Cover image for While you are away
While you are away
Spinelli, Eileen.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion Books For Children, [2004]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 26 cm
Three children describe how they feel when one of their parents is away.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.0 0.5 77602.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



While you are on that big ship, Daddy, far, far away I tell you things. I pretend the wind can carry my words clear across the ocean right to your heart. At times a loved one may be far, far away, but that special person is never far from mind and heart. Eileen Spinelli's lyrical, patriotic text and Rene Graef's uplifting illustrations depicting military families combine to create a reassuring book about separation and reunion.

Author Notes

Eileen Spinelli was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 16, 1942. After high school, she worked as a waitress at a local diner, a secretary, and answered phones at an airplane factory. She eventually became the author of children's books. Her picture books include Thanksgiving at the Tappletons, Do You have a Hat, While You are Away, When Mama Comes Home Tonight, Wanda's Monster, Here Comes the Year, A Big Boy Now, and Hug a Bug. She is also the author of several short novels including Lizzie Logan Wears Purple Sunglasses, Lizzie Logan Gets Married, and Lizzie Logan, Second Banana. She received the Christopher Award for Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

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 2004 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.