For military families, packing up and starting over is a part of life. On average, the moves come every 2.5 years, but for some, they come even more frequently.
That’s hard on anyone, but it can be especially difficult for children.
Coronado military spouses Sarah Murphy and Amy Dobbins are working to ease the transition for military children through their Good Morning Military Books, for which they’ve just released the San Diego edition.
The books feature military bases around the world that serve as both introductions to and mementos from various duty stations. The first book, Good Morning Yokosuka, launched when the duo were neighbors in Yokosuka, Japan, and it features vibrant illustrations that capture the atmosphere of Japan’s largest Naval base. It’s a nostalgic read for anyone, young or old, who has spent time there.
“Military bases are their own little community, and I thought it would be such a fun thing for kids to have something they could identify with,” said Murphy, who dreamed up the concept in 2018 while living in Japan. “Kids can show people, ‘This is my world, this is where I’m coming from,’ and it’s also a way for parents to prepare kids for where they’re going next.”
Murphy teamed up with Robbins, a photographer and graphic designer, to work on their first release, centered on Yokosuka. Initially, the two thought it would be a side project: they’d give some to their kids, and because publishers have order minimums, they’d give the rest away.
Instead, demand was huge. Within a few days of launch, they had sold hundreds of books. Then, they partnered with the Navy Exchange to place the book on shelves, where it remains a best seller.
Now that the two are in Coronado, they’ve released Good Morning San Diego in effort to capture the unique experience of families who live here. It’s currently available at the Coronado Library and online, and the two are now working to bring the book to local shelves.
The books are more than just a souvenir for military families. Dobbins and her family moved to Germany after Japan, and her children brought Good Morning Yokosuka to show their classmates where they lived prior.
“It’s a way to connect the kids on a more age-appropriate level,” Dobbins said. “It’s a child-friendly way to have those conversations about where you’ve been and where you’re going.”
Dobbins and Murphy are both mothers with additional jobs, which they wrangle as they move around the world with their active duty spouses. It can be a difficult lifestyle, but it also paves the way for unique experiences living around the world.
“Being a military spouse is such a challenge,” Murphy said. “To pick up and start over again, emotionally, with friendships, with sustaining a marriage, and with your own personal goals is hard.”
But, she said, there are perks.
“Military spouses are the best in the world,” Murphy said. “They’re so loving and giving. Anywhere I go, there are endless numbers of people who will reach out and support you, so I feel really blessed to be in this community.”
Purchase Good Morning San Diego, as well as other books in the series, here.