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"A Year Without Dad"

By Jodi Brunson

Illustrated by Cramer


"A Year Without Dad” is a comfort to any child with a parent in the military: being separated from a parent is scary and sometimes kids are sad, but time will eventually pass, and he or she will come home.



     Ryan’s Dad has been called up to serve his country, and he will be away for a year. Ryan, through whose eyes this story is told, is used to spending a lot of time with his Dad, and he will miss him a lot. So will his Mom and his little sister, Anna, but they all know they have to be strong for the time he is away. The year passes and the seasons change, with wonderful, vivid description by the author. Ryan, Anna and their Mom keep busy; they write to Dad a lot and send him pictures of things they do. Finally the New Year comes, and with it Ryan’s Dad! There is a grand parade in the town to welcome him and the other servicemen and servicewomen home.

     In “A Year Without Dad”, which she has dedicated to the families of the members of the Armed Forces, Mrs. Brunson  has written a touching and engaging true story from the narrative perspective of her young son, Ryan, who, in her words, did a lot of growing up in the year his father was called up for military service. The value of keeping busy is stressed, as well as the importance of staying in touch and communicating with the person who is away. The story teaches kids how to adapt, and also that the time of separation is not necessarily a bad thing: the missing parent is away because he or she is doing something important and worthwhile, i.e. serving the country. The child gets the chance to grow and learn and take on more responsibility, with the ability to emulate the parent, but also to practice and build on the things he has been taught.

      All families of the members of the Armed Forces should read “A Year Without Dad” to their children. The author has given a warm, genuine and firsthand account of the difficulty of balancing life when a partner is away. She touches on how to ensure that life goes on with relative normality when children are anxious, confused and upset, and also how to keep the absent parent involved in his or her child’s life.

"A Year Without Dad"



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