J. D. Manders

J.D. Manders is a historian, children’s author, and motivational speaker. He wrote the fiction stories The Fairy Child and The Mermaid’s Quest for his children to help them cope with his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2012, he has spoken widely about his experiences and how to address family separations.  He has recently published his two newest books, The Unicorn Eternal and The Christmas Letters. He has been a member of the U.S. Army National Guard since 1988. He is happily married with two wonderful daughters.

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After an absence of many long years, the mysterious Woodsman Ian returned to the Kingdom of Saydeus to announce that the unicorn was coming to bring goodness and hope. The unicorn appeared shortly afterward to the amazement of all. Although some did not believe, many of the villagers sought him. To those who believed, the unicorn brought healing and joy, but he did not appear to those seeking him for selfish reasons. Yet when the unicorn began to regularly visit the king’s daughter, Bridget, in a meadow, the king grew jealous and sought to capture or kill the unicorn. Using all of the skills of his famed huntsman, Marduk, the king set a trap to finally destroy the unicorn once and for all and keep Bridget for himself. Set in the England of the Dark Ages, the Unicorn Eternal is an allegory of eternal hope and love.

Is there a Santa Claus? Why do we decorate a Christmas tree? What is the meaning of Christmas? Parents everywhere face similar questions at some point, especially from children who are beginning to doubt. As hard as these questions are to answer, it is even more difficult for those separated from their children or serving in the military. In 2004 and 2005, while coming off a deployment, children’s author J.D. Manders wrote these sixteen letters to his own children to answer their questions about Christmas. His straightforward explanations provide meaningful responses to such controversies as political correctness, the pagan origins of the holiday, the existence of St. Nicholas, family conflict, and giving. In doing so, he provides children from many Christian traditions and backgrounds a basis for greater faith and hope during the most beautiful of Christian holidays – Christmas.