“I hated good-byes. My life had been filled with them. If your dad or mom is in the Navy, saying good-bye is part of your life.”
That’s military life according to Piper Reed, the spunky main character in Kimberly Willis Holt’s book Piper Reed, Forever Friend. The book, which is the sixth and possibly final installment in the popular Piper Reed series, follows 10-year-old Piper as her family moves from Pensacola, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia and she is forced to yet again endure the process of making new friends.
This is the third Piper Reed book I’ve read to my own children, and we all agreed it was our favorite. As a parent, I loved being able to use the book as a conversation starter. Piper’s journey from one duty station to another touched upon so many issues that military children face that it seemed every other page offered a teachable moment or an opportunity for discussion hidden beneath an entertaining story. Whether it was Piper’s little sister leaving her beloved goldfish behind, or her parents’ moving tradition of honking the horn as they drove away, or a new friend accusing Piper of having “newkiditis” (“Most Navy brats catch it at least once or twice.”), the book is a wonderful reminder that there are some normal aspects to our not-so-normal life.
It’s not easy for children to frequently move and have to make new friends, but our military kids do it all the time. That’s why Piper Reed, Forever Friend is such a wonderful resource for our children. As my son told me, “It’s good for other military kids to read because it makes them not feel so sad when they have to move.”
I think the best part of Piper Reed, Forever Friend is its use as a reference for my kids the next time we move. When they worry about saying good-bye to friends, I’ll remind them how Piper found a way to keep in touch with her old friends after she moved. When they’re nervous about starting a new school, I’ll remind them how quickly Piper formed new friendships. When they scoff at trying new things, I’ll remind them how Piper learned the importance of being open to new experiences. And when they complain about having to move, I’ll find that page I stuck with a Post-It note and read them the passage that even adults can learn from:
“Mom said our lives were like quilts. Each patch represented a place we’d call home, and each stitch was a memory that would always bind us there.”
Piper Reed, Forever Friend is being released today! Interested in getting your hands on a free, signed copy? Head on over to Riding the Roller Coaster and enter the giveaway for your chance to win 1 of 3 signed Piper Reed books.