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Every day soldiers leave their families, and every day, families hope and wait for their arrival. Greg Ruth’s Coming Home is a beautiful, practically wordless, picture book that truly captures the essence of this anticipation, inviting us into the emotional reunion of a young boy with his mother coming back from deployment.

I am often amazed at how much story can be told through illustrations. The warm hues in this book immediately draw readers in, and their perspective easily follows the boy’s as he waits with a crowd of people. When the plane lands, readers push through the crowd with the boy while other characters welcome their loved ones. The keen attention to detail shows the boy’s reaction to a young couple about to kiss and even his concern and building suspense as he keeps 9781250055477.IN02searching through the crowd, not finding who he’s looking for. Simple text such as waiting…watching…where is…? allows the reader to interact with the illustrations and feel the young boy’s tension as they turn each page until he finally sees MOM! The excitement and release of tension is present within the details of the artwork.

At a time when so much debate is being had about our nation’s war efforts, this book offers a way to discuss the military, deployment, the family and loved ones who get left behind and the possibility that some who go may not come back. The Booksource Teacher Resource for this title includes helpful links to teach these difficult concepts with a young audience. Teachers could start a discussion about the basic emotion sadness with the article Why Am I So Sad?; then move onto Worrying about War and have students connect the two. Another link includes videos of military kids sharing their own thoughts about deployment. Students might be able to conduct their own interviews to learn how others experience sadness and anticipation, among other related topics. Also, because the story uses very little words, the book shows how sometimes language isn’t necessary to convey meaning. As teachers read the book, they can use the pictures to have students analyze visual text and create inferences.

This is the perfect book to showcase during the month of November as we celebrate our Veterans “for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good” (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs).

Coming Home

Enter for a chance to win Coming Home by completing the form below. Entries are limited to the United States. Contest ends 11:59 p.m. CST on November 15, 2015. One winner will be randomly selected.