For centuries wars have been fought and families split apart. It is especially difficult for young children to understand the purpose behind their parent’s career and long absence. A new, gold-medal winning book is now available to help those affected by extended, worrisome separations.
Alia Reese authored the collection of “American Hero Books,” which has received 2012’s “Best Book” award by the Military Writers Society of America.
Reese, a military spouse, began writing the books as a way to better reach her children.
“I created the books as a tool to help my kids connect to their father while he was deployed,” said Reese.
The books include information such as the meaning of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the Marines Hymn, as well as pictures and meanings of service ribbons and medals.
Reese joined the Military Writers Society of America as a way to learn more about the world of books.
It was not a goal to self-publish, but the realization that it was the best way to get her book out that motivated her to send the book for review, said Reese. It was then the journey began.
After being sent for review, the book was evaluated by a panel of independent judges representing the MWSA. The judges did not know Reese and did not have previous knowledge of the book in order to keep the judging fair.
During review, Reese’s book was nominated for an award by the lead reviewer, and she didn’t even know.
Out of the 80 nominees in 25 different categories, “American Hero Books” was awarded first place by MWSA at the end of the annual conference.
After having the opportunity to meet other nominees and award winners, Reese said she feels more like a creator than an author.
“I’m a Marine spouse, I have a master’s degree in psychology, and I have the same credentials as many others,” said Reese. “It feels good to get validation that I created something great.”
After winning the award, Reese said her fingers are crossed the book will make it onto the First Lady of the Marine Corps’ reading list. She added she did everything she could to get it distributed, but it’s now up to the community to read it.
“Everyone was very supportive,” said Reese. “People tell me the award was well deserved and they never had any doubt I was going to win. It created great forward momentum for my books.”
Thousands of families send loved ones off to war, but the inspiration to teach her kids was what led Reese to write the gold-medal winning series “American Hero Books”.
Story by: Lance Cpl. Joshua Grant
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