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Honoring Veterans and their Service

At its core, librarianship is a helping profession with a focus on serving the community. Librarians use their organizational skills and knowledge to help people find the resources they need for work, school and play. They are driven to create an amazing library whilst being responsible stewards of community resources. This sense of civic duty shared by another special profession: military personnel and veterans. Whilst organizing books and organizing battlefield strategy are vastly different, at the core, both are motivated by helping and serving others.

That’s why the partnership with local veterans has been an especially meaningful endeavor for library staff.  The Warrior Ink Photographic Exhibit, opening April 8th, features professional photographs of tattoos belonging to local veterans and the meaningful stories behind them. The library is also developing regular programming for veterans and is dedicated to being a safe place with resources for everyone, including those who have protected and served our fine country.

Below is a selection of books for all ages about military life – before, during, and after war. From service dogs to help cope with physical and mental disabilities to World War I Veterans sharing their story for the first time, these books provide a wide range of main characters and perspectives on what life is like when you have made a pledge to protect, to defend and to serve.

Books About Military Life

Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond between a Soldier and His Service Dog by Luis Carlos Montalván

Former U.S. Army Captain, Luis Montalván, returned home from his second tour of duty in Iraq, with multiple injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Afraid to leave his home, Captain Montalván was beginning to lose hope until he met Tuesday, his amazing service dog. Tuesday helps him overcome his combat-related wounds and anxiety. This picture book is filled with adorable photographs depicting their unbreakable bond.

Hero Dad and Hero Mom by Melinda Hardin

Some superheroes wear rocket-propelled boots, drive super-powered cars, and have X-ray vision. But other superheroes wear army boots, drive tanks, and go away for long trips to make the world a safer place. It’s a tough job, but superheroes can do it. With Melinda Hardin’s simple text and with Bryan Langdo’s endearing watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, Hero Dad and Hero Mom makes a difficult and tender subject more accessible to children with parents serving far from home.

Boots on the Ground by Elizabeth Partridge

With more than one hundred photographs, author Elizabeth Partridge’s unflinching book captures the intensity, frustration, and lasting impacts of one of the most tumultuous periods of American history. This award-winning book for teens explores the Vietnam War from many different perspectives including an American soldiers, a nurse, and a Vietnamese refugee.

The Last of the Dougboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War by Richard Rubin

In 2003, eighty-five years after the armistice, it took Richard Rubin months to find just one living American veteran of World War I. But then, he found another. And another. Eventually he managed to find dozens, aged 101 to 113, and interview them. Rubin takes you on a decade-long odyssey across the United States, into France, through archives and battlefields to recover the story of a forgotten generation and their Great War.

Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel

In Thank You for Your Service, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, David Finkel shifts his journalistic focus from soldiers on the battlefield to veterans back at home after their deployments have ended. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like — not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done. A real war story with a jarring but critical message.

Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War by Kayla Williams

Army Specialist Kayla Williams and Sargent Brian McGough met at a mountain outpost in Iraq in 2003 – where a spark of attraction began. Shortly after, Brian was wounded by a roadside bomb that sent shrapnel through his brain. Upon returning home, the two began a romance and later married, but neither anticipated the consequences of Brian’s injury on their lives. Lacking essential support for returning veterans from the military and the VA, Kayla and Brian suffered through posttraumatic stress disorder. Both of them persevere, confront their demons and search for healing.

An Everyday Hero: A Novel by Laura Trentham

A series of bad decisions and bad luck lands Greet Hadley with community service house at a nonprofit organization that aids veterans and their families. There, Greer (age 30) befriends 15 year-old Alice, a gifted girl who lost her father in action and hides her pain behind a mask of sarcasm. To make matters more complicated, Greer finds herself spending more and more time with Emmett Lawson – a man with both physical and emotional scars of his own. From award-winning author Laura Trentham comes an emotionally layered novel about redemption, second chances and discovering that life is worth fighting for.

Further Reading

Take a look at these hand-picked books about the military experience.