Operation Green Heart

Anne Kerr and Dr Katelyn Kerr

"FINALLY, a book that simply explains PTSD and what is going on in their home and family unit to children. A fantastic resource that will benefit military families all over the world."

  — Donna Reggett, President Operation PTSD Support.

This is a book written for children to assist military and ex-military personnel and their families deal with difficult feelings that may have arisen as a result of their service including a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. It tells the story from Max’s viewpoint of the trouble Max’s dad is having dealing with his angry and sad feelings. Together as a family they come up with a way to once again show their love for each other.

It uses the language of colour to explain and explore feelings and emotions. This helps the young reader to name in a simple yet effective way not only how they are behaving but also how others are behaving towards them. It helps them to identify, name and understand feelings. Being able to communicate in this manner to those important adults (parents) in their life means that they can be supported and empowered. Conversely, parents can also use the language of colours to describe their feelings to their children. This opens a two way door of support. 

It is an excellent resource for therapists and counsellors working with families.

About the Author

Anne Kerr is an early childhood teacher with 25 years experience relating to young children. She knows the value and importance of stories to assist children to make sense of life events.

Dr. Katelyn Kerr is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience in treating postttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and other service related difficulties in currently serving and ex-military personnel. Dr. Kerr understands the important role families have in supporting their loved ones in their recovery.


"FINALLY, a book that simply explains PTSD and what is going on in their home and family unit to children. It is easy to read and I loved the colours used in the picture and the story. I deal with families struggling to explain things to children everyday. Operation Green Heart is a wonderful story, simply explaining a very difficult set of circumstances. It is a fantastic resource that will benefit military families all over the world.”

  — Donna Reggett, President Operation PTSD Support.

"While Operation Green Heart looks like a children's book it would rightly be regarded as a family book.  In fact its best use would come when the whole family reads this book together.  The author and artist have done a fine job in giving people what they need most to recover from psychological trauma: a means to understand what has divided them and a way to come together again.  We talk of the 'unspeakable horror of war', but being left in that state creates an isolation which harms family relationships. This clever and engaging book has found a way to give parents and children the words and images to open up a communication from which will emerge understandings and support. In doing so the individual burden will be lightened and a sense of togetherness  restored. The book's content and approach is consistent with evidence-based practices used in the psychological therapies for trauma. I highly recommend the book to military families.  It will also give ideas to people who have been traumatised in other ways.”

— Adj Prof Roger Dooley, Clinical Psychologist

This book is a useful tool in explaining and educating family members about the symptoms of PTSD and other service related psychological issues, to enhance understanding. Research shows that family support and understanding is a strong factor in recovery from PTSD. This book assists children and also parents to start talking about difficult issues, in a safe and productive way.

— Military Related Trauma Recovery Program, Toowong Private Hospital


Talking about the effects of PTSD in the family is something all parents express concern about but the words to get started can be hard to find. It is great to have something which can help everyone talk about how they are feeling in a way that even the youngest can understand.

— Gordon Smith, Social Worker, Military Related Trauma Recovery Program, Toowong Private Hospital

Utilising their knowledge and clinical experience in the area, and through well considered use of metaphor and imagery, the authors have created a great resource for the children and families of defence personnel, and by extension the defence members themselves. Further, Operation Green Heart has the potential to be a valuable therapeutic aid for clinicians in managing the inevitable domestic consequences associated with the myriad of mental health disorders arising out of military trauma.

— Dr Andrew Khoo, Consultant Psychiatrist, Director of Trauma Recovery Programs, Toowong Private Hospital.