A way of helping children understand that daddy will be coming back.
Gerry Waters is an Army person to the core. Brought up in an Army background with her parents, predominately in Germany, she married a soldier, as did her daughter Tana. Having always lived within the military community she accepted the comings and goings of first her father and then her husband. But when her granddaughter Shay started to ask questions about where her daddy was, Gerry started to ask herself if she was able to do anything to reduce the difficulty of separation that is inevitable within a military family; specifically for pre school children.
The initial idea was for a one off picture book for her granddaughter Shay to explain that although daddy was away he was doing many of the similar things that she was doing herself. “I just wanted to make it easier for Shay to understand where her dad was”, explains Gerry, “I hoped it would make her feel better and make the time apart a little better to understand. Young children often have no concept of time, but if you explain to them that daddy is now having letter time, or it’s Christmas for daddy too then it makes each day more manageable.”
Gerry’s then took the idea one step further with the intention of printing two hundred copies to enable her to donate one copy of the book to every pre-school and nursery within the British Army. But working within the print media field Gerry could see of the potential of the book for a wider audience than first anticipated and approached the Afghan Appeal Fund with an offer to donate the proceeds of any sales to the fund if the book was to be put into a larger circulation. “It was an immediate yes,” says Gerry, “That the Afghan Appeal Fund would benefit and be able to continue the projects that they started whilst ISAF IX was in Afghanistan in 2006 is just fantastic.”
The book is an easy to read and well-illustrated comparison of life for a young child whose father is deployed on operations with the British Army. The text is simple to understand and the pictures colourful and taken by the author herself. The photographs feature her Son in Law,el and granddaughter Shay and tell the story with love and compassion. The pictures are well composed and are recognisable to readers young and old alike making the book a joy for all to read.
Gerry says, “The book My Daddy Is A Soldier isn’t just aimed at the immediate Army community, but at the wider British public, as it will help raise awareness of Forces families and the pain of separation. It’s also an educational tool for parents; a way of helping children understand that daddy will be coming back.”