Donna David is a children’s picture book writer who knows just how difficult life can be for British Armed Forces children. The author and mum-of-three is married to a serving Airman, who can often be away for weeks or months at a time.
That’s why Donna has penned the first three books in a six-part series of stories, in conjunction with military charity ‘Little Troopers’. The story books, aimed at young people aged between 3 and 10 years old, follow military children through their unique lives and the sometimes challenging situations they face. The books are formed of letters written by fictional characters Tom, Tilly and Freddie, who write to their serving military parents, opening up about their thoughts and feelings.
Donna David said: “My own children can often be away from their Royal Air Force Dad for long periods of time and this can result in complicated feelings. I knew that seeing themselves represented in the books they were reading would have helped tremendously, but these books, with very young military children at the heart, just didn’t exist. When I met with Little Troopers, I was incredibly excited to hear of their vision for a series of picture books where the Mum or Dad is deployed. This was a project that I HAD to be involved in.”
Little Troopers is the first tri-service charity providing vital support to children with a parent serving in the British Armed Forces. It began with a sponsored climb of Mount Snowdon back in 2011. Since its conception the charity has gone from strength to strength, leading on a plethora of initiatives including a story telling app, resource packs for schools and a summer camp where military families can reconnect after a period of separation.
The charity’s founder, Louise Fetigan said: “We are so excited to have linked up with Donna to offer a gorgeous series of books for children who have one or more parents serving in the armed forces. Up to now there has been a noticeable void or a series like this, tackling the issues military children often face. These books would also be a great addition to any school library and equally to any child, from a military or civilian family, who experiences separation from a parent.”
The books, which went on sale earlier this Spring, are already proving a huge hit with military families across all three services. RAF wife Gemma is mum to two children aged 7 and 3. She said her little ones loved reading ‘Dear Daddy’:
“It’s so funny, and I’m sure reading it together will help them when Daddy goes away again. I love the letter format and I hope this will encourage my children to write to their dad- anything to make deployments that little bit easier for them. It’s a wonderful book by a very talented writer.’
There are three book titles in the series so far, two entitled ‘Dear Daddy’, aimed at the children of Royal Air Force and Royal Navy servicemen. A third book, ‘Dear Mummy’, is perfect for the sons and daughters of female soldiers and for children with more than one serving parent as it follows a dual serving family.
To purchase any of the books or to find out more, visit: https://www.freewebstore.org/littletroopers/Little_Troopers_story_books/p1281576_18561086 .