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+

Divorce and Separation

The break down of a family is nearly always a traumatic event for those involved, especially for children. There are many books that present the subject in a postive and sensitive way. Sharing these books may be comforting to children going through similar situations.

Two Nests
by Laurence Anholt and Jim Coplestone

A gentle story about family separation.  When Baby Bird is born the nest starts to feel very small and Betty and Paul squabble.  They decide Paul should live in a different nest and Baby Bird is able to spend time in both his homes.
Age: 3+

There For You
by Annette Aubrey

Mum and Dad explain to a young boy why they are separating, offering lots of reassurance to allay worries and fears.
Age: 3+

Two of Everything
by Babette Cole

Irreverent look at divorce with the underlying message that divorce is preferable to living with unhappy parents. This is not a serious examination of the issue!
Age: 7+

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I don’t want Danny here
by Elizabeth Dale

Izzy doesn’t like Danny. And Danny will be coming to live with them after his mum marries her dad. When Danny comes for a sleepover, things are very strained. Then Izzy starts to see things from Danny’s point of view, and their relationship begins to change.
Age: 6+

Mum and Dad Glue
by Kes Gray

A little boy tries to find a pot of glue that will stick his parents’ smiles back on and make their marriage better.  He learns that even though his Mum and Dad’s relationship may be broken, their love for him is not.
Age: 4+

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A New Room for William
by Sally Grindley and Carol Thompson

A reassuring story about a new home with Mum after the parents’ separation and about making a new friend.
Age: 4+

Grace & Family
by Mary Hoffman

Heart warming story about a young girl learning to live with two families, one in Britain and one in Africa, after her parents divorce. Beautifully illustrated.
Age: 5+

Every Second Friday
by Kiri Lightfoot and Ben Galbraith

A brother and sister spend alternate weekends with their father. A story about belonging in two places.
Age: 4+

Two Homes
by Claire Masurel

A positive and encouraging look at the advantages, rather than disadvantages, of two homes. Told from the child’s view point.
Age: 3+

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Living with Mum and Living with Dad: My Two Homes
by Melanie Walsh

A simple lift-the-flap book which is reassuring for very young children.
Age: 3+

Useful Organisation

Care for the family:
Support and information for families.

Family action:
Transforms lives by providing practical, emotional and financial support to those who are experiencing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation across the country.

Family Lives:
A national charity providing help and support in all aspects of family life.

Works nationally and locally for and with single parents to improve their lives