Papa’s Backpack written and illustrated by James Christopher Carroll (2015)
When Papa packs his backpack and puts on his uniform, little Bear wants to crawl inside and go with him. Papa is a soldier and Little Bear must stay home. He wonders what it would be like to smell the smoke and feel the sting of the rain. He fantasizes that Papa would be able to carry him around and give him a hug and kiss. But he knows that soldiers have to go away for awhile so that their children can stay home and play. So Little Bear makes Papa a toy bear to carry in his backpack instead.
The innocence of children who parents have to go away for awhile can be heartbreaking. This books helps to bridge that gap between being with their parent and staying home without them. If your child is experiencing this loss, there are many things you can do to help ease the pain. If you don’t have a loved one far away, you can still help others by sharing a piece of home with a soldier who may not have someone back home to support him or her.
Make a picture of yourself or a soldier. Write a letter of support. If you’re sending letters through the USO or other such organization, you may want to address them to a serviceman rather than a soldier. That way they can be sent to any one of the military services.