About the Holiday
National Airborne Day was established in 1997 as a time to remember and thank the airborne members of the Armed Forces for their service and sacrifices. August 16 was chosen for this observance because it marks the first official United States Army parachute jump that took place in Georgia in 1940 by 48 volunteer members of the Parachute Test Platoon. The successful jump led the way for hundreds of thousands of paratroopers to follow in their footsteps. The day is commemorated by a ceremony at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, home to the 82nd Airborne Division. Other services are held around the country.
Brave Like Me
By Barbara Kerley
“When someone is serving their country, far from home, they have to be brave. Their families have to be brave. Even their kids have to be brave. Like me.” These lines from a child who has a parent serving their country opens this tribute to military families and the relatives, friends, and neighbors who support them. The child narrator reveals that parents about to be deployed spend a lot of time with their kids “until the day we have to say goodbye.” On that day the family shares kisses and hugs “big enough to last the whole time” parents are away.
Once parents are gone, the house seems empty and children wonder who will take care of them. They look at maps to discover where their parents are and what their day is like. The narrator describes children’s honest emotions, such as sadness and anger at the events parents miss or fear for their safety. But the kids understand that their parents are trained to stay safe.
The children are able to communicate with their parents on the phone and on the computer, where they share the details of their days. They also write letters and draw pictures that they send through the mail. Just as parents have responsibilities, the children know they have jobs to do too. They go to school, do their homework, and help around the house. The family bands together to cook meals, clean, read bedtime stories and tuck younger children into bed.
Friends and neighbors show they care by taking the kids on outings to the park, the movies, the pool, and to special events. Even though parents are far away from home, the child says, they think about their family all the time and want them to be happy playing with friends and pets and even when they are alone. The kids stay busy and enjoy their time with friends and family waiting for the day when they come home. On that day, the narrator says, “I’ll have lots of things to talk about and a million hugs and kisses to share.”
Through full-color photographic spreads and pages alternating between mothers and fathers serving in the military, Barbara Kerley presents an honest and uplifting account of what life is like for children of military families. The photographs of children playing with their parents and kissing and hugging them goodbye as well as pictures of both adults and kids doing their jobs while apart demonstrate the shared love and commitment military families have to their country and their relationships. Brave Like Me is a stirring nonfiction title for school and local libraries to help children understand the sacrifices some families make for their country. It would also be a comforting book for children facing a separation from a service member parent, other relative, or friend or for anyone who wants to better understand the life of service members.
A world map showing the location of each photograph in the book, a variety of children’s definitions of the meaning of “brave” and a discussion on the various branches of foreign service follow the text. There are also pages on how to deal with separation as well as advice and resources for caregivers.
Ages 4 – 8
National Geographic Children’s Books, 2016 | ISBN 978-1426323607
To learn more about Barbara Kerley and her wide range of books, visit her website!
National Airborne Day Activity
Military Plane Coloring Page
The Airforce uses many different types of planes in their missions. Here’s a printable Military Plane Coloring Page for you to enjoy!