Grief is the turbulent emotion addressed in this picture book written by Jill Pike and beautifully illustrated by Cady Driver.
Pike was inspired to write I Miss My Daddy by her own story of losing a father at a very young age. Here she reveals how feelings of loss can leak into a child’s day-to-day behavior as the speaker in the story discusses his day-to-day experiences coping with the sorrow of losing his father. (While it’s clear as the story unwinds that the father has died, this reason for his absence is only referred to obliquely.)
The boy notes that he misses the things he did with his father: building sand castles together at the beach, “snuggling in my daddy’s lap while he sat in his big chair watching TV” and more. He also talks about being envious of other children who still have their fathers and acting out in response. A few days after watching a new neighbor playing catch with his father in the front lawn, for example, he notes that he shoved the boy and knocked him down when the boy stepped on his foot, “even though deep down I knew he didn’t mean to.”
While the grief is ever-present, the boy learns various ways to process his feelings, such as making a memory book, and by story’s end, he seems to have come to terms with his situation.
This important material is written in simple terms that children will understand and lovingly and skillfully illustrated by Driver, a watercolorist from North Carolina. Grieving young readers will easily relate to the boy’s feelings, which feel completely authentic and understandable.
I Miss My Daddy lends graceful support to families and children experiencing the trauma of loss. Grieving children unable to name the waves of anger, resentment and pain overwhelming them will find solace and support here, as will their parents.
Also available as an ebook.