Many of us look away when we are confronted with the homeless as they drift in and out of our daily lives; on the streets of our cities, in the subways and mass transit stations where we commute and in the parks where we play and relax.  Many of us assume they are useless or worse.  If we have children, we often convey our attitudes to them, sometimes passively and sometimes not so passively.  But what would happen if we knew that the very men and women we often ignore on the streets are the very men & women who risked their lives to protect us during times of war?

In the rhyming picture book, Zack had our Back, a young girl encounters a homeless veteran who is a frightening apparition on the streets of her home.  She learns an important lesson about judgment, however, when the encounter takes an unexpected turn.  Zack had our Back is a tool for parents interested in preventing the toxicity of misperception before it can shape the soul, the mind, and the conscience of their children.

Zack had our Back Valerie King

Zack had our Back, by Valerie King, is the story of a frightening, homeless veteran whose appearance on the street unsettles a young girl who takes notice of him.  It encourages children to see beyond exterior appearances in a twenty-eight-page fiction format for ages 3-8.  The story unfolds in short rhyming verse accompanied by colorful illustrations to accommodate young attention spans while revealing the veteran’s service to the country, the reason behind his life on the streets, and a surprise about his character. This delightful story occupies an unusual niche in children’s literature for its delicate handling of the difficult subject matter and its resonance with both young and old. Zack had our Back is published and distributed worldwide through Archway Publishing, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

It is currently available through the publisher, Archway Publishing, at www. and online booksellers, including and Barnes & Noble.

Zack had our Back is available in e-book format,

ISBN: 978-1-4808-6747-5(e), $3.99; softcover,

ISBN: 978-1-4808-6746-8, $16.95; and hardcover

ISBN: 978-1-4808-6767-3, $22.95.


About the Author

Valerie King is a wife, mother, volunteer, writer, and editor. She is the owner of, has published in RESTON magazine and is a member of the Society of Children’s  Book Writers  & Editors, Writers UA, and the Editorial Freelancers Association as a guest. She is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, DC and the University of Cincinnati.

Her volunteer work has included time to the rehabilitation of wounded and homeless veterans, environmental stewardship, refugee assistance, volunteer ESOL, and many other causes.

She is a passionate music lover and also enjoys traveling, cooking,  gardening, reading, and sports.  She resides near the nation’s capital and has been spotted attending lectures and other amenities of the locale.

?Her two children, Courtney & Kyle, are the love and light of her life.


Valerie King
2085 Cobblestone Lane
Reston, VA 20191

Zack had our Back,

By Valerie King

Genre: Children’s Book

Paperback: 28 pages

Publisher: Archway

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1480867462

ISBN-13: 978-1480867468

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