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Why is Dad So Mad? (The Why Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – March 19, 2015
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About the Author
Seth Kastle is the Author of the children’s book Why is Dad So Mad? and the upcoming Why is Mom So Mad?. Both of these books were written in order to assist military families who are struggling with PTSD. Seth retired after a 16 year military career as a Company First Sergeant. He was deployed in January 2002 to Qatar, and then to Afghanistan for a total of eight months. He was then deployed to Iraq in January 2003 until April 2004. He has been married for nearly ten years now to his wife Julia, and has two daughters; Raegan and Kennedy. He wrote the book Why is Dad So Mad? to try to help his children understand why he is the way he is now. The overriding purpose of these books is to let children of services members know that no matter what, their parents love them more than anything, despite the challenges that are faced. Seth resides in Kansas where he is a Professor of Leadership Studies at Fort Hays State University.
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The only time the book mentions PTSD is on the cover; after that it's described as the fire inside him. It talks about how Dad was calm before he went overseas. In the end it reminds kids to think of all the fun things they do with Dad and to know even if he's yelling, he still loves them no matter what, forever.
My only critique would be that it talks about a complete family and Mom and Dad will love each other forever. I know the auther wrote this for his family so it's very minor. It may of struck me so hard because I'm a single Dad with sole custody since he was two.
In the end my final thoughts are if the government wants to spend money to help the troops they should buy 1000's of these and stock VA hospitals, Military Bases, and offer free anonymous downloads for troops. There's a lot of people out there suffering in silence because of the stigmas associated with PTSD.
It is illustrated by Karissa Gonzalez-Othon.
I want to start this review off by saying how much I love this book! It is illustrated in very simple easy to look at drawings. The characters in the book are depicted as a lion family which is appealing to children and adults alike. It explains the way PTSD changes an individual gently and carefully maintaining the focus on the parent/child relationship and focusing on the love a parent feels for their child no matter the challenges they are facing personally. I think it is an excellent addition to the library of any military family and public libraries also.
The characters in Why is Dad So Mad are portrayed as a lion family. I think this was an excellent choice for several reasons. Firstly, it cuts across race unequivocally allowing this book to be an ideal resource for any military family whose dad has PTSD. (Mom's don't feel left out, Kastle is working on his companion volume Why is Mom So Mad.) Army families come in all sizes and colors and using lions as their characters allows his readers to read the book rather than worry about why they don't look the same.
Additionally the use of the lion characters adds to the visual interest and gives the person reading it more to discuss with the child they are reading to. Questions such as “Have you ever seen Daddy get so angry he grew a mane, open up conversation that will help the child work through the complex emotions they are learning to deal with.
Finally the lion characters are appealing to the reader because it makes it easy to see dad cast as the angry lion and the loving protector at the same time. The illustrations about getting angry really quickly and the final one of the whole family in a group hug are some of my favorites in the book.
Kastle uses simple childlike language in relating the struggles someone who has PTSD faces on a daily basis, explaining that Dad had to do “really hard, dangerous work” and that because of that sometimes he has a hard time now. He has trouble relaxing, being patient, and controlling his anger and these are just a few of the symptoms that Kastle touches on so artfully before showing his reader how he deals with those symptoms.
Kastle closes his excellent book with positive family images in which Dad is expressing his love to his family and smiling. He promises that no matter what he will always love them “more than anything.” This is, in my opinion, an excellent way to close a difficult topic with a child. To use Kastle's own words, a child needs to know “more than anything” where he or she stands with the parent who is dealing with PTSD and that they still matter to them.
My own children who are 14 and 18 read this book and adored it. My older daughter, who works at our local library in the children's room shared it with the children's librarian who also purchased a copy for her shelves because she enjoyed it so much.
However, it was purchased for a child of a mom and dad who are divorced now… So while the book itself is really good, it might be hard to explain (or explain again) why mom and dad did not stick together and did not love each other forever.
The majority of the book does not reference a family unit, in fact only on the final page will you find mention of it. Therefore it could still be super helpful. But be aware of the fact that you might end up having a conversation about love, divorce, and why your family isn't like the one in the book in addition to/instead of why dad is so mad.