Was this just a coincidence?

Three amazing military spouses. Three different states. Three different military branches. One goal: Purchase new books for the families of ill or injured service members this holiday season.



Military spouses Mandie Sallings, Taylor Kelly & Alicia Smith all woke up one morning with the same question: How can I help military kids? What’s so strange about that, you ask? Well for starters, these three women had never met, live in different states, represent three different branches of the military… but all were Independent Consultants for Usborne Books & More and all had the same idea to reach out to Blue Star Families for support.

Sometimes, the (blue) stars just align!

The result of these new partnerships became three book drives, dedicated to providing new books for the families of ill or injured service members this holiday season! That’s right… three book drives! Blue Star Families is thrilled to introduce you to these inspiring military spouses and tell you their stories through this uplifting blog series. Each of these military moms has her own story of why books are important to her family, why she chose to partner with Blue Star Families and information regarding her book drive!

Book Drive 1 of 3: Mandie Stallings

Mandie’s book drive takes place from September 1 – November 1.


I’m an Army spouse of 11 years and counting, Mom to two girls and Usborne Books & More Independent Consultant. I am thrilled to be working with Blue Star Families this holiday season bringing together two of my biggest passions; military families and literacy!

Each fall our family sits down together and discusses how we can serve and bless others in the upcoming holiday season. This year we wanted our focus to be on our military and their families. You see, our 8 year old, McKenzie, has struggled with her little sister’s medical diagnosis and most recent PCS. Our youngest, Piper, has a genetic mutation and severe immune deficiency which led to a week in the hospital due to a common childhood illness two years ago. Our community rallied around us and sent books to help pass the time. It brought reprieve and happiness to her and to us. Piper’s diagnosis has been life altering for us in many ways, from wearing masks to go grocery shopping to limiting social activities outside the home during cold and flu season. McKenzie, who has the most giving and caring heart, realized in her own struggles and that of our family, there was a need to help others. One that even she as a child could help to remediate and thus bring smiles to the faces of those around her just like others had done for us. Reading has brought both of our girls much needed hope, joy, and adventure along the way and we hope to give that to other military children.

We are so thankful for the work and dedication BSF provides our service members and their families and we are excited to work alongside them. From our family to yours, thank you for your service to our country and have a blessed holiday season.

Donate to Mandie’s book drive


If you enjoyed this article, you may also like:

Book Drives for the Families of Injured Servicemembers: Part 2

Book Drive for the Families of Injured Servicemembers: Part 3