My Daddy’s Going Away: Helping Families Cope with Paternal Separation is a short and simple book, but a very important one for some children. Christopher MacGregor is a member of the armed forces, and he had to help his children to understand why he went away for months on end, and to come to terms with his absence. So he wrote a little poem of a dozen or so verses in a sing-songy rhythm suited to reading to children. These were illustrated with pictures of a family of space travellers.
Not a lot for a reviewer to read, but if it is successful in helping little children to cope with their father’s absence, it is well worthwhile, and it will give parents who are in this position a start in talking to their children about it. Children often like repetition in their reading, and it is the sort of poem which some families may read time and again.
The story in the poem makes no reference to the armed forces, which is good, because the problem is shared with a lot of other families – fathers who have to make business trips abroad, long-distance lorry-drivers, trawlermen, or fathers in new jobs who have to live in another part of the country during the working week, for example.
Presumably working mothers in the forces or other jobs requiring their absence are in similar difficulties – probably greater because of cultural expectations about mothers. Maybe they need their own poem, but that does not detract from this one.
There are spaces on the inside covers for photographs to personalise the book, and as a bonus, there is a Foreword by Prince Charles, who has known the problem as child and parent.
This book is designed for a fairly small readership, but for them we recommend it.
MacGregor, Christopher (2009) My Daddy’s Going Away: Helping Families Cope with Paternal Separation
Giddy Mangoes Limited