Just Like my Dad (Hardcover)

National Review by Deepa Pujari

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Just Like My Dad” by Elizabeth Johnson, Tyrell Plair.]

Just Like My Dad is an emotional children’s book written by Elizabeth M. Johnson and Tyrell Plair. The book mainly talks about the significance of a fatherly figure while growing up.

Miriam, Justin, Desmond, and Tyler are four young children who are living with their mothers. Circumstances have forced them to live without their fathers, whom they miss dearly. The children want to impress and be like their fathers when they grow up. Coach Mike and Carl play a significant role in their lives and help them learn a few life skills to become responsible and empathetic individuals.

What I liked most about this book is that it talks about how young children can effortlessly change their behavior and become responsible adults, if they are provided the right guidance. Children are like wet clay. As parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to mold them into good human beings. The book also encourages us to communicate with our children and step up to help them resolve the conflicts in their minds. The characters of the coaches are beautifully portrayed in the book and remind us of the importance of simple things in life.

There is nothing that I disliked about the book. This book is contemporary and makes us realize how times have changed. Children these days are mostly indoors, playing video games and watching TV, unlike the old times. Children must spend time outside with friends so that they can learn social skills and empathy.

This book is well-written and well-edited. It has an emotional angle and highlights the ups and downs children go through while growing up. The book took me down memory lane and reminded me about the summer camps I used to attend. I give it 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it to children ages 10-15years. The book can also be read by parents, to understand the many difficult situations that children could go through and look at the world from a child’s point of view.


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The term “You’re just like your dad” has been a common phrase used in reference to children to describe a similar behavior to that of their dad. When a child does something good, the phrase, “…just like my dad,” can be a welcoming tune. But what about when it is used negatively? For the child and the parent, this can be a challenging situation. But what if you don’t have a dad, or the dad is absent? Where then does a son get the discipline he needs to carry on throughout life, or a daughter get to see the examples of how a man treats a woman?

Father figures are everywhere, and, as the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” Unbeknownst to some, the teachings of fathers can be found in unexpected places. In Just Like my Dad, Coach Carl, a widower who lost his family in a car crash, struggles with his pain.  Not having a child has left an enormous void in his life, and he has no idea it is about to be filled by four strangers. In this fictional adaptation, Just Like my Dad introduces a coach looking to teach, nurture, and guide the lives of four kids that are lacking the discipline they so desperately need. Can coach Carl and these four kids help each other to overcome the pain they are all experiencing? Follow them through their journey to find out if they are really up to the task.


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