"Big Four" Highlights


The Father-Daughter Bond

Illustrated book celebrates a lifelong love

The tender relationship between a dad and his daughter is lovingly told in an illustrated storybook by Catholic editor David Dziena and his young daughter, Anya. I Will NOT Let Go, Daddy! began as a bedtime game in which Anya would grab hold of her dad, who would then present a series of scenarios in which the little girl would have to let go. The book concludes with dad realizing that one day his girl will grow up and it will be he who will want to hold on.

Editorial director for Pflaum Publishing Group, and the father of four children, Dziena has also written about going through divorce and Church annulment of his first union. He is now married to Gloria Shahin, a Catholic author.

Fathers for Good spoke to Dziena about the book he wrote with Anya, who is 12.

Tell us the story behind this book.

Dziena: During bedtime, I would give Anya a hug goodnight and she would latch on and say, "I can't let go." It became part of her bedtime routine and we had fun with it. Then, we came up with the idea for the book--thinking about scenarios where it would be funny if we kept hugging throughout the day. For me, it's a happy memory of her young childhood.

The Father-Daughter Bond

What message for fathers does the book convey?

Dziena: Fathers and daughters have a special bond that hopefully lasts throughout their lives. My hope is that this playful book contributes to the happy memories that form that bond for those who read it together. The ending has a deeper meaning for fathers as it shows how one day daughters grow up and, while you have to "let them go" as they follow their vocation in life, the hope is that the two of you will always remain close.

You’ve written about your experience of divorce and annulment. Does that experience inform this book?

Dziena: It certainly does. When we originally came up with the idea for this book, I think the idea of "not letting go" helped us both during the times we weren't together. Now that Anya is older, I believe that the bond we established all those years ago helps to keep us close now, not only because we are not always in the same house, but since she is 12, if we didn't have that early bond, it would be even more challenging to stay connected to her in her teen years.

The book is available on Amazon.