Absent Parents

When parents work away from home or live apart it can be confusing and worrying for young children.  Sharing stories about similar situations can put a child’s mind at ease and make transitions and new experiences easier to cope with and more understandable.


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My Mum Goes to Work – Kes Gray and David Milgrim

This book reassures both parent and child that all is well when a parent goes to work, an issue that faces many working parents.
Age: 3+


Ella on the Outside – Cath Howe

Ella has a secret – her father is in prison and she does not want anybody at her new school to find out.
Age 10+


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Leon and Bob – Simon James

The move to a new home leaves Leon feeling a little lonely, especially as his father works away from home.
He copes by having an imaginary friend, Bob, until a new boy moves in next door.
Age: 4+


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My Daddy’s Going Away – Christopher MacGregor and Emma Yarlett

A useful book for any child suffering the temporary absence of their father.
Age: 4+


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Molly and her Dad – Jan Ormerod and Carol Thompson

Molly hasn’t seen her dad for ages. Is she like him? A positive, light hearted story that captures Molly’s anxieties well. Lively vibrant illustrations with good use of speech bubbles.
Age: 5+


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Come Home Soon – Pat Thomas

Explores the idea of a parent working away from home in the armed forces. May help young children learn how to deal with changes at home, feeling worried, keeping in touch and looking forward to their parent’s return.
Age: 5+


My Dad’s in Prison – Jackie Walter

Story of a little boy who visits his father in prison. It is written in association with Storybook Dads.
Age 5+


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When Dad Was Away – Liz Weir and Karin Littlewood

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.
Age: 4+


Prison and Parents

Having a parent in prison can be difficult for both the child and the parent, sharing stories about other children who’s parent is in prison can help put a child’s mind at ease.


Ella on the Outside
by Cath Howe

Ella has a secret – her father is in prison and she does not want anybody at her new school to find out.
Age 10+


Captain Fantastic
by Tom Palmer

Craig is a gifted footballer, but he is struggling with his home life as dad is in prison.
Age: 7+


Tommy’s Dad
by Emma Randle-Caprez

Tommy Puddle returns from school one day to find out that his Dad isn’t at home – and nobody will tell him why his Dad isn’t around. The next day at school, though, one of his school friends tells him they’ve heard his Dad’s in prison – and later, he finally learns the truth. Soon Tommy and his sister receive a letter from their Dad, and find out that they can visit him. It’s difficult for everyone, particularly when it’s time for them to leave – but Tommy’s Dad helps reassure the children that everything will be alright.
Age: 4+


My Dad’s in Prison
by Jackie Walter

Story of a little boy who visits his father in prison. It is written in association with Storybook Dads.
Age 5+


When Dad Was Away
by Liz Weir and Karin Littlewood

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.
Age: 4+


Useful Organisations

Barnado’s:
Support and advice for children who has one or more parents in prison.

Prisoner Advice:
Advice, support and help for families.

Gov.uk:
Information and support for families.

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

About the book

Tall, blonde and handsome, Jack St. Bride was once a beloved teacher and football coach at a girls’ school, until a student’s crush sparked a powder-keg of accusation and robbed him of his career and reputation. Now after an eight-month jail sentence, Jack resolves to pick up the pieces of his life.

Review by Shipton Bellinger WI

Jodi Picoult is a great storyteller. Salem Falls provoked a lot of discussion but we all agreed that there were too many sub plots any of which would have stood by themselves as a story.

Star rating: ***

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