The Year of the Jungle: Memories from the Home Front by Suzanne Collins
This book makes a good starting point in discussing the topic of war. When Suzanne Collins was in first grade her father went over to serve in Viet Nam and this story is told from the young Collins’ viewpoint. What does a six year-old make of war? She worries that mom will leave too so she keeps a close eye on her. She gleans from others that her Dad is in a jungle and she imagines a fun place with exotic animals. But when neighbors begin saying that her dad “will be just fine” she begins to realize that they are worried for him. Her imaginings begin to get a bit darker. She accidentally sees some news footage on TV and she hides in the closet and cries. Her dreams are nightmarish now. But Dad suddenly returns, different but still Dad. She knows now that being afraid is OK – you can still be brave. This story takes place across a year and shows what an impact war has on those who are left behind.