If you’re solo mumming without dad in the picture, it is likely you will have been asked the question:
“Where is my Dad?”
Even if you have your answer all prepared, kid’s can still struggle with the fact that dad’s not on the scene. They might see their friends dad’s or watch TV show or commercials where dad’s a normal part of family life. It could make them feel different, possibly lacking.
To help normalise being a child of a single parent family, I’ve hunted down some great children’s books to make them feel less alone, whilst coming to terms and finding peace with their own family circumstances.
For further support on this topic see: Where is Dad? Explaining an absent father.
Books to help kids deal with an absent dad
By Debi Gliori
This book is a lovely illustration of the unconditional love a parent has for his or her child. It is meant to reassure children that their parent will continue to love them in spite of their mistakes and, well, endless questions! It is understandable for your kids to have many insecurities, especially after the divorce. If you have a child who needs constant reassurance that you love him or her no matter what, this is a great story to read together at bedtime or to give as a meaningful gift.
Recommended for: Parents with kids who need constant reassurance
By George Anne Clay
I have a few friends who have conceived from an anonymous donor, their experiences have been wonderful but it can be difficult to explain the situation especially to young kids. This charming book can help. The story is about a lion cub who is curious about his absent daddy. His lion mum shows how he came to be through a donor lion, and how special their little family is because of this.
Recommended for: Parents who want to explain how donor conception works to young children.
By Angela Adley
Growing up without a father can be tough, especially for girls who need his love, guidance, and protection. As a single mum, this is one of the books I needed for my two daughters who were missing an absent dad's love. Not only does this book reassure a little girl that she can still grow into a strong and confident woman despite not having a dad at home. More importantly, she is not really fatherless because her true father, God, is looking out for her.
Recommended for: Faithful single mums who wish to raise strong and confident daughters
By Sophie Beer
Love Makes a Family is a must-read for any atypical family. Love is baking a cake, love is finding puddles and love is in the everyday. The fun and colourful illustrations perfectly reinforce the simple but powerful message: No matter the situation (an absent dad, one parent/grandparent or two mums), each family is special and unique. Because when it’s all said and done, it is love that makes a family … I never let my kids forget that.
Recommended for: Parents who want to teach their kids that all types of families are special.
By Ambry L. Ivy
As a divorced mum of two girls, I have a first-hand experience on the challenges of raising young daughters without their father at home. I witnessed their insecurities over our family setup and envy toward other children who have "complete" families. This is one of those books that offer positive answers to their awkward questions about an absent dad. Plus, helps your little girls regain their identity even if their dad is missing in their life.
Recommended for: Single mums with a daughter who struggles with her identity without a dad
By Alex Barber
Having lost my own mother at age seven, I understand that the sudden passing of a parent is a life-changing event that can be challenging to understand for children at any age. This book manages to provide honest answers to tough questions while assuring readers that it’s okay to feel intense emotions like sadness and eventually, happiness as well. The beautiful illustrations show the importance of a support system to kids dealing with the loss of a parent. We need more books like this.
Recommended for: Families dealing with parental death and loss.
Books to help kid’s deal with dad not being around (cont.)
By Jillian Roberts
Separation and divorce are explored in this handy and empowering book by child psychologist Dr. Roberts. It’s the perfect first book to explain the concept of changing families to kids ages 3-5 years. Kids will learn the invaluable lesson that it is never their fault when parents decide to go their separate ways and that each parent’s love for them will never change.
Recommended for: Younger kids with parents going through a divorce or separation.
By Sara O’Leary
Here’s another brilliant book that celebrates family diversity and inclusivity. The story is filled with short vignettes about different kinds of families, one with two mums, another with a foster mom, etc., all of them similar in one way that matters most: the families are made with love and caring. Kids will adore the fun watercolour illustrations and the simple, straightforward storytelling. My girls and I adored this book when they were young and I was pleased to be able to pass it onto another single mum.
Recommended for: Parents who want to show their kids that every family is unique.
By Zoe Jones
If you are a single mum who left an abusive relationship, this book can help your child understand why his or her dad is no longer in the picture. Based on the author’s personal experience and consultations with mental health practitioners, the story is simple, heartfelt and carries the message that it is not your child’s fault that dad is absent, and that they are safe and loved no matter what.
Recommend for: Single mums who left an emotionally abusive relationship.
By Anita Ganeri
Last but definitely not least is one of my favourite books in this list, although not singularly about an absent dad. The non-fiction book discusses the different kinds of families: big and small, with a mum and dad, with two mums or two dads, or with a solo parent. I love that it emphasises that regardless of the setup, what makes it a family is love. It's an incredible addition to your family's bookshelf that will still be useful once your children have their own families or your family setup changes.
Recommended for: All kinds of families!
I hope this list of books to help kids with an absent dad has helped
Some of the most heartbreaking questions I've been asked by my little daughters post-divorce involved their dad.
Where's my dad?
Is he coming home soon?
Why is Daddy gone?
I'm pretty sure every mum who has undergone separation has to answer these too. Unless you're a teacher or a children's book writer, it can be super stressful to think of age-appropriate answers to our young kids' important questions.
But I've got your back. If you're a new single mum, this list of children's books that explain an absent dad can be incredibly helpful. I have chosen books for different situations, so I hope you find something that fits your family's circumstances.
May these books help your children navigate not having a dad in their life. It's my wish that these can reassure them that they are loved and they will still grow up well despite his absence.