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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Make Me a Memory by Tamra Norton

Since Veteran’s day is November 11th, I thought I’d take a moment and talk about a couple of titles that I think do an amazing job of honoring our soldiers in Iraq. What’s so amazing about them to me is that they are written especially for the children of those serving in the Armed Forces.


Tamra Norton, of Molly Mormon fame, put her sweet talent to work a couple of years ago creating a book about a little girl named Allie whose entire world is flipped upside down when her dad is sent to serve in Iraq. Make Me a Memory is just about one of the sweetest books I’ve read and I know of very few other books at all that address this tough topic with such true-to-life, sincerety but with the fun escapism of fiction instead of a some times more impersonal nonfiction “my daddy had to go to war” title.


I loved everything about Make Me a Memory. I love Allie’s emotion and innocence. I loved great grandma who has Alzheimer’s. And, I especially loved Abraham Lincoln (the family goat).


Here are a couple of links highlighting the wonderful good Make Me a Memory has been able to do.

http://www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?mode=id&id=12244

http://www.kcentv.com/news/c-article.php?cid=1&nid=10994


I was so proud of Tamra when Make Me a Memory came out and thought I’d just about bust my buttons when it’s sequel came out this year—Make Me a Home. Allie faces a new challenge in learning that her father will not be returning home when the family had expected him to. His unit has been told to stay longer and Allie deals with this on her own terms while navigating the world of best friends, boys, and popularity while becoming more and more aware of the dangers her father faces every day.


If you know a child whose parent is serving in the military I can’t recommend enough that you pick up Make Me a Memory and Make Me a Home for them for Christmas. It will give them something beautiful and hopeful to connect to. Whether or not you know someone serving, take a few days to read these titles and remember how hard it is for both those in the military and their families to express their patriotism with their whole lives.


Because I know I can’t do it justice, I’ll borrow Allie’s words from Make Me a Home:


Some dads like to grow things, so they become farmers. Some dads like to build things, so they become carpenters. Some dads like to be their own boss, so they buy a quarry. My dad is different. He does his job as a soldier in the United States Army because of his beliefs.


My dad believes that we live in a great nation with freedom to choose. He never wants us to lose that freedom. In some places in this world, bad people take away the freedom from others. My dad is willing to fight for this freedom because he doesn’t want me to grow up in a world without it.


My dad believes the United States was founded by men who had some help from God. Dad says sometimes ideas like this aren’t popular, but there are a whole lot more important things in life than being popular. What’s most important is being true to yourself. For Dad, this means being a soldier and serving our country.


Some dads are able to come home every night and tell their kids they love them. My dad can’t. He’s thousands of miles away in Iraq. But when I want to feel close to him and feel his love, all I have to do is look in the mirror. I am who I am because my dad taught me to be true to myself. I may not be the most beautiful, or most popular, but I’m me.


I think my dad would be proud of me, like I’m proud of him.



Whether you agree with the reasons our soldiers are in Iraq, let’s never forget that those soldiers, as with those who have served before them, are people just like the rest of us: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives, trying to make their families proud by doing something very, very hard.


Happy Veteran’s Day, everybody.


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4 comments:

Heather B. Moore said...

My daughter really enjoyed these books!

Tamra Norton said...

Wow, Alison! Thank you so much for your kind words. I've met with many of our military children over the past few years and the are an incredible bunch! Thanks for remembering the families as well on such a special day!

Alison Palmer said...

My pleasure Tamra. I really think you've provided a great service with these titles. I'm proud of you!

Josi said...

Great reviews and reminders, Alison and Tamra. I love Ali's summation--reminds me of just how much is being sacrificed on my behalf.