PaperBackSwap Blog

Story Time with Soldiers 2011, the Tale of a Book


Dear PaperBackSwap members,

For those who donated to our 2011 Books for Soldiers Campaign, this little story is for you.

The next wave of your donated books is currently being shipped out to United Through Reading destinations all over the world. We thought you might enjoy seeing things from your book’s perspective…

This is the tale of a book. A book for children, with shiny pictures and warm words that make the story come to life. Wouldn’t it be great to be a children’s book that could go on the high seas or across the sea to the desert to join a deployed parent? I am proud to be that book, a United Through Reading Book, one that was donated by a member of PaperBackSwap.com to make this amazing journey.

I started in the author’s mind, a small idea growing to a full- fledged story. I was published and bound in colorful bindings and then waited patiently for my destination to call me….

At the same time, a military command was preparing for deployment. All the service members were anxiously preparing themselves and their families for their departure. Those with children were thinking about ways they could stay connected to them while they are gone. They knew security often prohibits the use of social media and Skype, which are great ways to connect. Email can be sporadic and letters can take such a long time to reach their home. The service members were thrilled when they heard about the United Through Reading program. They could take a video camera into the theater with DVDs to record themselves reading bedtime stories, and then send the DVDs home to their families.

I was excited as I waited with all my other book friends inside the cardboard box in the warehouse, as I had never really traveled far before. I wondered where I might end up. I knew I could be sent from the warehouse directly to a command overseas or even stay on the seas on a huge ship! After what seemed a very long time, at last our box was chosen to go! I had a very long and bumpy ride on a truck, then had to take a bus, and then a plane (from which I dropped!) right on to the deck of a ship in the middle of the ocean . Finally, I was about to be in the hands of the active duty military person who wanted to read a bedtime story to their son or daughter.  My destiny was close!

My box traveled all the way across the world to Iraq and I arrived at my command in the sand. I was so hot as I sat on the shelf in a tent, waiting for my first reading. I could hear tanks rumbling by outside, and the voices of Soldiers talking, too. Once I heard someone whistling as they walked by. I patiently waited for three days on that shelf…hoping, wishing a Soldier would come and choose me.

Then, all the sudden I saw him coming toward me, all dressed in uniform, and I knew he was the one. He took his time and looked at several books, but I hoped and hoped  he was going to pick me…and he did! I saw the smile when he opened my crisp, new pages and started to record himself while imagining the delight on his daughter’s face when she heard this story and saw him on DVD. I was so ready and excited to tell my story.

My best buddy in the book box was put in the backpack of a Marine who took United Through Reading Mobile into dangerous territory. Another buddy stayed on the ship for the sailors.In all of these places, we saw the great patriotism and sacrifice these Soldiers make for their families and yours every day. It is an honor to be their book. Thanks to PaperBackSwap members and United Through Reading we made a difference!


8 Responses to “Story Time with Soldiers 2011, the Tale of a Book”

  1. Cozette M. (CozSnShine) says:

    What a marvelous story and program. I am proud to be a part of a site that gives so generously to others. May our books make the lives of soldiers and their children a tiny bit easier.

  2. Marcia E. says:

    What a pleasure to collaborate with PaperBack Swap!We are so grateful for your support and our Soldiers and Sailors are too!

  3. Kara Dallman says:

    Thank you to the members of PaperBackSwap for your generosity. The connection that deployed parents make with their children when reading storybooks aloud on DVD is like no other. All military families appreciate your gift of the book!

  4. Patty P. (Patouie) , says:

    This program is a brilliant idea. Thanks so much to those who are making it work, and for writing up the journey for us. And what a joy to be part of the PaperbackSwap community. I’m always amazed by how generous people are.

  5. Diana A. (gramto7) , says:

    What a story. These men and women and their families are giving up so much for all of us. Every little we can contribute to help ease their burden is important.
    As an aside, I have a co-worker now serving with the National Guard in Afghanistan and members of BOB have been generous in trading books with me so I can send a variety of books overseas for the little downtime they get. It has been most appreciated.

  6. Angie S. (aladdin) says:

    Hands across the sea…now has a wonderful new and heartwarming meaning…to everyone involved. Thanks for setting this in motion. We cannot know, have no idea, what our soldiers and sailors and marines are experiencing, but this is a tiny way to say THANK YOU.

  7. Karen M. (motherofthreesons) says:

    What a beautiful way to describe the journey that connects our giving to those who are serving our country…and who must miss their family terribly. I love that PBS is always looking for ways to allow its members to reach out to others. Keep the ideas coming :)…

  8. Virginia H. (holtzy) , says:

    I am very proud of PBS for supporting such a wonderful program. It is very hard to understand how difficult it is for both parents and children to be separated. The loneliness of not being with loved ones can be very heartbreaking.
    I hope that each book that is read by parents and recorded for the family brings a smile to someone special. I fully support anything we can do to bring families closer together when they are apart.

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