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While You Are Away Paperback – January 29, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-In first-person narrations, three children anticipate happy reunions with their parents, who are on active military duty abroad. Heavily sentimental language appears throughout, as when one little boy wonders, "Who is bringing chicken soup to my daddy when he has a cold?" and "Is he cozy and warm?" These musings go unanswered in the text, but are accompanied by glowing images of smiling parents in generally comfortable, hospitable surroundings. All three vignettes are upbeat and reassuring, and the book concludes with the safe return of all three loved ones, each from a different branch of the armed forces. Graef's gentle illustrations use texture and warm colors to create a cozy atmosphere. Tailor-made to meet the needs of a specific population, this picture book is guaranteed to find a readership.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Reviewed with Eileen Spinelli's When Dad's at Sea .

Two new picture books portray children whose parents are away in the military. Both pay close attention to how the children feel and how they cope with a long separation, and both speak from the children's perspective and in language a child might use.

Mindy Pelton's While You Are Away reads like a prose poem in three parts. Three children of different ethnicities narrate their own sections: a little boy whose father is in the Navy, a girl whose mother pilots a "fast plane," and another boy whose Papa drives a "speedy jeep." The children address their parents with their concerns, their questions, and their hopes. Their thoughts are simply expressed and often concrete: one child wonders what his father eats for breakfast, another wraps herself in her mother's sweater. Warm, glowing colors light up the large-scale, softly defined drawings of children in action and reflection. The final, wordless spread shows all three families happily reunited. In Eileen Spinelli's When Dad's at Sea, Emily's father, a Navy pilot, is leaving for a six-month deployment on an aircraft carrier. Each day he is gone, she removes one link from the paper chain he made for her, so that she can mark the days until his return. She misses him, but finds comfort in his e-mails and calls, and she even makes a new friend. The time frame of the story and the use of sensory details create a strong sense of Emily's loss, her slow adjustment, and her joy at her father's return. Steele's impressionistic, delicately colored watercolor paintings sensitively depict Emily and her surroundings.Since so many communities include families with parents in the military, these reassuring, empathetic picture books will be welcome additions to library collections. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; 1 edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423113519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423113515
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 10 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,331,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on April 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Our world is facing uncertain times to say the least. In many cases, those who are paying a great price during these times are the young children of the soldiers stationed overseas. Eileen Spinelli, wife of author Jerry Spinelli addresses these young people and the issues they face in her book WHILE YOU ARE AWAY. The book tells of a variety of young children who will do various things to remember their parents serving in the military until Mom or Dad returns home again. The soldiers are both fathers and mothers and the children are various races and nationalities which gives the book a broad appeal. Renee Graef's beautiful illustrations add to the charm of this timely book.
This book is a must for the children of our service men and women as they cope with an overwhelming situation in their young lives, but will also help other young people understand the challenges facing many of their neighbors, classmates, and friends. We should be thankful such a book has been written, but let us also hope that the situation our world finds itself in may be resolved quickly so that this book can be outdated very soon.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is amazing. The illustrations are so beautiful, and the emotions very real. The author captures the feelings without being overly wordy or sappy. Very well written.

Since this book was so special to my children (and me) during my husband's last deployment, I've shared it with other friends' families during their deployments, and also with my children's teachers to read in their classrooms. They've all given it rave reviews. The teachers especially wanted their own copies to be able to read to the military children in their classes each year, since deployments are routine in our neighborhood.
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Format: Hardcover
I just read this book to my daughter, and we loved it. It gives the perspective of three children whose parents are a sailor, an airwoman, and a soldier. It was touching, with the children missing their parents who are far, far away. It's not the best of Spinelli's work, but my daughter was able to see that other military children miss their parents while they are separated, as well. I definitely recommend it to all military families with young children. Perfect for toddlers to early school-age!
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Format: Paperback
I was given this book as part of a volunteer program to read to small children. It was immediately obvious that the book was not for them. It was made for us, the adults to help us feel better. The art style is very adult oriented and seems to immediately bore children. It's a bit long and droning and kids tune out quickly. Again, this isn't for them it's for you. Buy this if you want to feel like you're educating your child about the realities of a war-centric lifestyle but know that it will use broad strokes and boring imagery. You'd be much better off actually talking your child through your specific situation. I read this to a little over 100 kids and could count on one hand the ones that seemed to care about this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my step-daughter while I am stationed away from home for a year. My wife has told me that she loves this book. They have read it about 10 times within a 2 month period just before she goes to bed. Very satisfied!
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Format: Hardcover
I first came across this book while working at a youth activities center on a military base in Corpus Christi, Texas. I fell in love with it instantly and have loved it ever since. We had about 30 or 40 of these books around in our center free for the children to read whenever they felt like it. It is a wonderful book for children who have family members away on deployment. This is an amzing book and I highly recommend it!
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Format: Hardcover
The book helped my children (4 and 5) to understand what being far, far away meant and were excited to see they were not alone in missing their dad.

We also talked about how some kids mom leave too. So we were able to talk about what I do- since I stay at home and that my kids can know there is always going to be one parent (me) with them. I also think this book would help a dual military couple.

I have to admit, I personally, had a hard time getting through the book (I held back tears allot).

I think as parents when we get this book we need to read and explain it so our kids understand (at their level) the authors sentiments and if able take the children to visit different bases and different branches.

This will allow the children to see the world is much bigger than their own little world and helps them see they are not alone in this adventure.

My kids think daddy is a super-hero and fights the bad guys! I loved this book and highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my children and it really helped my kids deal with my separation. It let them know that they were not alone and that other kids were going through the same thing. I also think it helped for them to see that deployments are temporary and that I would be coming back home.
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