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     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 judgement, 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. 

Keywords: PTSD, hypervigilance, homelessness