> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review: Lilly Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler, illustrated by Nathan Stoltenberg
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: Lilly Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler, illustrated by Nathan Stoltenberg

While this book was meant for military families, I thought it might be interesting for my daughter to read, to see what children of military go through (as her Mama has gotten THAT t-shirt as a former military brat!).

lily hates goodbyes cover
Synopsis :Lily Hates Goodbye is storybook for young military children (primarily) grappling with deployment separations, from their parent. The book helps children safely express their sometimes scary emotions, feel connected to the absent parent, and find ways to be happy while waiting for the joyful reunion.

Jerilyn Marler wrote the story for her four-year-old granddaughter Lily who was reeling from the pain of her dad's time away in the Navy. Lily would run from the room rather than talk about what she was feeling. The book provided a third person to talk about. Lily was sad. Suddenly it wasn't so scary for real to talk about those feelings.Lily asked to read the book over and over. As a result,Lily is more at ease with her emotions, knows that it's safe to say whatever she feels, knows that her mom will be there steadfastly and lovingly throughit all, and that there is a joyful reunion coming with dad."When Lily asked me to sing her the book, I knew that it was really reaching her. I decided to publish it in hopes that it will help other children through the long, difficult separations," said Jerilyn Marler. She chose to self-publish in order to make the book available as quickly as possible. 

The book soon resonated with others as well! The United Through Reading Military Program selected Lily Hates Goodbyes for their reading list. Deployed service members make a video recording, while reading a book aloud, to their child. The DVD is then sent to the child, who can watch and listen to the parent and read along. The child and the service member stay connected through the shared stories; the at-home spouse feels supported and connected; and the feedback to the deployed parent boosts morale. It is a wonderful program, one that we did not have- course we didn't have Skyppe, email or cell phones either- we survived on snail mail letters that might take weeks to arrive! This program is unique and a valuable asset to those who stay home! if you wish to sign up your family, check their website for instructions.

"This is such a natural fit," said Jerilyn Marler. "The United Through Reading® Military Program and I share the same focus - the emotional well-being of military children. I am honored that the program includes my book." 

Review: Kiddo totally got how sad Lily was and asked LOTS of questions. As we have friends who have been deployed/have family members deployed, she is familiar with the idea of a parent being gone for an extended time. While reading the book I was struck by how many of the questions she asked could be ones asked by a child whose parents have divorced, or been incarcerated. While this book has a happy ending, with all reunited, many of the concepts of coping with the loss of a parent can be applied. 

We highly recommend this book for ANY family that is touched by the separation of a parent, and even for those who aren't, to understand what their friends may be going through!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book for review purposes on this blog, free of charge, from the author via Bostick Communications .No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about the book.

About the author: Jerilyn Marler's 30 year writing career has included educational materials for Alaska elementary schools, writing three books about WordPerfect, editing dozens of books for technical publishers, editing a children's book, a medical text book, and book on divorce (at the same time), and writing/editing end user documentation for multiple high tech products.This is her first children's book. Check out her website, www.lilyhatesgoodbyes.com for more info.

About the Illustrator: Nathan is an illustrator and designer living in Seattle, Washington.  Besides this book, he creates custom logos, marketing and packaging graphics, for print and web.  He also has a secret nerd-passion for science fiction and fantasy art! Check out his website to see his wonderful graphics! 


  1. Nicole, what a great review! I actually had a chance to request a copy of this book through BC (Bostick Communications), too, but, overwhelmed with way too many review copies, I ended up not doing so. Now I regret!
    Sounds like a truly wonderful read!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

    Evie from Bookish

  2. @Evie

    I understand and almost passed it up as well, but I had a feeling it might be a special book and it is!


Follow Bless Their Hearts Mom

BTHM Bloglovin button BTHM Facebook button BTHM instagram button BTHM Pinterest button BTHM Twitter button Newsletter:  bthm heart email.jpg bthm kindle logo