Author and Army wife Acacia Slaton Beumer sent me her children’s book I Miss Daddy to review. Although I state in the above post title that this book is for military kids, I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Military families may be the main audience, but I think this book could be a great teaching tool for civilian kids, to show them what other boys and girls -perhaps their classmates- are going through.
Beumer’s first book, Launch Out Into the Deep, was published in 2011 and was given a gold seal of approval by Mom’s Choice Awards for children 12 to 18 years of age. Her latest book, I Miss Daddy, focuses on the relationship of a little girl and her parents, while her Soldier father is deployed to Afghanistan.
In the beginning of the book, the main character, Jana, is acting out because she misses her father. It seems as if her mother has to constantly reprimand her. Jana tells the reader what she misses about her dad and shares some happy experiences she’s had with him.
Then one day a letter arrives for Jana. After reading the letter together, Jana and her mother, along with Jana’s little sister, are able to have a discussion about Jana’s daddy. Jana learns that she’s not alone. Her mom misses Jana’s father too, and it hurts both parents when they see Jana hurting. Then Jana, Jaci, and their mother pray that God will grant their daddy peace, love, and safety.
I Miss Daddy hits close to home for me right now. My husband isn’t deployed, but he is away from us for several months for training. Baby J is only 20 months old, so he doesn’t really understand yet what’s going on, but I know he misses his daddy. I see it every time he reaches out for a playmate’s father or snuggles against a male nursery worker at church. I call it his “daddy complex” in jest, but it’s really quite heartbreaking. Reading this book makes me realize challenges Baby J and I will most likely face together in the future. What’s important for me to remember is that although my son may lash out or misbehave, there’s an underlying cause. But he can’t express his emotions to me the way an adult can. A book like this is a great starting point to talk through our feelings and get to the root of the problem. He needs to know that he’s not alone.
I think military spouses can be outstanding at keeping a straight face, holding emotions in, and driving on. For the most part, we have to be. At least, I know I do. If I dwell on sadness or loneliness, it will just tear me apart. But maybe our kids need to see through that mask just a little bit. They need to know that like them, we’re not just “okay” with our lives moving on without our spouses. It’s something we just have to weather together as a family. And one day it will be over, and our loved ones will be home.
The print length is 36 pages, but the actual story is 25 pages, including the discussion questions. I think that’s long enough to get the point across but short enough to hold a young child’s attention. The illustrations are bright and realistic. I’m not sure if there’s a term for it, but the illustrations look like photographs that have been turned into drawings.