Far Apart, Close in Heart : Being a Family when a Loved One is Incarcerated
Far Apart, Close in Heart is a sensitively and very well-handled picture book for children who are experiencing the incarceration of a parent or loved one. This wonderful book is written more as a rough guide to what children may think and feel when a loved one is in prison rather than a storybook. It touches on a range of feelings children may have, from anger to sadness to betrayal and anything else in between. Each reaction is framed through the eyes of a different character. For example, Yen mails a letter to her incarcerated mother asking, “Why are you there? Is it my fault? When are you coming home? Do you still love me?”
The children depicted in the illustrations are of diverse ethnicities and genders. The overall message of the book is that many children experience this kind of situation and that there are as many reactions to it as there are children. The end gives hope by outlining different ways to stay in touch with jailed loved ones and how to reach out to trusted adults nearby. Back matter includes tips for parents, teachers, caregivers, and counselors and lists further reading and resources. This is an excellent starting point to open discussion with hurting kids.
Albert Whitman & Company
Becky Birtha, Maja Kastelic