My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There are families much like my own who either currently or at one time or another have had an incarcerated family member. It is a topic that you seldom see addressed in picture books. Who better to put the story and images this experience brings about into a book than Jacqueline Woodson and James E. Ransome. The dynamic pair expertly pour an authenticity into this work that is appreciated. I’ve worked in and served families in both Title I and economically stable public schools and communities, as well as private, affluent institutions, and in each scenario have had students and families dealing with incarcerated loved ones. A book like this is important. It communicates well how we love all of our family members, including those who are serving a prison sentence. It provides hope as Jacqueline says it in her author note that, “one day there wouldn’t be prison walls,” that one day, your loved one will be free.
On each page, in word and in picture, I could feel the unconditional love of family. A grandmother for her granddaughter. A daughter for her father. A father for his daughter who is reminded of her love with each visit and letter she sends. I could see the excitement in a daughter’s eyes to see her daddy as well as the sadness they both feel when they have to part. I am hopeful for the child who will read this and see their experience within its pages, that they will be encouraged. This book was published in 2002 but it is still relevant for today’s reader.
Jacqueline Woodson | https://www.jacquelinewoodson.com/
James E. Ransome | https://jamesransome.com/
Scholastic Press | https://www.scholastic.com/aboutscholastic/imprints.htm