Veteran Stories: Books for Kids

Illustration of a female military pilot hugging her child

These books tell the stories of veterans from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds. These are the stories of individuals and families who have made important contributions in service of their country, from a Latina mother's bedtime story about her life in the Air Force to a grandfather remembering his days as a Navajo Code Talker.

For more related titles, see the following booklists:

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. Created in partnership with We Need Diverse Books.

At the Mountain's Base

person on a mountain holding strings connected to the base of the mountain
Illustrated by: Weshoyot Alvitre
Age Level: 3-6

At the mountain's base sits a cabin under an old hickory tree. And in that cabin lives a family -- loving, weaving, cooking, and singing. The strength in their song sustains them through trials on the ground and in the sky, as they wait for their loved one, a pilot, to return from war.

With an author's note that pays homage to the true history of Native American U.S. service members like WWII pilot Ola Mildred "Millie" Rexroat, this is a story that reveals the roots that ground us, the dreams that help us soar, and the people and traditions that hold us up.

Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops

Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops
Illustrated by: Raúl Colón
Age Level: 6-9

"Biden, wife of the Vice President, watched for a year as her granddaughter, Natalie, dealt with the deployment of her father (Beau) to Iraq. Using Natalie's experiences as a springboard, Biden chronicles what life is like for a child with a parent fighting far from home…As always, Colón's scratchboard-style art, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, invites a closer look...The excellent back matter gives readers myriad ways that both adults and children can help military families in their own communities." — Booklist

Good Night Captain Mama

Illustrated by: Linda Lens
Age Level: 6-9

A little boy is walking to his bedroom when he notices his mother in an olive-green military flight suit. His curiosity about the colorful patches on her uniform evolves into a bedtime conversation between a military mother and her child about why she serves and what she does in the unusual KC-135R aerial refueling airplane. He drifts off to sleep with thoughts of his mommy in the airplane and the special surprise she gives him. This unique book was written by a Latina military officer and former aviator. Bilingual text.


Illustrated by: Dom Lee
Age Level: 6-9
Language: English

From the author of Baseball Saved Us comes an intergenerational story that describes how a Japanese-American family deals with the painful legacy of war. Set against the backdrop of the 1960s and talk of Vietnam, it offers a universal message of dignity and courage to anyone who feels they are different. Full-color illustrations.

My Big Brother

Illustrated by: Ronald Himler
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

When a young boy's beloved older brother joins the army, he has some big shoes to fill.  This touching book captures the difficulty of separation that all members of military families face, including the youngest ones. This book is available in English or in a bilingual Spanish edition.

Quiet Hero: The Ira Hayes Story

Age Level: 6-9

Ira Hayes, a member of the Pima tribe, was one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, catapulting him to celebrity status. His life became a struggle against fame and then alcoholism, ending when he was only 32 years old. This picture book biography features evocative paintings and concluding with additional factual information and photographs.

The Flag We Love

Illustrated by: Ralph Masiello
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish

Read this book aloud to young readers to teach them about the United States flag, its history, and meaning. The short verse, historical tidbits, and realistic illustrations result in a brief, moving, and patriotic look at this American symbol. Spanish version available.

The Wall

Illustrated by: Ronald Himler
Age Level: 6-9

A boy describes the trip he takes with his father to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Together, they look for the name of his grandfather, who died before he was born.

Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers

"Speaking their native language — which the Japanese could not decode — Diné (Navajo) soldiers were instrumental in U.S. marine victories in the Pacific during World War II, relaying vital information between the front lines and headquarters. Kenji Kawano, a native Japanese photographer whose black and white images of surviving 'code talkers' are unusual for their sensitivity, notes with some irony that these soldiers were his father's enemies at one time." —

Wind Flyers

Illustrated by: Loren Long
Age Level: 6-9

A young African American boy tells the story of his great-great-uncle, who realized his dream of flying by becoming a Tuskegee Airman during World War II. Richly hued paintings evoke the period, and spare language allows the story to speak for itself.