He shook his head and replied,
‘Behind this fog, I am still the same Daddy.
This illness doesn’t make me different in every way.’
Inspired by her own Dad who had Schizophrenia, ‘My Daddy is Different’ by Suzi Faed is written for children out there who also have a parent who has a mental illness.
As a child, Suzi had no idea how to deal with the situation or why her Dad was so different. She couldn’t see how the mental illness affected him – only her.
‘My Daddy is Different’ aims to shed a light on this and the fact that yes, the child does have a right to feel angry and upset but also to know that they can talk to other people about this to not only support themselves but support the person who is dealing with this illness.
The story is well written, thought provoking and emotional. You can feel how the child feels about their father and how important talking about our fears and concerns can be.
Lisa Coutts soft illustrations are a strength to this story – showing the love, the fear, the joy and the anger. They intertwine with the story, showing the emotions and how the child feels towards those around them.
Families who know someone with a mental illness must read this story. It shows the importance of talking about their fears, having a community and being understanding. It also shows that perhaps life will not be what we expect it to be – but small steps and small acts of kindness can make it all a lot better.
This is a wonderful book to share in the classroom as the more people are aware of what mental illness is, they will have less of a need to fear it, to make fun of it or to lock it away. Children need to know that anyone can have a mental illness and with a more compassionate world, we can help these people to live a better life.
I’ve written some teacher notes for this book which can be found here:
Link to website: http://www.suzifaed.com/my-daddy-is-different/