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Mama Loves Me from Away Hardcover – October 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press; Fisrt Edition edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563979667
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563979668
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3 - The relationship between a mother and daughter is pushed to its limits when Mama is incarcerated. Sugar clings to the memory of her mother's stories and lives for her weekly visits to the prison when her grandmother is feeling up to the bus ride. On their shared birthday, Mama gives Sugar a special gift and a special way to feel close to her. Although this may be an issue that needs to be addressed, and although there is an audience for whom this story may be appropriate, the text and artwork present some problems. While the book does not go so far as to glorify imprisonment, it certainly does not present a realistic view of an extremely difficult way of life and the challenges it presents in maintaining a relationship with a child. In an attempt to emphasize the enduring bond between mother and daughter, the writing is often clichéd and the illustrations seem to exhibit an unnatural, idealistic brightness. The word "prison" is never mentioned, and the character of Big Roger is never clearly identified, possibly leaving young readers with more questions than answers about a very sensitive issue. - Holly T. Sneeringer, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 3. Like Jacqueline Woodson's Visiting Day (2002) and the other books in the Read-alikes, "Parents in Prison" [BKL N 1 02], this is a child's story of visiting an incarcerated parent. The warm, first-person narrative and realistic double-page art show the loving bond between Sugar and her single-parent mom, as Sugar remembers Mama's loving stories about the joy of Sugar's birth--on Mama's own birthday. Sugar now lives with Grammy, and they travel every Sunday on three long bus rides to visit Mama. For their shared birthday, Mama makes Sugar a gift book full of the stories Sugar remembers. There's no mention of Mama's crime or of the length of her sentence; the focus is on the sadness of the separation. Children who know this world, as well as those who don't, will be moved by the longing in the close-up of the parent and child's warm embrace in the room crowded with other visiting families. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Raina Leigh on January 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My daughter loves this book! Her dad was incarcerated recently, and I have been looking for books like this, to make her feel that she is not alone, that there are other children like her, who can understand her pain. Like Sugar and her mom, my daughter and husband are strongly attached, and they struggle to find new ways to do the special things they've always done together. This book is a little dose of sweetness and inspiration in a very, very tough situation. I am grateful that it was written.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gwynne C. Spencer on June 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are so few books for kids of incarcerated parents in this, the country which imprisons the highest per capita percentage in the world, that this stands out as a great resource. The gift that mother gives her child is the gift of stories, which every prison literacy program ought to take to heart as the basis for a writing program that actually helps the inmates. The age rating on the book says 4-8 but it really has a much wider reach, probably four to 13. It would probably be helpful to teachers and caregivers of kids whose parent is in prison to connect to the Center for Children of Incarerated parents, which offers national correspondence courses, as well as educational services of all kinds. They can be reached at [...] For those teaching in prison programs this story would provide a good impetus to begin a writing program for women with children left behind to help heal the wounds of separation and disappointment. Pat Brisson, who volunteers in a literacy program in a correctional facility, has captured many of the details in her text and obviously passed along information to the illustrator. Never is the mother's crime or sentence mentioned. It is a fine book to begin parents thinking about how help their children on the outside and foster family storytelling, not just in writing but on video, in art and on tape.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Oleanna on June 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Incarceration is tough for parents, traumatic for their kids.

Mothers of dependent children, mostly single nonviolent drug felons, currently are the fastest-growing segment of the burgeoning United States prison population, according to About Children: An Authoritative Resource on the State of Childhood Today, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Their vulnerable children are a growing population as well whose emotional and physical lives can get pretty rugged. Generally, children sink further into poverty, have tenuous care arrangements, face unhealthful levels of uncertainty, and deal not only with loss and separation, but also with an anxious mix of shame, guilt, anger and fear. They feel abandoned and hopeless. Behavior deteriorates.

When an adult is arrested and sentence passed, intervention on behalf of the offender's young offspring is necessary. Relatives or friends, social agency professionals and foster care providers do try to help. Still, the challenge is gigantic, the need is growing, kids are losing out.

Although no bibliotherapy approach can address the problems remotely, much less remedy any part of these children's real-life situations, representation of parental incarceration in decent books for children seems important. Satisfying stories of substance in which children may recognize plights similar to their own, or with which unaffected children might be able to empathize with families in such situations, may be beneficial.

Only a few picture books are presently available, two of which are attractive, and one of which nicely portrays an elementary aged daughter of a mother in prison and their strong, somewhat idealized, relationship.
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