As the number of people in American prisons grows, so too does the
number of children affected by their parents' absence. In an ideal
world, we would halt the incarceration of our citizens in ineffective
prisons which are often distant from the families and communities that
people in prison leave behind. In the meantime, this book list compiles
the many books for and about children of incarcerated parents. These
books serve many purposes: they show children with parents in prison
that they are not alone, they educate policy makers about effective
practices, they act as a resource for caretakers coping with extra
responsibilities, and they focus the research and teaching efforts of
scholars and students.
There are many books about related topics such as parental absence
and loss, foster care, parental mental illness and addiction, shelter
living and witnessing trauma. In order to focus specifically on the
topic of children of incarcerated parents, this list does not include
those books, although they would undoubtedly be beneficial to children
of incarcerated parents and the people who care for and about them.
This list is also limited to books, and therefore does not contain any
of the many high-quality booklets, reports, program evaluations and
journal articles that exist that address the topic of children of
incarcerated parents. Please see the Online Resources page for
those other resources.
For Younger Children:
Beal, Janice M. & Gilmore, Vanessa. 2008. A Boy Named Rocky: A
Coloring book for the Children of Incarcerated Parents. Available
Bender, Janet M. My Daddy is in Jail: Story, Discussion Guide,
and Small Group Activities for Grades K-5. Chapin, S.C.:
Bergen, Suzanne & Hodgkins, Kathleen. 1997. My Mom Went to
Jail. Madison, WI: The Rainbow Project, Inc.
Brisson, Pat & Caple, Laurie (Illustrator). 2004. Mama Loves Me
from Away. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.
Burch, Robert. 1999. Queenie Peavy. London: Puffin Books.
Butterworth, Oliver & Avishai, Susan (Illustrator). 1993. A Visit
to the Big House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cain, Sandra, Speed, Margaret & Mukhida, Zul (Photographer). 1999.
Dad's in Prison. London: A&C Black.
Crane, J. and Short, B. nd. Two in Every Hundred: Workbook for
Older (school-age) children. Nashville, TN: Reconciliation. Order
from: Reconciliation, 702 51st Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37209, (615)
Gesme, Carole, Kodpfmann, Michele & Schmoker, Lisa. 1993. Help
for Kids! Understanding Your Feelings About Having A Parent in Prison
or Jail For Kids Ages Six and Older. Minneapolis, MN: Pine Tree
Hayes, Margaret, Witherill, Jill & Pergrim, Lois A. 1989. My
Daddy is in Prison. Johnstown, PA: Cambria County Community Action
Hickman, Martha Whitmore. 1983. When Can Daddy Come Home?
Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Hickman, Martha Whitmore & Raymond, Larry (Illustrator). 1990.
When Andy's Father Went to Prison. Niles, IL: Albert Whitman and
Jones, Donna. nd. Joey's Visit. Syracuse, NY: Cornell
Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County.
Kerniski, Ann. nd. Keeping in Touch by Long Distance.
Syracuse, NY: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County.
Maury, Inez. 2002. My Mother and I Are Growing Stronger.
Berkeley, CA: New Seed Press.
Roznowski, Fran. and Toyoshima, Tak (Illustrator). nd. Time to
Go. Order a copy by sending $7 (includes postage) to: Fran
Roznowski, 11 Cottage St., Chelsea, MA. 02150
St. Pierre, Stephanie. 1994. Everything You Need to Know When a
Parent is in Jail. New York: Rosen Publishing Group.
Stanglin, Jackie A. and McGuckie, Cierra Jade. 2007. Mami, Qué
es una Carcel? Centennial, CO: Lifevest Publishing, Inc.
Stanglin, Jackie A. and McGuckie, Cierra Jade. 2006. What is
Jail, Mommy? Centennial, CO: Lifevest Publishing, Inc.
Testa, Maria & Amanda Schaffer (Illustrator). 1996. Nine
Candles. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books.
Vogel, Carol Lynne & Mulhollen, Amy. 1996. My Mommy's in
Prison. Pennsylvania: Southwest-South Central Pennsylvania
AmeriCorps Program, The Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps
Walker, Jan & Leonhard, Herb (Illustrator). 2006. An Inmate's
Daughter. Norris, MT: Raven Publishing of Montana.
Whitbold, Maureen. 2003. Let's Talk About When Your Parent is in
Jail. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
Williams, Vera B. 2001. Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart.
New York: Greenwillow.
Wittbold, Maureen. 1998. Let's Talk about When Your Parent is in
Jail. New York: PowerKids Press.
Woodson, Jacqueline. 2002. Our Gracie Aunt. New York:
Woodson, Jacqueline & Ransome, James (Illustrator). 2002.
Visiting Day. New York: Scholastic Press.
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For Older Children:
Ellis, Deborah. 2007. Jakeman. Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry
DeClements, Barthe. 1989. Five Finger Discount. New York:
Delacorte Press for Young Readers.
DeClements, Barthe. 1991. Breaking Out. New York: Delacorte
Press for Young Readers.
La Valle, John J. 1995. Coping When a Parent is in Jail.
New York: Rosen Publishing Group.
Paterson, Katherine. 2002. The Same Stuff as Stars. New
York: Clarion Books.
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On the Topic of Children of Incarcerated Parents:
Adalist-Estrin, Ann & Mustin, Jim. 2002. Responding to Children
and Families of Prisoners: A Community Guide. Jenkintown, PA: Family
and Corrections Network. Available
Bernstein, Nell. 2007. All Alone in the World: Children of the
Incarcerated. New York: New Press.
Boswell, Gwyneth & Wedge, Peter. 2002. Imprisoned Fathers and
their Children. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Boudouris, James. 1996. Parents in Prison: Addressing the Needs of
Families. Lanham, MD: American Correctional Association.
Braman, Donald. 2004. Doing Time on the Outside: Incarceration
and Family Life in Urban America. Ann Arbor, MI: University of
Burgess, Stacey, Caselman, Tonia & Carsey, Jennifer. Empowering
Children of Incarcerated Parents. Chapin, SC: Youthlight.
Comfort, Megan. 2008. Doing Time Together: Love and Family in
the Shadow of the Prison. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Edenfield, Ann. 2002. Family Arrested: How to Survive the
Incarceration of a Loved One. Albuquerque, NM: Americana
Enos, Sandra. 2001. Mothering from the Inside: Parenting in a
Women's Prison. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Gabel, Katherine & Johnson, Denise. 1995. Children of
Incarcerated Parents. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Golden, Renny. 2005. War on the Family: Mothers in Prison and
the Families They Leave Behind. New York: Routledge.
Harris, Othello & Miller, R. Robin (Eds). 2003. Impacts of
incarceration on the African American family. New Brunswick, NJ:
Harris, Yvette, Graham, James A. & Carpenter, G.J. 2010.
Children of Incarcerated Parents: Theoretical Development and
Clinical Issues. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Martone, Cynthia. 2005. Loving Through Bars: Children with
Parents in Prison. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press.
Mauer, Mark & Chesney-Lind, Meda. 2003. Invisible Punishment:
The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment. New York: New
Nurse, Anne M. 2002. Fatherhood Arrested: Parenting from within
the Juvenile Justice System. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University
Seymour, Cynthia B & Hairston, Creasie Finney. 2000. Children
with parents in prison: Child welfare policy, program, and practice
issues. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Travis, Jeremy & Waul, Michelle, Eds. 2003. Prisoners Once
Removed: The Impact of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families
and Communities. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
Wright, Lois & Seymour, Cynthia B. 2000. Working with Children
and Families Separated by Incarceration: A Handbook for Child Welfare
Agencies. Washington, DC: CWLA Press.
Yaffe, Rebecca, Hoade, Lonnie & Moody, Barbara S. 2000. When a
Parent Goes to Jail: A Comprehensive Guide for Counseling Children of
Incarcerated Parents. Windsor, CA: Rayve Productions.
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