- Paperback: 94 pages
- Publisher: Good Books (November 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1561486892
- ISBN-13: 978-1561486892
- Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #681,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Will Happen to Me: Every Night, Approximately Three Million Children Go To Bed With A Parent In Pri Paperback – November 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
"Sometimes when I'm alone, I sit there and look up and close my eyes and think, ˜If he were here, what would happen? ˜ I would have had my full life. It's just half now." These sobering words from teenager Cassandra are typical of the devastating accounts included in Zehr and Amstutz's portraits of American children who have at least one incarcerated parent. Zehr's portraits are compassionate and ennobling and, though often cursory, the text from the children and caregivers is heartbreaking and thought-provoking; more complete portraits would have given a better understanding of the gravity of the situation facing these children, and the inclusion of more basic facts (the length of a parent's incarceration; the severity of a sentence) would have moved these subjects from victims to people. When specifics are given, as with a caregiver who notes that all she wants for her birthday is to "go out on the mountain for two hours by myself," the gravity of the situation becomes haunting. Photos. (June) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Children of incarcerated parents are consumed with questions, mainly what will happen to them. The authors' thesis is that the outcome of their lives impacts us all. Additionally, anyone working in the social work, teaching, or healthcare fields will most likely be working with some of these "approximately three million" children at some point. In part one, the statements from the children interviewed are accompanied by full-color photo portraits. What comes through is that they all love their parents unequivocally, but here it is tangible and poignant both in their words and faces. They are hopeful for their parents' return, and for their own lives to be successful without the blight of prison. Part two offers advice for caregivers and includes 10 questions often asked by children whose parents are in jail. Both the children and their families are not only experiencing physical separation but also the attendant shame as reflected in their treatment by adults and schoolmates. The authors are firm believers in restorative justice and draw the connection (along with giving suggestions) that the right kind of support can prevent multigenerational perpetrators of crime who fall into such patterns due to lack of support and resources.—Meredith Toumayan, The Governor's Academy, Byfield, MA
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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What Will Happen To Me are the effects of how unfortunate circumstances and the unforgiving policies in the judiciary system can have adverse ramifications on families that are suffering the consequences. Sobering words and heartfelt lamentations abound from what has been showcased in this book. The authors were erudite in capturing not only the essence of what research methodology is supposed to be when exposing accumulative data, but also quite proficient in suggesting relative topical issues and strategies that may be beneficial to both the children and others associated with this malady. I loved this book...so much so that it has heightened my awareness to want to be an advocate for the cause. The accolades I attribute are many, but first and foremost, it's the voices of the children that are ever so vociferous and prevalent from the mouths of babes. Points to ponder proliferate throughout the whole book, evident in the detailed information and layout presentation. My support for the subject at hand is heart-felt as I hope when reading it, would have a bearing on the consciousness of what we should be doing to stem the tide and possible do what is needed to offer applicable means to augment aid.
The book is sectioned in various increments relative to cause, effect that forces you to be mindful of applicable measures for solutions. Part one deals with various statements from children interviewed juxtaposed with full-color poignancy. If a picture is akin to a 1,000 words then you will be mesmerized with expressions that can't be ignored. The faces of the children with their stories are powerful! The message is the hope for change, and the need for the public to embrace their plight. Part two offers a look into what the caregivers are going through and information given for them which includes 10 questions that are obvious prompts that offer extensions to mindsets of children who are victimized by the circumstances surrounding incarcerated parents. These questions are typical of the breath and depth of what should be apropos for levels of commitment to rectify consequences relative to experiences associated with ill-treatments from schoolmates, familial attachments, adults who are ambivalent to their plight, and from those who are concerned but mired in the bureaucratic malaise that often accompany the judiciary system. Part three covers the topic as it pertains preventive measures and a sense of jurisprudence where t communities can, and should be working to restore corrective initiatives to help than hinder. I like the fact that the authors believe that restorative justice and suggestive input are needed for strong support to garner more resources for challenge and change. I rate this book 5 stars out of five and recommend it for anyone who is serious about making a difference in the lives of children and families so affected. No matter what your thoughts are on this subject, the stories therein are large and compelling...and not only should they be heard, but greater effort should be indicative of the right kind of support and resources that can prevent other children from being victims aiding and abetting a system that is stifling the growth of the next generation. Buy this book where books are sold.
"Life would've been different if my parents hadn't been in prison. I would have been graduating high school this year, going to senior prom, and doing all the other stuff kids do instead of growing up too fast."
Those are the words of Brittany. Her mom went to jail when she was 3-years-old and her father went to jail when her mom got out. Brittany was 18-years-old when she told her story and admits that she didn't think she would live to see 16.
There are many stories just like Brittany's in this book. I often found myself stopping to thank God on many occasions because I didn't have it as bad as them or so I thought. I can relate to their stories. I didn't have an incarcerated parent but I remember the childhood feelings of wanting my dad around and wondering why he wasn't there. I took many of those feelings into early adulthood with me. Now that I think about it, there were very few of my friends who had fathers around. I just wanted him to be a dad to me like he was to my little sister. Present and accounted for. These days I know it was his lost not mine.
I loved that the authors broke the book into three sections-
Part I includes the faces of the children with their stories. There is nothing like hearing the truth from a child. We know that children will be honest in spite of our feelings.
Part II has stories from the caregivers of the children with both parents absent. I find it so sad that no one steps in to help many of them.
"I asked for the same thing for Christmas and for my birthday from my family: for two hours on top of Spruce Knob by myself. I didn't get it. That's all I ask for. If they would just take the boys so I can go out on the mountain for two hours by myself, that's all I ask for. But I didn't get it. ~~Martha Arey"
This section also includes pointers and tips for dealing with children during this time. Just like adults, children are full of emotions and they should be treated as such. When I used to do home visits I always reminded my clients that they're raising little people who have likes, dislikes and emotions.
Part III covers the topic as it pertains to justice and how we as a community can work to restore justice. Incarceration alone is not enough. There are families who are affected by this in such ways that it has become a generational curse.
"I was serving time with a woman who had only 10 years to do. Twenty years later, some kid comes up to me and says, "Aren't you Ms. Mechie?..."
Ms. Mechie is serving life in prison and her parents were incarcerated. According to research done by the authors, children with incarcerated parents are five times more likely to become prisoners themselves.
This book really made me think about the examples we're setting as a democratic nation when we have more people incarcerated than any other nation. However, we deem ourselves worthy to help other nations fight for democracy. If I were on the outside looking in...the U.S. has rates of infant mortality higher than a Third World country and more citizens imprisoned than any other nation, etc. ...I'm not sure I'd want democracy in my country if this is the fate of a country with it. Seriously...
I recommend this book for anyone who is serious about making a difference in the lives of others. You may not be a social worker or a teacher but as a member of our community we come into contact with people from various walks of life. We need to open our minds to understand the struggles of others better so that we can lend a hand to lift them up and/or encourage them. As a part-time substitute teacher in an impoverished neighborhood, I can only imagine how many of the children have parents incarcerated but they come to school in efforts to make the best out of a bad situation.
Like a web, we are all interconnected. The children in these pages are in some sense our children. What happens to them affects all of us.
*This book was provided by the author for review.