July 17, 2012 by  

Book Will Redefine Family Dinners
New York City, July 16, 2012 – Hyperion today announced plans to publish an inspiring book by the U.S. Navy’s only military spouse blogger, Sarah Smiley.  Described by the New York Times as “Erma Bombeck for the military wife set,” Sarah will write a true, heart-warming tale about the family dinner table, and how she filled her deployed husband’s seat with guests once a week for thirteen months. Sarah gives readers a powerful message about how we fill the gaps in our lives when loved ones are far away.  The book, entitled DINNER WITH THE SMILEYS, was acquired in a preempt and is scheduled for publication in Summer 2013.
While Navy pilot Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Smiley is deployed to Djibouti for 1 year, Sarah, his wife, and her 3 children-Ford, 11, Owen, 9, and Lindell, 5-host one special guest each week to fill his seat at the dinner table at their home in Bangor, Maine. The idea for the dinners began when Ford told his mom that family dinners wouldn’t be the same without his dad. The weekly dinners were intended to be a way to pass the lonely nights of a year-long family separation, but to the Smileys’ surprise, the guests ended up contributing to all of their lives in a much deeper way.
Maine’s own Senator Susan Collins kicked off the dinners on January 3rd.  The surprise guest for the 53rd dinner will be Dustin Smiley. Some other guests have included school teachers, a Congressman, an Olympic gold medalist, players from the Boston Red Sox, famous authors, and R2-D2.   In just one year’s time, while the Smiley boys will have missed their father at birthday parties, baseball games, and school plays, they also will have gained a community, a unique education, and 52 mentors.
Sarah’s eponymous weekly columns, which often mention Dinner with the Smileys, reach more than 2 million people across the country.  Her updates, photos, and videos are regularly shared by 4 million people through the U.S. Navy’s official blog.
The announcement of the new book was made by Executive Editor of Hyperion, Kerri Kolen.  Of the pre-empt, Kolen said, “The concept of dinner with the Smileys is fun and unique but the takeaway has been so unexpected in that the Smiley boys have learned such profound lessons from their guests.  This book shows us that a community of family, friends, and neighbors is still very much part of the American lifestyle.”
Kolen acquired North American and audio rights from Cheryl Pientka of Jill Grinberg Literary Management.
Hyperion, founded in 1991, publishes general-interest fiction and nonfiction hardcover, trade, and mass-market paperback books for adults, and includes the Voice and Hyperion eBook and Audio imprints. Hyperion is the adult trade book publishing unit of the Disney/ABC-Television Group, which is part of The Walt Disney Company. For further information, please visit and follow at

General Disclaimer:

J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.

For Product Reviews:

For product reviews, J!-ENT has purchased the above product for review purposes or may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews, may it be positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.

For Advertising:

Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.

J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”