

Public libraries commonly create lists of books or resources for military families. Less frequent are library events aimed at military families or veterans. Albany Public Library in New York had a huge event centered on military families in May 2016. They touted it by saying, “It’s a great opportunity to make some solid connections with professionals in education, housing, financial management, employment, legal issues, family support, and health.” The details are at

Here are just a few examples of the wide variety of library programs and resources for military families.


Public libraries have a vital role to play in the lives of military families. One way to fulfill this role is to connect military families through collection development, displays, bookmarks, story times and other programs to books written about their lifestyles, and to community resources. To design programming to reach military families, try to step back and imagine you are new to your area and library and want to learn how to connect.

Discussion Questions

What does your library already do that serves military families? Could you tweak some existing programs and services to make them more friendly to this population?

Do you consider the needs of military families as you make decisions?

For your library there may be funding or contract issues in letting non-residents use the computers or check out materials. Could your library make the process as straight forward as possible even if you must charge a fee to cover costs? Could your library perhaps provide limited library cards while families are staying in a hotel?

Appendix I

My Own Military Family's Experiences

Figure 6: The author giving a presentation on Books for Military Children at the Virginia Library Association Conference in 2013.

I know that the public library can be very important in military families’ lives from my own family's experiences. When my husband was active duty we moved fourteen times in twenty years, including living in six countries and four states, while my four children attended fourteen schools, including local schools in four foreign countries. In addition, my husband deployed several times. Adding up the deployments and a commute across three states, my husband and I lived apart for four years while our children were in high school.

I always seek out the library when I move to a new place and also love to explore libraries when I’m just visiting as they are familiar, calm, and welcoming places. Dozens of public libraries have been essential to us for leisure reading, programs, and computer use. Here are some ways that I have personally experienced the services that public libraries can provide the entire military family:

  • Primarily, the library has a role as a support and a connector. As a useful connector a public library will have a good notice board which can connect people new to an area to community organizations and events that may interest them, from the Master Gardeners to the karate club.
  • Moving families often feel dislocated. The public computers and Wi-Fi are essential for keeping in contact with friends and family. They are also essential for house hunting, job searching, continuing online classes, researching schools, and homework. A moving family may own desktop computers, laptops and/or tablets but they may be packed. I have repeatedly experienced delays of weeks or even months in getting home internet connected. My family once lived for two months in temporary lodging that allowed pets but had no internet. When school started we went to the library every day to do homework and to keep in touch with distant family and friends.
  • Adults, as well as children, need a way to connect, so it is essential to offer a variety of programs for all age groups that start with the assumption that people don’t know each other. Civilians may have no concept of not knowing another adult for hundreds or thousands of miles. The need to connect is served partially by adult programs such as lectures and concerts. Adults may also like programs that offer an opportunity to casually talk and relate to other adults in a low stress way, such as adult coloring events or computer classes. A natural fit for public libraries is book discussion groups. When my husband deployed for over a year starting a month after we moved to Virginia, the Poquoson Friends of the Library Book Group was a lifeline to me. I discovered this group through a flier on the library’s notice board.
  • Before I returned to work in Virginia, my local public library was surprised that someone with a MLIS wanted to volunteer with them, but volunteering was the best option since I had four school-age children, knew no one for thousands of miles, and my husband was deployed.
  • Book sales are a great source of cheap reading for a family who has just moved and had to dispose of books to reach a household goods weight limit (or whose books are simply still packed away). Free book swaps may serve the same purpose, and when I moved I liked donating books to the free book swaps because I felt the books would be appreciated.

Appendix II

Books Recommended in the Article

Anderson, Laurie Halse. The Impossible Knife of Memory. New York: Viking, 2014.

Berg, Elizabeth. Durable Goods. New York: Random House, 1993.

Bird, Sarah. The Yokota Officer’s Club. New York: Ballantine Books, 2001.

Bunting, Eve. My Red Balloon. Honesdale, Pennsylvania: Boyds Mills Press, 2005.

Carestio, Michael A. Black Jack Jetty: A Boys Journey Through Grief. Washington D.C.: Magination Press, 2010.

Casey, Carol. Dear Baby I'm Watching Over You. Location Unknown: Dear Baby Books, 2010.

Collins, Suzanne. Year of the Jungle. New York: Scholastic Press, 2013.

Conroy, Pat. The Great Santini. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1976.

Dennis, Brian. Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle. New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009.

Dowell, Frances O'Roark. Shooting the Moon. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Ehrmantraut, Brenda. Night Catch. Jamestown, North Dakota: Bubble Gum Press, 2005.

Frank, Anne. Diary of a Young Girl. New York: Doubleday, 1947.

Giff, Patricia Reilly. Gingersnap. New York: Wendy Lamb Books, 2013.

Hardin, Melinda. Hero Dad. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2010.

Hardin, Melinda. Hero Mom. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2013.

Holmes, Sara Lewis. Operation Yes. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009.

Holt, Kimberly Willis. Piper Reed: Navy Brat. New York: Henry Holt, 2007.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story. New York: Putnam’s, 2013.

Maxwell, Shannon. Our Daddy is Invincible! Bowie, Maryland: 4th Division Press, 2010.

Mazer, Harry. A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002.

McBride, Sharon G. My Mommy Wears Combat Boots. Authorhouse, 2008.

McCormick, Patricia. Purple Heart. New York: Balzer + Bray, 2009.

Mead, Alice. Soldier Mom. New York: Random House Children’s Books, 1999.

Moses, Shelia. Joseph. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008.

Novgorodoff, Danica and Benjamin Percy. Refresh, Refresh: A Graphic Novel. New York: First Second, 2009.

Parry, Rosanne. Second Fiddle. New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 2011.

Parry, Rosanne. Heart of a Shepherd. New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 2009.

Pickup, Stephanie L. The Soldiers Tree. T A O Army Kids Pub, 2004.

Jan Marry ( spent twenty years as a military spouse, which took her and her family around the world to live in six countries and four states. She is currently Adult Program Services Coordinator at the Heritage Public Library (New Kent and Charles City County, VA) and she previously worked in military, academic, and public libraries.

Received: August 4, 2016
Accepted: July 20, 2017
Published: December 31, 2018

© Author: Jan Marry. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, and do not use the material for commercial purposes.


1 B. Rose Huber. 2013, Military Children and Their Families Remain an Invisible Subculture (2013),

2 Mary Edwards Wertsch, Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress. (New York: Harmony Books, 1991).

3 Z. Sutherland. Children and Books. (New York. Addison Wesley Educational Publishers, 1997), 18.

4 Ibid., 17.

5 Department of Defense (DoD), Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. 2015 Demographics: Profile of the Military Community., 33.

6 Table 1 reference for Virginia's total Population: United States Census Bureau. Quick Facts: Virginia, 2016.

7 Table 1 references for Active Duty, Ready Reserves, Active Duty Dependents, and Estimate of Veteran Dependents: DoD, 33, 88, 125, 188.

8 Table 1 reference for Veterans and Estimate of Veteran Dependents: National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. Population Tables. Table 6L: VetPop2016 living veterans by state, age group, gender, 2015-2045.

9 DoD, 121..

10 Ibid., 9.

11 Ibid., 121.

12 Ibid., 134.

13 Janie-Lynn Kang and Lisa Williamson, "Unemployment rate nears prerecession level by end of 2015," Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2016,

14 DoD, 134.

15 Jennifer Taft and Cynthia Olney. “Library Services for the “New Normal” of Military Families.” Public Libraries Online Nov/Dec 2014.

16 DoD, 119.

17 Department of Defense Education Activity. All About DoDEA Educational Partnership,

18 Ellen R. DeVoe and Abigail Ross. “The parenting cycle of deployment.” Military Medicine. 177(2) 2012:184-90.

19 19. P. Lester, Judith A. Stein, William Saltzman, Kirsten Woodward, Shelley W. MacDermid, Norweeta Milburn, Catherine Mogil, and William Beardslee, “Psychological health of military children: Longitudinal evaluation of a family-centered prevention program to enhance family resilience,” Military Medicine 178 (August 2013): 838-45, doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-12-00502.

20 20. Steven L. Sayers, “Family Reintegration Difficulties and Couples Therapy for Military Veterans and Their Spouses,“ Cognitive and Behavioral Practice 18, no. 1 (February 2011): 108–119. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpra.2010.03.002

21 DoD, 189.

22 Wertsch, Military Brats.

23 DoD, iii.

24 Ibid., iii.