Pages with Perspective- Books we recommend for children, teens and adults dealing with incarceration
Looking to get a new perspective? Here are just a few of our recommendations…
- Two of every 100
By Richard W. Dyches
There are lots of kids who have a parent in prison. In fact, 2 out of every 100 kids in America have a parent in prison. In a group of 100 kids, could you pick out which two have a parent in prison? Of course you can’t. Kids who have a parent in prison look just like any other kid! These children have special needs which they often have trouble verbalizing. The exercises in the workbook are designed to be conversation starters to facilitate talking about their concerns and feelings.
- Questions for Dad, Helping Children Cope with Parental Incarceration
By Ryan Stowe
Learning that a parent is in jail can be difficult for any child. Many react in different ways. Some can be angry or frustrated. Some can be upset and worried. However they’re feeling, it helps to answer their questions one step at a time. Big questions need big answers. Questions For Dad helps to tackle these big questions. We follow Nora and David who are two very different siblings. But when this life change happens, will they learn to come together? Packed full of charming illustrations, this educational and heart-warming story will help children, who have a parent in jail, understand they are not alone.
- Deena Misses Her Mom
By Jonas Haynesworth, Jesse Holmes, Layonnie Jones and Kahliya Ruffin
Lately, Deena has been getting angry. A lot. She acts out in school and keeps getting in trouble. Everyone is surprised because she used to be very calm, but that was before her mother went to jail. Her dad, her grandma, and her best friend Josey all do their best to help her out, but Deena doesn’t want to talk about it. Will a day at the carnival with her Dad help her open up?
- Doogie’s Dad
By Richard Dyches
This story is about Doogie, a young boy and his sister, whose father is sent to prison. It explores their feelings of loss, fear and frustration at not being told what’s going on until their mother finally takes them to visit their dad in prison.
- Visiting Day
By Jacqueline Woodson
In this moving picture book from multi-award winning author Jacqueline Woodson, a young girl and her grandmother prepare for a very special day–the one day a month they get to visit the girl’s father in prison. “Only on visiting day is there chicken frying in the kitchen at 6 a.m, and Grandma in her Sunday dress, humming soft and low.” As the little girl and her grandmother get ready, her father, who adores her, is getting ready, too, and readers get to join the community of families who make the trip together, as well as the triumphant reunion between father and child, all told in Woodson’s trademark lyrical style, and beautifully illustrated by James Ransome.
- See You Soon
By Mariame Kaba
From New York Times Bestselling Author Mariame Kaba, a poignant, beautifully illustrated story of a little girl’s worries when her Mama goes to jail, and the love that bridges the distance between them.
- Where’s Dad?
By Richard Dyches
The story – which helps children understand and cope with losing a parent to incarceration – is about an eight-year old dreamer of a boy, who imagines himself in a series of fantasy adventures as he tries to find out why the police have taken his dad away and explores his relationship with his mother, sister, grandmother and classmates.
- A Kid’s Book About Incarceration
By Ethan Thrower
Incarceration is a big word for a HUGE topic. It can bring up difficult questions and feelings—especially when it affects you directly. This book explores incarceration, crimes, and prison, as well as the power of choices. The author’s story highlights the impact of choices and how someone can grow, learn, and change the path they’ve been on.
- The Graham Cracker Plot
By Shelley Tougas
Meet Daisy Bauer and her sometimes best friend, Graham, who are determined to break Daisy’s dad out of prison in this hilarious middle-grade debut. No one believes her, but Daisy Bauer knows her dad has been wrongfully imprisoned and that it’s up to her to break him out of jail (aka Club Fed). She has a plan that she’s calling the Graham Cracker Plot because it was all Graham’s idea. She just needs a miniature horse, a getaway truck, and a penny from 1919―the idea coin.
- From the Desk of Zoe Washington
By Janae Marks
Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime? A crime he says he never committed. Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge. But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.
- An Inmate’s Daughter
By Jan Walker
In the summer between 7th and 8th grade, Jenna MacDonald does the dumbest thing ever. She tries to save a little girl from drowning. Jenna’s family has a secret and her mother wants it kept. Jenna’s father is in prison for murder. “Prison reflects on wives and children,” Mom says. Keeping the fact of prison secret is made more difficult when the newspaper runs a story about Jenna’s “Good Samaritan” rescue at the McNeil Island Corrections Center. Mom is mad, and Jenna just wants to fit in. “He may be in prison, but he’s still my dad,” Jenna says. As she writes in her journal, the children of prisoners are doing time too. Like more than two million children in the United States, Jenna and her brother struggle with the stigma, loss, separation, and shame of having a parent in prison. This heart-warming story shows what it’s like to be one of the innocent victims.
- All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
By Leslie Connor
From comes Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home. When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?
- The Year the Swallows Came Early
By Kathryn Fitzmaurice
“Expect the unexpected.” That’s what Eleanor “Groovy” Robinson’s horoscope says the morning everything begins to change. Suddenly, her father is in jail, her plans to attend culinary school when she grows up fall apart, and it feels like maybe nothing will ever be right again. But the swallows that return to her coastal town every year bring a message of hope with them that even Groovy can’t ignore. Can she forgive the failings of someone she loves in order to bring her family back together again?
- Letters To My Younger Self
An Anthology of Writings by Incarcerated Men at SCI Graterford and a Writing Workbook
Edited by Jayne Thompson and Emily DeFreitas
In this anthology incarcerated me in the Prison Literacy Project at S.C.I. Graterford contribute pieces about regretful decisions made or painful experiences in their youth, fearlessly exposing their vulnerability. The men chose many methods for sharing their messages; some wrote letters to their young selves or family members, telling of their struggles growing up in difficult circumstances. They reached out from behind the prison walls to caution young offenders while they still have time to change their lives, but they speak to us all. They remind us all about choices, consequences, and caring for others.
- Corrections in Ink: A Memoir
By Keri Blakinger
After she walked out of her cell for the last time, Keri became a reporter dedicated to exposing our flawed prisons as only an insider could. Written with searing intensity, unflinching honesty, and shocks of humor, Corrections in Ink uncovers that dark, brutal system that affects us all. Not just a story about getting out and getting off drugs, this galvanizing memoir is about the power of second chances; about who our society throws away and who we allow to reach for redemption—and how they reach for it.
- When Are You Coming Home?
By Hilary Cuthrell, Luke Muentner and Julie Poehlmann
When Are You Coming Home? helps answer questions about how young ones are faring when a parent is incarcerated in jail. Situated within a resilience model of development, the book presents findings related to children’s stress, family relationships, health, home environments, and visit experiences through the eyes of the children and families. This humanizing, social justice-oriented approach discusses the paramount need to support children and their families before, during, and after a parent’s incarceration while the country simultaneously grapples with strategies of reform and decarceration.