By Awnali Mills
It’s difficult moving from place to place because your mom’s in the military, but it’s easier when you have your siblings beside you. The Bailey kids are excited about their mom’s new posting because they get to live on the military base for the first time, and their parents say that they’ll get more freedom because it’s safer.
But it’s never easy to fit into a new school, and Tom quickly runs afoul of the school bully, Charlotte accidentally falls in with the mean girls, and little sister Rosie discovers that dogs have gone missing, making her worried for their family dog. Will they figure things out together, or will the new school pull them apart?
I grew up next to a huge Marine base, and have lived on an Army base, so I enjoyed this story of Army brats starting over (a term some of my friends despised while others embraced it). Not everyone has to move to a new place, but there are all kinds of starting over—transitioning between schools, beginning new things, joining new groups, etc. Starting over is always difficult for kids, but this book might make things easier for them. One of my adult friends was an Army brat, and she told me once that coping skills made all the difference. Each time they moved, she embraced the opportunity to make new friends while her sister refused. In the story, each of the Bailey kids uses different coping mechanisms to try and fit in, but it isn’t until they pull together that things begin working out.
Army Brats has a lot of good family interactions and some important lessons on being true to yourself and respecting other people’s feelings and on making friends. Recommended for grades 3-5.