Of the approximate 2.7 million children in the United States with a parent who is incarcerated, almost 100,000 are right here in Arizona. Ranking 4th highest in incarceration rate in the United States (Casey, 2017), close to 13% of Arizona children have experienced the incarceration of a parent, leaving them among the most vulnerable of being adversely impacted.
As the host of the National Children of Incarcerated Parents Conference, we have heard from those with lived experience about the stigma and shame children and caregivers may feel. This is why the ASU Center for Child Well-Being developed Empathy Through Literacy, which includes a list of books for all levels of readers featuring justice-impacted children.
Through reading, children and youth can realize that others are also dealing with the feelings and emotions that accompany parental incarceration. The goals of Empathy Through Literacy are to:
- reduce stigma and shame by helping children know that they are not alone,
- provide caregivers with tools to help them communicate with children about their parent’s incarceration and their associated feelings, and
- increase empathy for children and families experiencing the incarceration of a parent through shared understanding of its impact.
The ASU Center for Child Well-Being promotes access to these books in public libraries, schools, clubs, and other places where children and youth congregate. Where funds are lacking to purchase the books, CCWB helps raise funds to donate them.
This is where we need your help! Consider partnering with us to help reduce the stigma of incarceration through literature. Your donation goes straight toward the purchase of books that will be delivered to schools and libraries across the state.
Other ways to help:
- Whether or not you and your children are justice-impacted, read and discuss one or more of the books with your child to help decrease the stigma of incarceration through empathy.
- Spread the word! Encourage others to read books from the list and donate.
- Download and share the list of books with your local librarians - let them know that featuring these books is important to your community.
Do you represent a school or library that is in need of a donated set of books? Click here to register to be paired up with a sponsor https://forms.gle/ZfLq4kq1jz2q8q317