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Launchpad: Weekend Dad, by Naseem Hrab and Frank Viva

A picture book about what happens when parents separate, and the new reality of having two homes.

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Weekend Dad, by Naseem Hrab and illustrated by Frank Viva, about what happens when parents separate, and the new reality of having two homes.


Book Cover Weekend Dad

The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence:

Weekend Dad is a picture book about a little boy who visits his dad’s new apartment for the first time after his parents get divorced; the book isn’t just about a child’s experience of divorce, it is nearly entirely about a father’s love.

Describe your ideal reader:

It’s not just for those who have experienced divorce, it’s really a book for anyone who needs a soft spot to land.

What authors/books is your work in conversation with:

Tough question! Maybe Joanne Schwartz or Matt James if I’m feeling aspirational.

What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/ your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?

This story includes an abridged version of a letter written to me in 1991 by my father after my parents got divorced. I was nine years old when he wrote it, but he never sent it to me. In 2007, my father died and I read it for the first time. I thought that being able to write this story meant I had distance from it all, but the letter still makes me cry almost every time I read it.

How do you think your father would have reacted to the book?

My father wasn’t a part of my life after I turned ten and I know he regretted the way things turned out even if he couldn’t acknowledge it. I think he would be sad that the book was written at all. That said, I hope that part of him might like that his letter can exist in the world in this way and offer reassurance to children (and adults) who might need some.

An important part of any book launch is the thank you’s. Go ahead, and acknowledge someone whose support has been integral to this project.

The editorial process felt a bit more fraught than usual because of how personal the story is. All my thanks goes to Sheila Barry for giving me equal parts tender and tough feedback as we worked our way through the manuscript.

What are you reading right now or next?

I’m really looking forward to reading A Forest in the City, by Andrea Curtis and illustrated by Pierre Pratt. I think we’d all love to be outside more right now and this book might be the next best thing.


Book Cover Weekend Dad


About Weekend Dad:

“This home is home because my dad is here, and it’s nothing like home because my mom isn’t here,” thinks the boy in this story when he enters his dad’s new apartment for the first time. His dad moved out on Monday and now it’s Friday night, the start of his weekend with his dad.

The boy and his dad follow their normal weekend routine—they eat eggs for breakfast, play cards and spend time at the park. And then they do the same things on Sunday. It is hard to say goodbye at the end of the weekend, but Dad gives his son a letter to remind him that, even if his dad can’t always be there, the boy is loved.

Naseem Hrab has written a poignant yet hopeful story, strikingly illustrated in Frank Viva’s signature style, about what happens when parents separate, and the new reality of having two homes.