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'The night dad went to jail'

New children’s book helps kids when their loved ones are imprisoned.

Book cover image: Via Picture Window Books

A new children’s book, “The Night Dad Went to Jail” covers a topic rarely addressed in children’s literature- in order to assist children whose parents have been arrested or imprisoned.

Bibliotherapy bunny


Sketch, a bunny, is the main character in the illustrated book, has the school counsellor help him deal with all of the mixed-up emotions he experiences when his dad gets sent to prison for 6 years by encouraging him to draw pictures to describe his feelings.

Topics addressed in the book include how to deal with missing a loved one for a long time, dealing with mean children at school and dealing with emotions, in particular, anger, according to some reviews on Goodreads.

While some critics are using the fact that such a book should be necessary as an indictment on society, many childcare professionals and social workers have said that “The Night Dad Went to Jail” is proving a vital resource in helping the children of convicted criminals deal with complex emotions. A further criticism is that the children of felons are unlikely to be in an environment which encourages reading.

Mostly, though, reviews describe it as “sensitive, thoughtful, and a great resource”, suggesting that it helps children of felons to feel as if they are not alone, and that it should be available in every public library.

“The Night Dad Went to Jail: What to expect when someone you love goes to jail" (Picture Window Books) by Melissa Higgins and Wednesday Kirwan is available locally from Kalahari.com

Do you think this book would help kids cope with having family members in prison?

By: Scott Dunlop

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