How your children can lead vets home

Yesterday’s guest blog by Kelli McMillan on Homecoming Vets about helping military kids cope with their parents’ deployments and reunions has drawn widespread interest. Laura Wooten responded to tell us that she produced a picture book that is illustrated by her daughter, Kelly Pennington, called With My Little Box of Crayons. This engaging story is about a young boy who misses his father away at war. He tells him what he thinks and how he feels and what it would be like to have him home again.

Daddy is leaving for the war. He leaves his son a pad of paper and a box of crayons. He asks his son to draw pictures of things that happen while he is away. The son is very sad at first and doesn't want to do much of anything. But, after being sad and thinking on it, he remembers his Daddy's request. He gets out his pad of paper and crayons and starts drawing for his Daddy. He is very choosy with his colors and tries to draw his feelings about what is going on and what he wants to happen. He thinks that his daddy and all the Mommies and Daddies should be able to come home to their children as soon as possible. He creates things that will protect the soldiers and also ways to bring them home faster. The book closes with him wishing on a star and hoping his Daddy will be home soon because he misses him so much.

I’m interested in hearing about and promoting other projects like this to help vets and their families learn to communicate more sensitively with each other about what it’s like to go to war and then come home again. For the warrior, life is never the same. Everything that happens from then on is seen through the prism of that combat or peacekeeping experience. The spouse and children, on the other hand, find it difficult to relate to this stranger that has returned to them. Everybody needs to talk and to listen to each other, with respect and with compassion. It’s not unusal for a child to show us the way.

This picture book can be a starting point. Order it, read it as a family, and if it helps you open up to each other, write a review so other military families can hear how this picture book helped them. You can purchase WITH MY LITTLE BOX OF CRAYONS here at Barnes & Noble or at


About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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