What Do I Say About That? Coping With an Incarcerated Parent By Julia Cook

In 2015, 2.7 million children in the United States had a parent in prison. That means that 1 in every 14 children. Almost everyone is aware that our prison population has alarmingly increased throughout the years, but the youngsters of these parents are often overlooked. Their tender hearts and minds find it difficult to deal with these changes in their families. Confusion, shame, anger, grief, feeling unloved and hurt bombards them. Many of these are in school and feel they have no one to talk to. The lack of support can lead to having emotional, behavioral, and mental problems that can affect their futures.
Ms. Cook does a remarkable job of putting into words what they are facing and feeling. This is comforting because they know someone understands. She also equips them with ways to face the crisis. Gently she encourages the child to understand the parents need for their love and forgiveness. These 2 things are ultimately healing for the child. I loved the way the book was written from the child’s perspective and allows the coping skills presented to be discovered by the boy in the story, not just told to the reader.
Ms. Cooks’ books are usually light and fun, with humorous illustrations. This book has her usual high quality writing and art, but handles the subject with the sensitivity and seriousness it deserves.
I asked my 13 year old grandson, J., to read the book and his responses were surprising. He recently befriended a boy at school who shared with him that his father was serving time. The boys didn’t want others to know. J. said he understood why the boy acted so sad and quite, usually avoiding other classmates. He didn’t know the boy might feel anger toward his Dad. J. felt glad he read the book, because he now realized how much his classmate needed a friend and how he could better support him. At the end of the book are 7 tips for the parent left behind to help their children.
This is a must read book for all children, teachers, parents, and grandparents. It may be a children’s book but has a powerful message or everyone! Go to http://www.juliacookonline.com to see more of the author’s books!

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