Bookshelf Spotlight: Veterans -- Heroes in Our Neighborhood
Every day is Veterans Day at Primerrily! And with the official celebration of veterans around the corner, we want to highlight a phenomenal kids’ book that hits all the high points of this understated, yet critically important federal holiday.
Author Valerie Pfundstein and Illustrator Aaron Anderson are the creators of Veterans: Heroes in our Neighborhood. A Mom’s Choice Awards winner in Honoring Excellence, the rhyming words and vibrant illustrations within the pages of Veterans draw in little kids, big kids, and grown-up readers alike. Beyond poetry and pictures, this book tells the story of a boy whose dad explains the everyday and unexpected places the humble “heroes in our neighborhood” continue to support us in our communities:
“Our teacher asked us each to name
A veteran we knew.
She said, ‘Now you may be surprised.
It won’t be hard to do.’”
. . .
“They’re our family, neighbors, friends,
Who never boast or brag.
We all should be reminded of
Their love for home and flag.”
The book highlights some of the various work people can do to serve our country: from sailor to nurse, pilot to paratrooper, and more. It also highlights various jobs that these “real life” heroes in our neighborhood have as civilians: from barber to butcher, firefighter to teacher, church volunteer to businessman, postal worker to guidance counselor, and more. No matter their branch or rank or what they do now, we are grateful for their patriotic service and sacrifice.
A couple pages touch on the “ultimate sacrifice” and Memorial Day, which is a tougher explanation to young kids. No one knows your little minds as well as you do, so you’ll know the appropriate time to introduce the idea of death and dying for one’s country. To plant seeds for that heavy concept, we like to simply define sacrifice as “giving up something you love for something you love more.” Ask your kids to name two things they love, and then imagine how tough it would be to give up one of those things to be able to have the other. That’s how they can think about Memorial Day, and later more deeply appreciating the men and women who gave up the life they loved for the country and its people they loved more. This book reminds us that in relation to those who sacrificed their lives, Gold Star Moms, Dads, kids, spouses, friends, and more also had to sacrifice. At a general introductory level, we like how putting the Memorial holiday in context of Veterans Day makes the somber meaning a bit more approachable.
The final pages of Veterans modestly feature the real photos and short biographies of the illustrated veteran heroes mentioned throughout the book. The closing page is an empty template, titled “My Neighborhood Hero,” for you and your little patriot to ponder and then personalize. This unique element truly brings our veteran heroes to life. We enjoy Veterans for its fun writing and pictures, and we love Veterans for bringing an appreciation for our military service members to young minds. Thanks to this book, Primerrily families are relating, honoring, and thanking the heroes in our neighborhoods!
“But we don’t need a calendar
To celebrate the brave.
We pledge allegiance to the flag
And let those colors wave!”
Visit Pfun-omenal Stories for more books “incorporating love of storytelling with love of country.”