Military Wife Who Raised Two Kids Through Husband's Five Deployments Pens Children's Book
Chandelle Walker knows a thing or two about missing a loved one. The wife of Army Chief Warrant Officer Michael Walker, she has navigated five overseas deployments.
With her new children's book, Daddy Left with Mr. Army: A Child's View of Military Deployment, the mother-of-two addresses the effects of deployments on the youngest members of a military family from a child's perspective. The self-published book is a labor of love and she says was inspired by her own children.
Walker tells Southern Living that she began working on Daddy Left with Mr. Army 14 years ago while her husband was deployed in South Korea. She was pregnant with her son Austin at the time, and her daughter Lauryn was 3.
"I saw how difficult that was for my daughter," Walker recalls. "I continued to add to the story as we experienced many additional separations due to required training exercises and deployments to Afghanistan. During this heavy time of separation, our children were babies, toddlers and tweens. This was really the time I added more to the book as I could see all that was being asked of these young children. I saw and heard and felt their emotions and recognized what they were being asked to give up each time as military duty called."
The illustrated book is written in rhyme and based on Walker's personal experiences, with insight into how children feel when a separation occurs.
Walker tells Southern Living she hopes her book reaches as many military children and families as possible. "I want to encourage reading time together," she says. "I want to help bridge the gap between parent and child so we can be more aware of what they see and feel before and during these deployments and family separations. I want to help children feel heard and to help them know that there are other children hearing, seeing, and feeling the same things as them."
WATCH: Watch Soldiers in Afghanistan Reveal The Gender of Fallen Comrade's Baby
"Although the inspiration for this story was originally my children, it became bigger than just our family," Walker continues. "I wanted to share insights into what all military children experience through deployments. I wrote it from the child's point of view so the children reading it could feel validated and understood through the feelings of the children in the story. I wanted to give a voice to each military child, so parents, extended family and even outsiders looking into military life can gain a different perspective into the lives of all of these amazing children."
Daddy Left with Mr. Army: A Child's View of Military Deployment Learning, is available now on Amazon for $17.