Top positive review
48 people found this helpful
Great for children with deploying parents
on August 19, 2006
I have been a military spouse for 12+ years. I have two children who have experienced 3 deployments of at least a year in length. I can say that I wish this book had been around for the first goodbye.
A Paper Hug follows a child as his father is called to deploy overseas. It covers emotions and issues that are likely to be experienced by both children and the parent left behind. This is important in preparing children during such a life changing event. In a military family, it is crucial to talk to children about deployments, and what to expect. This is not always an easy task! This book covers quite a bit!
The story starts with the father being notified he was being called to duty. Mom and son gather items for dad to take with him in order to remember them. This is a valid fear for children- daddy might forget me- so I truly liked this as a starter for the story. It also encourages children to get to know their dad or mom, so they can put together a care package full of things they might enjoy while deployed.
The child in the story experiences a time where he just cries about the situation, which is a normal response. In this time, he figures out he can make something very special for his dad- a paper hug. It details just how the paper hug was created with simple supplies that many young children can handle. (construction paper, yarn, tape, simple measurements..)It even includes a poem that your own child can use to enclose with their very own paper hug.
The family says their good bye to dad as he left, and then a letter arrives a few weeks later. I find that this section is very helpful for children when forming expecations. Many younger children think that letters will come quickly, or that when a letter comes it will be for them. From the book, "Three weeks went by before we got a letter from dad. It was a long one. He told us about what he was doing, what the food was like and mostly stuff for Mom- BUT there was a "p.s" just for me-'Thanks for the surprise box AND especially the hug!'" This is easy for a young child to understand, and shows them that it may take a while, and you may not get a letter for yourself, but dad IS thinking about you.
The book even goes into the late or early hour phone calls that dad might make, and how mom will do most of the talking, and many times the calls come when the children are in bed due to the time difference. Yet again, another expecation is discussed so children will not be overly dissapointed.
The story has the best ending of course, with dad returning home, and getting a real hug to replace the paper hug that kept him going for so long.
I have been asked to review many military related books- this one by far has been the most well done. The author and illustrator are a mother-daughter team who have sent family to Iraq, and lived through the experience with young children. The story is well written for a young child to read on their own or with a parent, and the drawings are done in such a fashion that a child can "get into." Not overly complicated, with bold and fun colors.
Overall I completely recommend this book to be a part of the library of any military family with young children. Having resources to prepare the parent are wonderful- but having a book just for kids written in the perspective of a child, in my opinion, is just as important.