A boy’s letters to his incarcerated father help them stay connected even while they’re apart.
Dear Dad: Love, Nelson is a glimpse into the life, family, struggles, hopes, and questions of Nelson—and the more than five million other children in the US who have experienced parental incarceration. Told through letters he writes his father, Nelson shares his feelings, thoughts, wishes, and happenings, from the celebrations they’ve had to the progress Nelson has made on the car they were fixing to how excited he is to have Dad coming home.
The author, who’s had several family members impacted by the criminal legal system, was inspired to write this warm and inviting story to build awareness of parental incarceration and increase empathy for people who have an incarcerated loved one. Dear Dad: Love, Nelson is told in Nelson’s vibrant, curious, and compassionate voice, with his love for his dad and his family shining through.
Dear Dad: Love, Nelson can open doors of conversation about many significant topics, including:
- different emotional responses to parental incarceration
- the school-to-prison pipeline
- differences in celebrations without a parent
- the importance of keeping in contact
- the expectations of the court and the experience of visitation
- the anticipation of reentry
A section at the back of the book offers discussion questions for exploring the story and the topic with children, along with more information on guiding children to write letters as a way of staying in touch with an incarcerated loved one.
Reading Age: 5-10