Arizona ranks as the 4th highest incarceration state, with one in nine children in Arizona having one or both of their parents incarcerated. Parental incarceration is one of the ten adverse childhood events listed by the CDC to adversely impact a child’s socio-emotional development.
The ASU Center for Child Well-Being has compiled a book list containing fiction books featuring justice-impacted children. Because libraries and schools in rural areas lack funds to purchase these books, the Empathy through Literacy Project is raising funds on their behalf. Horizon host Ted Simons spoke with Melinda Borucki, who leads the project, and Judy Krysik from ASU’s School of Social Work. Also joining them is former ASU and current NBA player Zylan Cheatham, who as a child saw his father incarcerated.
Borucki runs the National Children of Incarcerated Parents conference and other projects. Because children of incarcerated parents experience stigma, Borucki and her colleagues wanted to help make specific books readily available in libraries. Their reading list is designed to help children of incarcerated parents cope with the situation, while helping other children better understand what it might be like.