Where Does Daddy Go All Day? explains a parent’s role on the jobsite

A family reads the book Where Does Daddy Go All Day?
Alanna, Cam, Benny and Brian Allan, and their recently-rescued dog Duke.

A new book by Uxbridge, Ontario author Alanna Allan is helping children of construction workers understand why their parent leaves home for work and the importance of the job. 

Using easy-to-read rhymes and colourful illustrations, Where Does Daddy Go All Day? highlights the differences between the typical day of a child and their parent’s role on a jobsite. 

“It really parallels what’s happening at each stage of the day, like when the little boy is eating breakfast, compared to what his dad might be doing at that time on the jobsite,” Allan said.  

During the pandemic, Allan was at home on maternity leave for her newborn son Benny. At the time, her husband Cam worked as a foreman for a petroleum contracting company, often requiring him to be away from his family for months at a time. (He has since started his own contracting company allowing him to stay close to home.) 

Allan wrote the book for her eldest son Brian, who would wake up after his father had left for the jobsite, and often go to bed before his dad returned. Brian would often ask why his father was away, while other parents worked from home. 

“It was really challenging for him to understand where daddy went for five days or more of the week, and then he was magically here,” she said. “It caused him a lot of anxiety. So, I started writing the book to help him understand.”

To comfort Brian, Allen would write short verses explaining why Cam was away from home. 

“My dresser was full of these little words and verses on post-it notes that I put together in the middle of the night and then I kind of pieced them together,” she said. 

She eventually decided to put the notes together to create a tool to help relieve her son’s anxiety. 

“Originally, I made it with pictures of him just on printer paper and I put it in a binder,” Allen said. “He still reads that version, but he likes the book better.” 

As a learning tool, the book also draws upon children’s love of construction machinery. 

“A lot of children can pick out an excavator from a mile away or a dump truck,” she said. 

During the pandemic, Allan and other parents in her community would meet outside of construction sites to allow their children to watch the machines in action. 

“The pandemic was so challenging, but I feel like construction really brought a positive light to the year because every day we would go out on an adventure,” Allen said. “The kids could watch the big drill that was there and the excavators, and we could socialize at a distance.” 

Allen hopes the book will teach children to have an appreciation for their parents’ careers. 

“And it doesn’t even need to be in the field of construction,” she said. “I hope that kids have the opportunity to ask questions of what their mom or their dad do during the day.” 

Where Does Daddy Go All Day? is illustrated by Vancouver artist Emma Macartney and published by Friesenpress. The book is available online at Amazon, Chapters, Indigo and Apple Books.