By Renee Menart, Photo: Rob Marmion/Shutterstock, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, April 1, 2022
Children’s books centered on characters involved in the justice system can support kids with incarcerated parents and offer a compassionate window into this experience for broad young audiences.
Incarceration is harmful not only to people held in confinement but to the health of their children, who, for example, may experience post-traumatic stress from witnessing a parent’s arrest or visiting a parent who is incarcerated. Additionally, financial instability can arise after a parent who is incarcerated can no longer bring home a paycheck. Those and other effects, including ones that can limit a family’s economic mobility for generations, heavily harm children with incarcerated parents.
The often overlooked impacts of incarceration on families and children is the subject matter of my book, “Demetri Makes a Memory Quilt,” about a young boy whose mom is in prison far from home. In writing this book, I collaborated with formerly incarcerated women to develop this book’s impactful plot, characters and themes.