"Why My Hero
Had to Go"

offers a different perspective for children to understand how they are uniquely united through courage, kindness, inclusion and love.




About the book

“Why My Hero Had to Go” is a timeless children’s picture book about courage amid change, inclusion and love. Through the voice of a military parent, a child is able to visualize how they are uniquely connected through nature and the parallels of similar daily routines despite being away from each other.  The goal is for children of all backgrounds to hear a different story and learn more about a family who may be similar to their own or may have a different dynamic. 

The specialized layout of this picture book has a little something for everyone. Take a journey and watch as young readers become engaged through in this story. “Why My Hero Had to Go” is quickly becoming a must-have teaching tool with a dynamic launching pad for discussion among readers of all ages. Tag along with the main character Jared, who is on a “special mission” with pet Bailey and his cuddly toy bear.

With heartfelt poetic words “Why My Hero Had to Go” offers a different perspective for children to know that they are not alone when a parent is called to service or when life presents changes. 

Vickers wanted to making sure that this story was told in a way that has never been done before and was intentional in showing diverse characters. That vision became a reality with a tag team effort of illustrator Kieth Hobgood. The creative imagination of Hobgood opens the door to a world that a child would otherwise never see though each hand-drawn page. The nontraditional layout of Hobgood’s illustrations shows just how much a child and parent have in common every single day despite being separated by distance.

This educational tool serves as a critical resource for all front line workers, military families, their neighbors, teachers and fellow students to have a first-hand look at a different perspective of families with a unique dynamic.


"Why My Hero Had to Go"

Children often learn all about princesses, police officers, dinosaurs and fire fighters but what about soldiers? What do they do? Why do they have to leave? Why My Hero Had to Go answers those questions and so much more with an adventure like none other.

Why My Hero Had to Go” is dedicated to the thousands of men and women serving in the United States Armed Services and the families who quietly serve a “special mission” of their own. The moments in between deployment can often leave children and even their classmates puzzled about the absence of a parent. Children are drawn to the vivid illustrations that show a unique connection between a child and parent through their surroundings and daily routines. 

This educational tool also opens a a springboard of conversation to help non-military families understand a family dynamic that may be different than their own.

Dive into this timeless story and watch the magic unfold, of a story untold!

“Where is my dad?” “I miss my mommy.” “When is daddy coming home?” “Why doesn’t your dad ever come to football games?” These are questions thousands of military families face every day as young children try to come to terms with a loved one stationed abroad in the Armed Services.

“You’re all dressed and ready for school.
I am too!
Hup, two…three…four!
We’re both on our way out the door!
But wait there’s more…”

“Why My Hero Had to Go”creatively paints a picture of the parallel lives shared by a parent and child who discover daily similarities despite being thousands of miles apart. African American author Talitha Vickers wanted to create a uniquely illustrated and therapeutic children’s picture book and illustrator Keith Hobgood answered the call.
Hobgood’s keen eye and beautifully hand drawn illustration merges two worlds separated by the call of duty, all while connected through a parents love. Readers travel alongside a young boy though his daily routines that coincides with what happens before, during and after deployment through the Armed Services.

What makes this picture book stand out from the rest is the fact that Vickers is intentional with the character selections to exemplify diversity and inclusion through the illustrations with a focus on storytelling through the voice of a main character often not seen in mainstream picture books.

We have all been captivated by the happy reunion of military families reuniting after deployment on the news and on social media, but what happens before and during deployment? “Why My Hero Had to Go,” answers those questions by pulling back the curtain to a world not often seen and offers a sense of understanding and hope. The author has repeatedly had a front row seat to these painful struggles because she has not only covered it as a television journalist but she has lived it through the eyes of her young nephew.

Coming from a military family, Vickers has seen the hidden tug-of-war of emotions not spoken of in public that children and families face daily. “Why My Hero Had to Go” gives a glimpse into that life, offers a unique perspective and an explanation to a young child while allowing fellow classmates, friends and their parents to see life from a different point of view.

What People Are Saying!

That first page really hits you...my eyes started filling with tears because this book is so spot on. It's the perfect "manual" for families dealing with deployment.

- Staff Sgt. Neil Stanfield 982 Combat Camera Company (Airborne)

I bought this book a couple of months ago and I could not be happier. As an aunt and former educator, this book not only captivates the readers attention with its beautiful illustrations, but the story is beyond amazing. The way the author shows parallel worlds between the Hero and child, is written in such a way that children can truly understand visually and mentally “why their hero had to go”. This book is gender neutral and perfect for all races. This book is a wonderful way to explain to a child whose parent(s) are in service how important their job is to this country. Perfect gift for any occasion! Bravo to the author I personally look forward to more of your work!

- Courtnee Mason

Talitha did such a wonderful job with her book! My son and I loved it so much and recommend this for all ages!!

Alicha Pendleton Porter

When my sister was overseas in Afghanistan, we had my nephew and it’s very confusing for a child. When I read this book to my nephew he said “This sounds just like me and my mom.

- Jessica Rumley Ramirez

Illustrator Keith Hobgood

"Why My Hero Had to Go" Hardcover


"Why My Hero Had to Go" Paperback


The Author's nephew Jared

Inspired by the true-life events of the author's nephew Jared and the difficult goodbyes she witnessed between father and son, Talitha Vickers wanted to create a tool for young children to get a glimpse of how are they are uniquely connected every day despite being thousands of miles apart.

offers a different perspective for children to understand how they are uniquely united through courage, kindness, inclusion and love.

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