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Books are among my favorite gifts to give and receive, and I’ve come across quite a few books especially for military families this year. So for your shopping and reading pleasure, here are some books that might appeal to you or someone on your Christmas list:

“Where I Live,” by Eileen Spinelli (Dial, 2007)

The spare poetry of this children’s book captures the heartache of leaving behind all that is familiar and embracing a new life — sweetly, simply, with no saccharine aftertaste. Another of Eileen’s books, “While You Are Away,” is a picture book for young children with deployed parents. I also like her festive “When Christmas Came.”

“Piper Reed: Navy Brat,” by Kimberly Holmes Willis (MacMillin, 2007)

I just discovered this treasure, a series of three books about a Navy brat written by a grown-up Navy brat. Piper’s voice speaks to early readers about the joys and struggles of life on the move. Two more titles in the series are “Piper Reed: The Great Gypsy” and “Piper Reed Gets a Job.” The author is also a winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for “When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.”

“Help! I’m a Military Spouse — I Want a Life Too!” by Kathie Hightower and Holly Scherer (Potomac, 2007, Second Ed)

This is my top recommended book for new spouses or those struggling for individuality within the military lifestyle. The authors, both experienced Army spouses, provide practical advice and a positive attitude for all aspects of the life we live. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and plenty of research, this book packs a lot of information and inspiration in less than 200 pages.

“While They’re At War,” by Kristin Hendersen (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

This author, as the wife of a Marine, has deployment notches in her own belt. With a trained eye, she explores the lives of spouses and families during wartime absence. A good read for those inside and outside the military, this book depicts the struggles and the diversity among military spouses.

“Confessions of a Military Wife,” by Mollie Gross (Savas Beattie, 2009.) Mollie’s career as a stand-up comedian is evident in this account of her experiences as a Marine wife. Aimed at young wives, this book takes a humorous look at even the difficult parts of being married to the military. Mollie’s style is very direct, and parts of her tale may be offensive to some. However, if you can handle the minute details of a Brazilian wax and what really goes on at Mollie’s bunco parties, dive right in.

“Military Father: A Hands-On Guide for Deployed Dads” by Armin Brott (Abbeville, 2009)

This author of several books on fatherhood is also a columnist and host of a radio show about parenting. His military experience did not coincide with his fatherhood, but he covers the basics and includes some good suggestions to dads for staying connected to family while overseas.

“The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional” by Brenda Pace and Carol McGlothlin (Tyndale, 2008)

I received this for Christmas last year, and it makes a great gift for any new year. Written by two military spouses, this devotional includes daily doses of inspiration, Bible verses and prayer. It is applicable for active duty, family members or for extended family who would appreciate a window into military life and ideas for how to pray for those they love.

For more book ideas or to share your own favorites, see the Spouse Calls blog.

Happy giving, and happy reading!

Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives, writes and reads in Germany. Contact her at spousecalls@stripes.com and see the Spouse Calls blog at http://blogs.stripes.com/blogs/spousecalls.


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