I’m lucky that I don’t have a personal story to go along with this book. And I’m lucky that there are others who are willing to take on that personal story, to send their loved ones far, far away to served our country. So I won’t tell my usual parenting yarn here. I’ll just thank those whose own parenting yarns involve, in the words of the main character of this book, “about a billion days” without a parent.
Title: Lily Hates Goodbyes
Author: Jerilyn Marler
Illustrator: Nathan Stoltenberg
Genre: Picture Book, Military Family
Age: 2 – 7
Summary and Review:
Lily hates goodbyes. This is the sad but sweet refrain that gives rhythm to this beautiful book about the sacrifices American military families make when the military parent is away. The book is geared toward children of military personnel to help them deal with the pain of missing a parent for “about a billion days”.
This book is really well written and beautifully illustrated with colorful drawings in a really accessible style. The goal of the book—to help young children deal with the long absences and unknowns of having a parent in the military—is clear, but unlike other books that are written with such a specific purpose, it doesn’t sacrifice anything to reach that goal. The writing is perfect, the verse easy to read and poignant. There are a few repeated refrains such as “a billion days” and “Lily hates goodbyes” that lend a sense of poetry to the prose. The story is easy to follow and filled with ideas of things other kids might try, such as looking at the moon and thinking about a faraway parent who can also see the moon, or creating a memory box with pictures to show the parent when he/she returns.
Follow up with the kids
This is one of those books that’s meant to be followed up on. I’ve often talked in this blog about how parents can talk with their son or daughter about the meaning of a book or a book’s character as a way to indirectly talk about real issues in their son or daughter’s life. Kid are often much more comfortable talking about things in terms of an imaginary situation. This book is a perfect example of how to do that. Kids who might be too scared to say that they themselves are sad can observe that Lily is sad. They can observe that she’s mad. They might then go on to say that yes, they know why she’s feeling that way because they have felt the same way she does.
This is a book that can bring comfort, ideas, and most importantly, real conversation between parents and children. And promoting that is the reason I started this blog in the first place.
The author also includes ideas in the back of the book for ways to get the most out of it. Learn more at lilyhatesgoodbyes.com. It’s a great find and I’m excited to recommend it to you! I’m also excited to be able to give away a copy! More details in tomorrow’s post!