on November 27, 2015
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
Take a heartwarming journey with 10-year-old author, Madison Strempek, as she candidly depicts her life experience of living with her father in jail. Through her eyes, you will live the heartbreak of her life changing news, discover how she survives with her embarrassing secret, and ultimately finds resolution and strength in understanding everyone makes mistakes. It’s truly a story of perseverance, forgiveness, and love. She skillfully helps the reader maneuver through difficult times by providing opportunities to reflect with blank pages of doodle space, letter writing ideas, and helping the readers find their inner champion. Madison’s personal story is not only valuable for kids living with a parent in jail, but also brings great insight to parents, doctors, social workers, psychologists, judges, lawyers, inmates, law enforcement, friends, and family that support children with incarcerated parents.
Oh, you guys…what a sweet, thoughtful kid. 10-year-old Madison Strempek’s personality absolutely radiates from the pages of her book. When Madison’s father went to jail, she had to find ways to cope with the aftermath. She put the lessons she learned and the tools she used in writing in order to help others. She specifically mentions that she wrote this book because she couldn’t find any helpful books that were written from the perspective of a peer. It’s hard to find children’s books that tackle tough issues in a way that kids will relate to—not how adults imagine they should/will. This book fills that need.
Madison’s description of her first time visiting her dad in jail will be invaluable to other kids facing similar situations. She candidly expresses all of her emotions: Happiness about finally seeing her dad, her sadness and disappointment, her embarrassment about people at school knowing and talking about it. She talks to a counselor. She continues to participate in activities she’s passionate about. Her confidence and her candor set an important example for other kids, and help them (and the adults in their lives) navigate a difficult time.
I especially love that she provides writing space throughout the book! Memoir meets workbooks as kids are encouraged to write down the names of people they trust to talk to about difficult things so they can refer back to it when needed. Doodle space is also provided as a way to calm oneself.
Madison reminds her peers that it is absolutely okay to feel sad or angry or embarrassed. It’s okay to continue loving your parent. And it’s okay to forgive, because everybody makes mistakes. If you know a child coping with the repercussions of a parent’s actions—whatever the situation, but especially those facing jail time—this book is a must.