As education, military, and community leaders in Tennessee, including SCORE, the Expect More, Achieve More Coalition, and the Tennessee Military Department, launch the AIM High TN initiative, SCORE Tennessee Educator Fellow and classroom teacher Amy Crawford provides reading suggestions for military families. For more resources and updates on AIM High TN in the coming months, please go to

FDSC_0088inding high quality, engaging, and age-appropriate literature for children, adolescents, and young adults can be daunting, but for families impacted by military service, this challenge is compounded by the unique circumstances surrounding deployment, separation, and reintegration.

Safe inside the pages of the right book at the right time, children can be assured that everything is going to be okay. Reading gives children a place to process circumstances that are out of their control and come to terms with the unique realities of family members impacted by military service. The books below represent a small sampling of the quality literature available which may provide comfort through an unsettling time.

Early Elementary

The Kissing Hand
# of Pages: 27 pages
Age: 2 – 6 years
Author/Illustrator: Audrey Penn
Description: Chester the raccoon deals with separation anxiety, but his mother shares a special secret that will help him deal with their temporary separation.

Upper Elementary

Author:  R.J. Pallacio
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
# of pages:  320 pages
Description: This story deals with the struggles of being “different” and the social isolation that results from not being like everyone else.

Pink and Say
Author/Illustrator:  Patricia Polacco
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
# of pages: 48 pages
Description: Pink and Say tells a powerful story about a young, black soldier in the Civil War who befriends an injured white Union soldier.

Middle School

It Doesn’t Take a Hero: The Autobiography of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Author: Norman Schwarzkopf
Age Range: 12-Adult
Grade Level: 5th +
# of pages: 640 pages
Description: The candid and outspoken autobiography of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

High School

The Traveler’s Gift: The Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
Author: Andy Andrews
Age Range: 12-adult
Grade level: 7th +
Description: Businessman, David Ponder, experiences a series of setbacks that result in magical visits with historical figures during critical decision-making periods.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Age Range: 13-adult
Grade level: 8th +
Description: The true-life story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini.