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When Dad Was Away

When Dad Was Away - Karin Littlewood,  Liz Weir (Illustrator) 1/25/14 ** I wanted to like this book more than I did. It tells the story of a little girl whose father is in prison and her attempts to stay connected with his father during that time. I have had several students in the past few years who have had parents in prison, and I hoped that this book would be one that could help them feel less alone. Unfortunately, this book, written from the perspective of the United Kingdom, didn't seem to reflect the experience that my students had had.

The main character found out on the day that her father went to jail that he'd be going. (It seemed unrealistic to me that the family would have been able to keep the knowledge of the crime and trial from the child.) Other children teased the girl. She was able to visit her father, sit in his lap, take drawings to him, etc. All seemed much more gentle than the images we have of the U.S. criminal justice system.

The illustrations are lovely and the tale conveys the love that the father continued to have for his family, even while away.