top of page

Book Review: The Peppered Sky

You might notice something about author Sarah Doran's book and my own. Any guesses?

We both had the incredible Beth Snider as our illustrator, which is how we first met. Beth connected me with Sarah while she was on her self-publishing journey and we immediately hit it off! I remember reading this story before it was illustrated and already falling in love with it! Plus, as a military family, I really appreciated her focus on representing and educating about the armed forces. Similar to food allergies, I feel the military family is underrepresented in children's literature. But Sarah's got that covered now!

About the Author

I grew up the daughter of an Army Chaplain, joined the Army when I was 21 as a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic and married my soldier husband in 2010. We live in Central Texas with our two boys and cat, Autumn. Now I spend my days homeschooling our children, writing military children’s books, and getting involved in our local community and church.

What Was Your Inspiration to Become an Author?

The military basically runs in my veins and I’ve always loved to write. When I realized I could put the two together, it resulted in beautiful military children’s stories. Being an author is something that always felt too far out of reach for me, so I truly feel like I’m living a dream.

Why This Book?

As a military child, I didn’t see myself in children’s stories. I wanted to change that and so I wrote what I know. Authenticity in writing is valuable because you have a chance to speak truth from experience and I really think that readers respect and appreciate that in literature.

What Have You Enjoyed Most About Writing and/or Publishing?

I love seeing my stories bring warmth and smiles to people. Stories have the power to make a positive difference in the world and that’s so exciting to me. I can’t wait to write more.

What is Something That Has Surprised You During Your Book Publishing Journey?

When I first began writing, I really had no idea how involved the self-publishing process was. Not only are you the writer, but also the project manager, the publisher, the coordinator, the author’s assistant, the distributor, the logistics and supply/demand manager, and the marketer. There is just SO much involved. I’m one of those people who likes a good challenge though, so it was a good fit and I’ve loved having control over the process to ensure authenticity and quality.

What Advice Would You Give to Aspiring Authors?

You can do it. Write what you know. Be organized and work hard and you can accomplish your publishing dreams.

Book Description: Celebrate military family life with Haleigh and Mason as they adventure into a world of Airborne drop zones, military aircraft, and U.S. paratroopers! After the school day is done, the adventuring begins as this military family makes their way to witness a mesmerizing training exercise in the sky. Written in rhyme and told from a military child's perspective, The Peppered Sky is sure to delight readers, both military and civilian alike!

(Katie) Cover Review: The cover is beautiful, vibrant, and certainly adds curiosity between title and image.

(Kid) Cover Review:

(9-yr-old): It's really pretty. I like all the paratroopers and the sunset.

(Katie) Story Review: The sense of wonder and excitement in the siblings is truly contagious as they take you along their journey to watch their dad during a training exercise. The excitement builds and builds through beautifully written rhyme and complementary bright and fun illustrations. The story not only captivates the reader, but also subtly teaches about the types of exercises and roles of our armed forces members. I also appreciate how the language used such as "gray giants" to capture the imagination and wonderment of the children.

(Kids) Story Review:

(9-yr-old): It's hard to pick my favorite, because I loved it so much. My top three pages were:

  1. When they get to the top of the hill to find their viewing spot and play in the sand.

  2. When the paratroopers come to the ground and they are wondering which one is their dad.

  3. When they burst through the door after school to grab cookies and then head out on their way.

I didn't know what a paratrooper was before and now I do.

I really love the illustrations and it reminds me of our book. I like all the details, like the dog and all the papers falling out of his backpack. I would definitely recommend this to my friends to learn more about what paratroopers are and what they do.

(Katie) Overall: This is a wonderful book to add to your collection to read again and again for both the story and beautiful illustrations. While it introduces readers to the military lifestyle and roles, it's truly a book for everyone. We also really enjoyed the additional activities and learning in the back of the book, such as how to make your own paratrooper.


Interested in adding The Peppered Sky to your library? Book details and where you can find it are listed below!

Title: The Peppered Sky

Author: Sarah Doran

Publisher: Self-Published

Details: Hardcover

Currently available at: Amazon, Etsy or Spouse-ly


bottom of page