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Local Author Pens Children's Book About The Experience Of Military Families

FORT MEADE, Md. (WJZ)-- Relocation, deployment and injury of a loved one. That's a story many of Maryland's military kids know all too well. Now, a local author is putting those stories into a children's book to help military families in transition.

Christie Ileto reports now those kids are starring in a very special book.

It's no fairy tale but real life for Gabriel Ramirez.

"It felt like the earth was pulling out from under my bed, and I was free-falling," goes a line straight from "The Little Champs," a book that follows five fictional children in military families and details their struggles like injuries of a loved one to deployments-- something Ramirez knows all to well with his father.

"He's deployed like lots of times," he said. "Sometimes, I feel really angry, and sometimes it's really sad for me."

Ramirez is just one of many Maryland military kids who read "The Little Champs."

"If our child heroes feel like they are misunderstood, and they're in their own world, that's not OK," said the book's co-author Debbie Fink.

Fink and her daughter spoke to children at Manor View Elementary Thursday about their struggles.

"We are aiming to build that bridge of understanding between the military and civilian world," Fink said.

Something Fort Meade's Col. Edward Rothstein says children on his base deal with all the time.

"They're the one making many sacrifices that we just have to recognize," he said.

Fort Meade has seven public schools on its base and Col. Rothstein says while our soldiers are the backbone of the country, the families they leave behind are theirs.

"This is smiley," said Ramirez flipping through the book.

Having a story similar to his own told on these pages, he says makes each move across the country and each deployment to follow, a little easier.

The authors will continue on a book tour across the country stopping at other schools on military bases. The next stop is in Oklahoma.

The book is part of a new United Service Organizations (USO) pilot program where people are being asked to help the organization provide copies to military families in transition.

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