When Dad Was Away

When Dad Was Away

by Karin Littlewood, Liz Weir
     
 

When Mum tells Milly that Dad has been sent to prison, Milly feels angry and confused. She can't believe her dad won't be at home to read her stories and make her laugh.But soon Mum takes Milly and her brother Sam to visit Dad in prison, and a week later a special package arrives at home - a cd of Milly's favourite animal stories, read especially for her by Dad. At

Overview

When Mum tells Milly that Dad has been sent to prison, Milly feels angry and confused. She can't believe her dad won't be at home to read her stories and make her laugh.But soon Mum takes Milly and her brother Sam to visit Dad in prison, and a week later a special package arrives at home - a cd of Milly's favourite animal stories, read especially for her by Dad. At Christmas the family go to a party at the prison, and in the spring there's an even better surprise for Milly and Sam?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The illustrations have an attractive gravity and naturalness, and the prison scenes are impressively clear and sobering. It will be an educative and absorbing read for children lucky enough not to be sharing this experience and indispensable for those who are." — The Observer (London)
School Library Journal
12/01/2013
PreS-Gr 2—Milly is embarrassed and confused when her classmates taunt her by shouting the word "prison" at her. At home she gets her mother to tell her the truth; Daddy is not away working, he's in jail for theft. Mom does all the right things for her daughter and son, Sam, by assuring them that this was not their fault and that their father still loves them. As soon as she is able, she takes the children to visit their dad. The siblings draw pictures for him and, in return, he records a CD of himself telling stories to them. So while he is away, the parent-child connection remains solid. On Milly's birthday, her father returns home to great delight all around. The author of this book works in prisons and is well acquainted with the needs of the children of inmates. The reassurance of their parent's love and the need for stability in their lives are strong elements of this story. However, both the writing and the illustrations are workmanlike. Libraries with little on parental incarceration will find this book useful. Look to Jacqueline Woodson's Visiting Day (Scholastic, 2002) for a more inspiring choice on the same topic.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
"Away" in this case means "in prison." In an unlikely opening, young Milly first learns from taunting schoolmates that her father's been jailed. Devastated, she receives information ("He stole something that didn't belong to him") from her mum as well as support from her teacher. She visits her dad so that he can read stories to her (he later sends more on a CD), sees him again at Christmas and, eventually, joyfully welcomes him home after his release. The brief episode's sober tone is reflected in Littlewood's loose, equally subdued scenes of redheaded figures--eyes generally cast down or to the side--exchanging hugs and sad smiles. Though written by an Irish librarian and storyteller and originally published in Great Britain, this import is generic enough to offer recognizable experiences, as well as a measure of comfort, to children with incarcerated parents on this side of the pond. Appended Web-based resources include both U.K. and U.S. organizations. Bland but therapeutic and, sadly, all too useful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781845079130
Publisher:
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Publication date:
02/26/2013
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
813,952
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Karin Littlewood's acclaimed picture books include The Color of Home, Home for Christmas, Home Now, Catherine's Story, and When Dad Was Away. Also the author of Immi and Sea Horse, she lives in London.

Liz Weir is a professional storyteller and writer from Northern Ireland. Formerly children's librarian for the city of Belfast, she now works extensively in schools and prisons, and travels the world telling stories to adults and children. She lives in Belfast, U.K.

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