Amy Rivera is proud to check a major item off her bucket list.
The Lunalilo Elementary school counselor published her first children’s book, “Milly’s PCS Worries,” on Oct. 2.
“Books are a great conversation starter. When I do my lessons, I love starting off with a book that relates to whatever topic we’re discussing,” Rivera said.
“I love children’s books, especially ones that help children be mindful and address emotions, like grief or kindness. I buy a lot of these types of books for my children as well as the children I counsel at school,” she said.
In “Milly’s PCS Worries,” two siblings in a military family are told they will be moving (PCS stands for permanent change of station). While older brother, Izzy, accepts the news, younger sister Milly runs away to her room. Izzy advises her on how to handle the adjustment and provides a comforting shoulder for her to lean on.
The story reflects Rivera’s professional and personal experience. Her husband, Zac, is active duty in the Army, and their family moved to Hawaii in 2018 after living in Texas, England, and Virginia.
Rivera says her children, Izaiah, 9, and Amelia, 6, were her biggest inspiration. “They were like my mini co-authors, because I got to pick their brains on the type of things they and other kids think about when they find out they have to move,” she said.
“As a school counselor, I enjoy helping students identify and work through some tough feelings, such as worry and anxiety. I knew I wanted this book to do the same,” Rivera said. “I targeted military kids in this book specifically because I’ve seen how much these kids go through with not only having parents that deploy, but with moving every few years.”
Rivera says “Milly’s PCS Worries” can be used as a tool to spark dialogue. “This book is a great way for kids to open up to their parents and start that conversation with them. They can express how they’re feeling, what they’re bothered by,” she explained.
The book is a true family affair with illustrations by Rivera’s second cousin, Dayanese Rodriguez, a freelance artist in Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in art therapy.
With one publication under her belt, Rivera is considering another book idea. “I have plans to write a novel about my mother’s life,” she said, “but it will probably be awhile before I finish it!”
“Milly’s PCS Worries” is available for $9.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Follow Rivera on Instagram @armywife_counselorlife.
Amy Rivera with husband, Zac, and children, Amelia and Izaiah.
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