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TruthandTheBigDinner

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Truth and The Big Dinner A Story About Parental Incarceration Finding a silver lining when a parent goes to prison or jail Extant One Publishing Inc Avon Hart Johnson Publications LLC

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Truth and The Big Dinner A Story About Parental Incarceration PROOF OF APGI Finding a silver lining when a parent goes to prison or jail By Dr Renata Hedrington Jones Illustrations Miki Gilmore Creative Consultant Caidyn Zuri Aloma Jones

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Truth and The Big Dinner A Story About Parental Incarceration PROOF OF APGI Finding a silver lining when a parent goes to prison or jail By Dr Renata Hedrington Jones Illustrations Miki Gilmore Creative Consultant Caidyn Zuri Aloma Jones

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Truth and The Big Dinner Finding a Silver Lining When a Parent Goes to Prison ISBN 978 0 9967410 2 6 Copyright 2019 by Renata Hedrington Jones All rights reserved This edition is published by DC Project Connect in arrangement with Extant One Publishing Inc and Renata Hedrington Jones Avon Hart Johnson Publications LLC All rights reserved 9103 Woodmore Centre Drive Lanham MD 20706 USA www dcprojectconnect com www mystoryandme com Internal Layout Printed by Anointed Press Graphics Inc 11191 Crain Highway Cheltenham MD 20623 301 782 2285 www anointedpressgraphics com PROOF OF APGI Illustrated by Miki Gilmore www mikigilmore com This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information regarding the subject matter covered It is distributed with the understanding that the author and publishers are not engaged in rendering psychological financial legal or other professional services If expert assistance or counseling is needed the services of a competent professional should be sought All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopy recording or any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author and publisher Printed Published in the United States of America First Paperback Edition eBook Edition Illustrations by Miki Gilmore eBook voiceover by Monique Davis Cover by Miki Gilmore Creative Consultant Caidyn Zuri Aloma Jones 1 Study Aids Self Help 2 Family Relationships Parental Incarceration Grief and Loss Coping Acknowledgments This Children s book is a part of a project we affectionately call The Storybook Research Project Through focus groups and individual interviews held in the Washington D C Maryland and Virginia area our research team gained a breadth of knowledge about communication between parents caregivers and their children regarding parental incarceration Insights lessons learned and tips from parents and caregivers who participated in the study are integrated in our website resources for families and children As we continue our quest to bring about social change that renders healing for those affected by mass incarceration we offer our thanks to the countless families who in the midst of their own perils were willing to contribute to research in hopes that their contributions will yield such interventions as our children s books We also acknowledge the following individuals who contributed to the Storybook Research Project and ultimately made this project a success Dr Avon Hart Johnson Author Principle Researcher Dr Renata Hedrington Jones Author Co Principle Researcher Dr Geoffrey Johnson Author Co Principle Researcher Dr Brenda Fawcett Child Psychologist Ms Miki Gilmore Web Developer Graphic Artist Ms Rhythm Bowers Graphic Artist Monique Davis Voiceover Talent Ms Madra Cochrane Project Manager and Caidyn Zuri Aloma Jones Creative Consultant We also wish to thank Walden University who sponsored the research project through a 2018 Faculty Research Initiative Grant Dr Avon HartJohnson is the Principle Researcher for this project and currently a contributing faculty member at Walden University She is the author

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Truth and The Big Dinner Finding a Silver Lining When a Parent Goes to Prison ISBN 978 0 9967410 2 6 Copyright 2019 by Renata Hedrington Jones All rights reserved This edition is published by DC Project Connect in arrangement with Extant One Publishing Inc and Renata Hedrington Jones Avon Hart Johnson Publications LLC All rights reserved 9103 Woodmore Centre Drive Lanham MD 20706 USA www dcprojectconnect com www mystoryandme com Internal Layout Printed by Anointed Press Graphics Inc 11191 Crain Highway Cheltenham MD 20623 301 782 2285 www anointedpressgraphics com PROOF OF APGI Illustrated by Miki Gilmore www mikigilmore com This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information regarding the subject matter covered It is distributed with the understanding that the author and publishers are not engaged in rendering psychological financial legal or other professional services If expert assistance or counseling is needed the services of a competent professional should be sought All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopy recording or any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author and publisher Printed Published in the United States of America First Paperback Edition eBook Edition Illustrations by Miki Gilmore eBook voiceover by Monique Davis Cover by Miki Gilmore Creative Consultant Caidyn Zuri Aloma Jones 1 Study Aids Self Help 2 Family Relationships Parental Incarceration Grief and Loss Coping Acknowledgments This Children s book is a part of a project we affectionately call The Storybook Research Project Through focus groups and individual interviews held in the Washington D C Maryland and Virginia area our research team gained a breadth of knowledge about communication between parents caregivers and their children regarding parental incarceration Insights lessons learned and tips from parents and caregivers who participated in the study are integrated in our website resources for families and children As we continue our quest to bring about social change that renders healing for those affected by mass incarceration we offer our thanks to the countless families who in the midst of their own perils were willing to contribute to research in hopes that their contributions will yield such interventions as our children s books We also acknowledge the following individuals who contributed to the Storybook Research Project and ultimately made this project a success Dr Avon Hart Johnson Author Principle Researcher Dr Renata Hedrington Jones Author Co Principle Researcher Dr Geoffrey Johnson Author Co Principle Researcher Dr Brenda Fawcett Child Psychologist Ms Miki Gilmore Web Developer Graphic Artist Ms Rhythm Bowers Graphic Artist Monique Davis Voiceover Talent Ms Madra Cochrane Project Manager and Caidyn Zuri Aloma Jones Creative Consultant We also wish to thank Walden University who sponsored the research project through a 2018 Faculty Research Initiative Grant Dr Avon HartJohnson is the Principle Researcher for this project and currently a contributing faculty member at Walden University She is the author

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of Baby Star Finds Happy Dr Geoffrey Johnson Co Principle Researcher is the author of Rocko s Guitar Dr Renata HedringtonJones Co Principle Researcher is a core faculty member at Walden University She is the author of this book Truth and the Big Dinner PROOF OF APGI Introduction According to the American Civil Liberties Union since the 1970s the number of Americans incarcerated in federal and state prisons as well as local jails increased by 700 ACLU 2019 i One of the collateral consequences of this phenomenon has been the adverse impact on children leaving parents and caregivers at the forefront to address these issues without adequate intervention While there are a growing number of resources available for families affected by incarceration less attention is paid to how tools such as storybooks can be used as creative interventions to support affected children Parental incarceration is now considered an adverse childhood experience ACE Nearly a decade ago the U S Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged that 50 of children who witnessed a parent s arrest were under seven 7 years of age HHS 2001 ii Today incarceration rates have declined slightly but tailored interventions to address the legacy of mass incarceration have lagged far behind This book is designed for adults to read to their children 10 years of age and under Parents and caregivers are encouraged to use this book and the website to create an interactive experience with children A child s opportunity to discuss his or her feelings with an understanding adult may play a critical role in supporting healing and building resilience in these young people While this book was written for parents and caregivers the text can be used by helping professionals as one of many integrative modalities While stories about incarceration may not take the place of professional intervention by trained professionals they can serve as a starting point for discussion about the unaddressed

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of Baby Star Finds Happy Dr Geoffrey Johnson Co Principle Researcher is the author of Rocko s Guitar Dr Renata HedringtonJones Co Principle Researcher is a core faculty member at Walden University She is the author of this book Truth and the Big Dinner PROOF OF APGI Introduction According to the American Civil Liberties Union since the 1970s the number of Americans incarcerated in federal and state prisons as well as local jails increased by 700 ACLU 2019 i One of the collateral consequences of this phenomenon has been the adverse impact on children leaving parents and caregivers at the forefront to address these issues without adequate intervention While there are a growing number of resources available for families affected by incarceration less attention is paid to how tools such as storybooks can be used as creative interventions to support affected children Parental incarceration is now considered an adverse childhood experience ACE Nearly a decade ago the U S Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged that 50 of children who witnessed a parent s arrest were under seven 7 years of age HHS 2001 ii Today incarceration rates have declined slightly but tailored interventions to address the legacy of mass incarceration have lagged far behind This book is designed for adults to read to their children 10 years of age and under Parents and caregivers are encouraged to use this book and the website to create an interactive experience with children A child s opportunity to discuss his or her feelings with an understanding adult may play a critical role in supporting healing and building resilience in these young people While this book was written for parents and caregivers the text can be used by helping professionals as one of many integrative modalities While stories about incarceration may not take the place of professional intervention by trained professionals they can serve as a starting point for discussion about the unaddressed

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emotions and feelings children may suppress when a parent is incarcerated Supporting material to accompany this book along with discussion guides activity sheets and resources for parents and children can be found at https www mystoryandme com Notes ____________________________________________________________________ ACLU 2019 Mass Incarceration Retrieve from https www aclu org issues smart justice mass incarceration i U S Department of Health and Human Services HHS 2001 From prison to home The effect of incarceration and reentry on children families and communities Retrieved from https aspe hhs gov basic report effects parental incarceration youngchildren The ii PROOF OF APGI Let s Begin PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 9

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emotions and feelings children may suppress when a parent is incarcerated Supporting material to accompany this book along with discussion guides activity sheets and resources for parents and children can be found at https www mystoryandme com Notes ____________________________________________________________________ ACLU 2019 Mass Incarceration Retrieve from https www aclu org issues smart justice mass incarceration i U S Department of Health and Human Services HHS 2001 From prison to home The effect of incarceration and reentry on children families and communities Retrieved from https aspe hhs gov basic report effects parental incarceration youngchildren The ii PROOF OF APGI Let s Begin PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 9

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Truth s whole family prepared for The Big Dinner Truth was seven years old and extremely excited about the upcoming family dinner at Auntie Lou Lou s house All the family members would be there PROOF OF APGI The family all lived in the same town but they didn t have big dinners together often That s why this dinner was so special The night before the big dinner Truth thought I am so excited about the big dinner that I can t sleep PROOF OF APGI Late that night Truth climbed out of her bed in the darkness and tiptoed to the mirror She looked in the mirror using a flashlight under her chin and tried to imagine a hairstyle for the big event Truth noticed that she looked like her mother beautiful with lovely hair In the morning she would ask her Auntie to style her hair She would be just as pretty as all the other girls in the family That night Truth dreamed of how beautiful she would look for the big dinner Truth and The Big Dinner 11

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Truth s whole family prepared for The Big Dinner Truth was seven years old and extremely excited about the upcoming family dinner at Auntie Lou Lou s house All the family members would be there PROOF OF APGI The family all lived in the same town but they didn t have big dinners together often That s why this dinner was so special The night before the big dinner Truth thought I am so excited about the big dinner that I can t sleep PROOF OF APGI Late that night Truth climbed out of her bed in the darkness and tiptoed to the mirror She looked in the mirror using a flashlight under her chin and tried to imagine a hairstyle for the big event Truth noticed that she looked like her mother beautiful with lovely hair In the morning she would ask her Auntie to style her hair She would be just as pretty as all the other girls in the family That night Truth dreamed of how beautiful she would look for the big dinner Truth and The Big Dinner 11

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When morning came Truth woke to the smell of food that her Auntie Ellen was cooking for the big dinner Auntie Ellen had pots and pans filled with food She was busy creating her favorite recipes This made her very happy PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 13

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When morning came Truth woke to the smell of food that her Auntie Ellen was cooking for the big dinner Auntie Ellen had pots and pans filled with food She was busy creating her favorite recipes This made her very happy PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 13

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Truth and her momma lived with Auntie Ellen in a purple house Auntie Lou Lou lived in a yellow house next door where the big dinner would be held That morning of the big dinner Truth could smell the food in the summer air coming from both houses PROOF OF APGI Truth s momma her Auntie Ellen and Auntie Lou Lou were her favorite people Auntie Lou Lou was indeed like a second mother to Truth even though she lived in the house next door PROOF OF APGI Long ago Auntie Lou Lou gave Truth her name and jokingly explained The truth is better than a lie On the morning of the big dinner Truth said to Auntie Ellen I haven t seen my momma in a while Auntie Ellen said Sometimes your momma doesn t come home because she doesn t want to hear me yell Truth thought to herself Yell about what Truth and The Big Dinner 15

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Truth and her momma lived with Auntie Ellen in a purple house Auntie Lou Lou lived in a yellow house next door where the big dinner would be held That morning of the big dinner Truth could smell the food in the summer air coming from both houses PROOF OF APGI Truth s momma her Auntie Ellen and Auntie Lou Lou were her favorite people Auntie Lou Lou was indeed like a second mother to Truth even though she lived in the house next door PROOF OF APGI Long ago Auntie Lou Lou gave Truth her name and jokingly explained The truth is better than a lie On the morning of the big dinner Truth said to Auntie Ellen I haven t seen my momma in a while Auntie Ellen said Sometimes your momma doesn t come home because she doesn t want to hear me yell Truth thought to herself Yell about what Truth and The Big Dinner 15

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Finally Auntie Ellen said it was time to get dressed and to style Truth s hair She styled it just the way Truth had imagined it in the mirror the night before Her hair was beautiful PROOF OF APGI Truth believed that she looked more beautiful than all her cousins combined and even prettier than her Aunties and the other grownups in the family Even her dress was beautiful Purple was Truth s favorite color PROOF OF APGI Truth proudly skipped over to Auntie Lou Lou s house to wait for the family to arrive Truth and The Big Dinner 17

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Finally Auntie Ellen said it was time to get dressed and to style Truth s hair She styled it just the way Truth had imagined it in the mirror the night before Her hair was beautiful PROOF OF APGI Truth believed that she looked more beautiful than all her cousins combined and even prettier than her Aunties and the other grownups in the family Even her dress was beautiful Purple was Truth s favorite color PROOF OF APGI Truth proudly skipped over to Auntie Lou Lou s house to wait for the family to arrive Truth and The Big Dinner 17

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Truth looked out the window of the home to see who else was coming to dinner She saw a van coming down the street Truth said I hope it is Big Mama Big Mamma had a big van because she used it to carry her wheelchair Sometimes Big Mamma would give Truth a ride on her motorized wheelchair PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth shouted throughout the house It s Big Mama and Uncle Dee This is the best day ever My cousins and family are arriving and Momma should be here soon too Momma had better hurry so she won t be late for dinner Oh my goodness the food smells so good Truth and The Big Dinner 19

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Truth looked out the window of the home to see who else was coming to dinner She saw a van coming down the street Truth said I hope it is Big Mama Big Mamma had a big van because she used it to carry her wheelchair Sometimes Big Mamma would give Truth a ride on her motorized wheelchair PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth shouted throughout the house It s Big Mama and Uncle Dee This is the best day ever My cousins and family are arriving and Momma should be here soon too Momma had better hurry so she won t be late for dinner Oh my goodness the food smells so good Truth and The Big Dinner 19

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Just then Uncle Nat walked through the door asking Where do I put the ice cream machine Truth was beyond excited She loved homemade ice cream and loved to watch the ice cream being made She remembered that it always tasted so good Truth went back to the window wondering aloud Where is my momma She never misses a family dinner PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI This is the biggest dinner we have ever had and it s not even Thanksgiving Momma must arrive soon Truth thought about the exciting day s activities We will jump rope play hopscotch and marbles too My momma better hurry and get here She always wins when we play fun games Right in the middle of Truth s daydream Big Mama startled everyone catching them all off guard with her loud strong voice as she called everyone to prepare for dinner Everyone laughed No one dared to challenge Big Mamma I may not be able to catch you from my wheelchair but my words will sting like a bee All the family laughed when Big Mama said that especially her statement sting like a bee Truth and The Big Dinner 21

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Just then Uncle Nat walked through the door asking Where do I put the ice cream machine Truth was beyond excited She loved homemade ice cream and loved to watch the ice cream being made She remembered that it always tasted so good Truth went back to the window wondering aloud Where is my momma She never misses a family dinner PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI This is the biggest dinner we have ever had and it s not even Thanksgiving Momma must arrive soon Truth thought about the exciting day s activities We will jump rope play hopscotch and marbles too My momma better hurry and get here She always wins when we play fun games Right in the middle of Truth s daydream Big Mama startled everyone catching them all off guard with her loud strong voice as she called everyone to prepare for dinner Everyone laughed No one dared to challenge Big Mamma I may not be able to catch you from my wheelchair but my words will sting like a bee All the family laughed when Big Mama said that especially her statement sting like a bee Truth and The Big Dinner 21

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The aunties started setting the table Truth was finally ready to have the big dinner with her family all the people she loved so dearly Looking at the place settings Truth asked her aunties Where is my mom No one answered They just looked concerned Momma must be running late Truth thought to herself PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Later Auntie Ellen and Grandma Alice came into the house carrying more food and deserts They were laughing so loudly and so hard that everyone else in the room started laughing too without knowing what was so funny When Truth looked around all she could see was happiness in the family yet she was missing her momma Truth and The Big Dinner 23

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The aunties started setting the table Truth was finally ready to have the big dinner with her family all the people she loved so dearly Looking at the place settings Truth asked her aunties Where is my mom No one answered They just looked concerned Momma must be running late Truth thought to herself PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Later Auntie Ellen and Grandma Alice came into the house carrying more food and deserts They were laughing so loudly and so hard that everyone else in the room started laughing too without knowing what was so funny When Truth looked around all she could see was happiness in the family yet she was missing her momma Truth and The Big Dinner 23

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While the table was being set Truth played with her cousins She suddenly asked within earshot of the other family members I wonder how long it s going to be before my momma comes home Even though everyone heard her no one answered they just looked at each other PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 25

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While the table was being set Truth played with her cousins She suddenly asked within earshot of the other family members I wonder how long it s going to be before my momma comes home Even though everyone heard her no one answered they just looked at each other PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 25

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Finally Auntie Lou Lou asked all the family to be seated at the table She looked at everyone around the table and said It s time for a family talk Her tone of voice was serious and she was concerned about what she was about to say PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 27

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Finally Auntie Lou Lou asked all the family to be seated at the table She looked at everyone around the table and said It s time for a family talk Her tone of voice was serious and she was concerned about what she was about to say PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 27

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Auntie Lou Lou looked at the adults in the room and said We are going to tell Truth the truth Truth was confused She thought Tell me what PROOF OF APGI Then Auntie Lou Lou turned to Truth and said Baby do you know the difference between the truth and a lie PROOF OF APGI Truth said Yes Ma am The truth is what you say when you are talking about something that is real Truth and The Big Dinner 29

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Auntie Lou Lou looked at the adults in the room and said We are going to tell Truth the truth Truth was confused She thought Tell me what PROOF OF APGI Then Auntie Lou Lou turned to Truth and said Baby do you know the difference between the truth and a lie PROOF OF APGI Truth said Yes Ma am The truth is what you say when you are talking about something that is real Truth and The Big Dinner 29

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Auntie Lou Lou said Sometimes telling the truth makes us feel uncomfortable Sometimes the truth also hurts There are people who love you very much and believe that they can protect you by not sharing the truth They do not want you to feel bad or to be afraid so they avoid telling the truth Do you understand that PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth nodded her head yes The other children sat quietly listening too Auntie Lou Lou smiled This made Truth feel comfortable Then Auntie Lou Lou continued Truth do you know what consequences are Truth said Yes we face consequences in Girl Scouts when we don t complete our projects Auntie Lou Lou said Yes Truth that s right And Do you know what choices are Truth said Yes but not really Truth and The Big Dinner 31

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Auntie Lou Lou said Sometimes telling the truth makes us feel uncomfortable Sometimes the truth also hurts There are people who love you very much and believe that they can protect you by not sharing the truth They do not want you to feel bad or to be afraid so they avoid telling the truth Do you understand that PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Truth nodded her head yes The other children sat quietly listening too Auntie Lou Lou smiled This made Truth feel comfortable Then Auntie Lou Lou continued Truth do you know what consequences are Truth said Yes we face consequences in Girl Scouts when we don t complete our projects Auntie Lou Lou said Yes Truth that s right And Do you know what choices are Truth said Yes but not really Truth and The Big Dinner 31

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Auntie Lou Lou continued Sometimes you eat too much candy and your tummy hurts That is because it is a bad choice to eat too much Truth said I understand The consequence of eating too much candy is a tummy ache PROOF OF APGI Even though Truth understood what Auntie Lou Lou was saying she became confused and frustrated Why is everyone talking about truth and lies she asked I just want to know when my momma is coming home No one has told me when my momma is coming to dinner I even heard Cousin Mabel in the kitchen when she said my momma can t come home unless she breaks through the bars at the jail Auntie Lou Lou said You should not have heard about your momma that way We should have told you Auntie Lou Lou said Truth we want you to be happy We want our young people to Truth and The Big Dinner 32 be happy and not worry about us older people Truth said Auntie Lou Lou I love being with you and all my family Auntie Lou Lou then said to Truth We apologize and we are sorry for not telling you the truth about your momma PROOF OF APGI We apologize because we told you a lie rather than the truth We were trying to make you feel better because your mom has not been home Truth your momma won t be coming to dinner today Truth was sad Remember when we talked about choices Auntie Lou Lou said Well your mom didn t make the right choices and now she is in a place called jail We don t know how long she will be there But we will always love you and take care of you while your momma is away Do you understand that Truth Truth and The Big Dinner 33

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Auntie Lou Lou continued Sometimes you eat too much candy and your tummy hurts That is because it is a bad choice to eat too much Truth said I understand The consequence of eating too much candy is a tummy ache PROOF OF APGI Even though Truth understood what Auntie Lou Lou was saying she became confused and frustrated Why is everyone talking about truth and lies she asked I just want to know when my momma is coming home No one has told me when my momma is coming to dinner I even heard Cousin Mabel in the kitchen when she said my momma can t come home unless she breaks through the bars at the jail Auntie Lou Lou said You should not have heard about your momma that way We should have told you Auntie Lou Lou said Truth we want you to be happy We want our young people to Truth and The Big Dinner 32 be happy and not worry about us older people Truth said Auntie Lou Lou I love being with you and all my family Auntie Lou Lou then said to Truth We apologize and we are sorry for not telling you the truth about your momma PROOF OF APGI We apologize because we told you a lie rather than the truth We were trying to make you feel better because your mom has not been home Truth your momma won t be coming to dinner today Truth was sad Remember when we talked about choices Auntie Lou Lou said Well your mom didn t make the right choices and now she is in a place called jail We don t know how long she will be there But we will always love you and take care of you while your momma is away Do you understand that Truth Truth and The Big Dinner 33

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Truth in all her pretty curls and pretty dress broke down and cried in front of everyone Auntie Lou Lou and both grandmas all hugged her together Each in their own way said Truth we will be with you always Your family loves you PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Auntie Lou Lou said to Truth I know this is a lot of information We can continue to talk about it We don t know all the details about your mom But you can keep in touch by writing letters You can color pictures and even speak with your momma on the phone We do not want you to worry Instead we want you to do all the happy and fun things little princesses do Truth and The Big Dinner 35

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Truth in all her pretty curls and pretty dress broke down and cried in front of everyone Auntie Lou Lou and both grandmas all hugged her together Each in their own way said Truth we will be with you always Your family loves you PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Auntie Lou Lou said to Truth I know this is a lot of information We can continue to talk about it We don t know all the details about your mom But you can keep in touch by writing letters You can color pictures and even speak with your momma on the phone We do not want you to worry Instead we want you to do all the happy and fun things little princesses do Truth and The Big Dinner 35

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Then Truth felt better She wiped her eyes and thought about all that had been said She asked her Auntie May I call my momma now Auntie Ellen quickly answered Truth your momma is supposed to call us this evening PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 37

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Then Truth felt better She wiped her eyes and thought about all that had been said She asked her Auntie May I call my momma now Auntie Ellen quickly answered Truth your momma is supposed to call us this evening PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 37

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Later the phone rang and one of the grandmas answered the call It was a collect call from the jail Grandma said Truth it s your momma Truth ran to the phone PROOF OF APGI Hello Momma Truth said I am sorry you are not here with the family today for the big dinner Auntie Lou Lou Auntie Ellen and Grandma Alice sat me down and explained that you would be away for a while They also told me they were sorry for not telling me the truth PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 39

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Later the phone rang and one of the grandmas answered the call It was a collect call from the jail Grandma said Truth it s your momma Truth ran to the phone PROOF OF APGI Hello Momma Truth said I am sorry you are not here with the family today for the big dinner Auntie Lou Lou Auntie Ellen and Grandma Alice sat me down and explained that you would be away for a while They also told me they were sorry for not telling me the truth PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 39

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Momma don t worry about me I know you love me and will be home one day I will be good I am a big girl I am seven years old I have learned about lies and the truth Oh Momma I am going to try to always tell the truth because it feels a lot better PROOF OF APGI Then Truth asked her momma so many questions Momma why did the police put you in jail Her momma answered I didn t obey the rules Then Truth asked Were they mean to you Momma replied No they were professional Truth asked Mommy did you know you did not obey the rules Her Momma said Yes but I ignored the rules Now being here is the consequence of making poor choices Truth I should have told you the truth I am sorry Truth and The Big Dinner 40 Then Truth said to her momma Thank you for telling me the truth I love you Truth continued to talk about the big dinner with her mom PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 41

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Momma don t worry about me I know you love me and will be home one day I will be good I am a big girl I am seven years old I have learned about lies and the truth Oh Momma I am going to try to always tell the truth because it feels a lot better PROOF OF APGI Then Truth asked her momma so many questions Momma why did the police put you in jail Her momma answered I didn t obey the rules Then Truth asked Were they mean to you Momma replied No they were professional Truth asked Mommy did you know you did not obey the rules Her Momma said Yes but I ignored the rules Now being here is the consequence of making poor choices Truth I should have told you the truth I am sorry Truth and The Big Dinner 40 Then Truth said to her momma Thank you for telling me the truth I love you Truth continued to talk about the big dinner with her mom PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 41

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Truth eagerly shared Uncle Dee and Uncle Nat made homemade ice cream and as soon as I finish talking to you we will have dinner and afterwards eat the best ice cream ever In saying goodbye Truth gave her mom a big air kiss PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Finally the family finished the big dinner and Truth ran to get her ice cream Truth was once again excited and happy Auntie Lou Lou looked at the family gathered in the dining area and after a big deep sigh she said to all of the relatives and especially to the grandmothers What is important is that we keep our little ones safe and remind them that we are one big supportive family and they are loved Truth and The Big Dinner 43

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Truth eagerly shared Uncle Dee and Uncle Nat made homemade ice cream and as soon as I finish talking to you we will have dinner and afterwards eat the best ice cream ever In saying goodbye Truth gave her mom a big air kiss PROOF OF APGI PROOF OF APGI Finally the family finished the big dinner and Truth ran to get her ice cream Truth was once again excited and happy Auntie Lou Lou looked at the family gathered in the dining area and after a big deep sigh she said to all of the relatives and especially to the grandmothers What is important is that we keep our little ones safe and remind them that we are one big supportive family and they are loved Truth and The Big Dinner 43

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Uncle Dee added We are family and while we may still make some mistakes sometimes in not telling the truth we have good intentions It is our love that binds us together Truth was surrounded by all her many uncles aunts cousins and the rest of the family She thought to herself The love of family is so important Truth knew in her heart that she was still missing her momma But she felt happy to learn that her momma would be coming home one day and that her family s love would help her to overcome the absence Yes the big dinner was wonderful but most important Truth had learned the lessons of truth consequences honesty and the enduring love of family PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 44 The End PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 45

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Uncle Dee added We are family and while we may still make some mistakes sometimes in not telling the truth we have good intentions It is our love that binds us together Truth was surrounded by all her many uncles aunts cousins and the rest of the family She thought to herself The love of family is so important Truth knew in her heart that she was still missing her momma But she felt happy to learn that her momma would be coming home one day and that her family s love would help her to overcome the absence Yes the big dinner was wonderful but most important Truth had learned the lessons of truth consequences honesty and the enduring love of family PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 44 The End PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 45

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Note from the Author As adults we impress upon children the importance of telling the truth However telling young children the truth can be difficult and sensitive At times we even grapple with using the word lie and instead we use euphemisms such as telling a story or I told a white lie However when using the word lie we can begin to teach children the language of admitting when something is not truthful Yes the adage the truth will set you free might be a wise analogy for honest discussions Conversely the truth hurts might provide reasons or an excuse to avoid difficult discussions PROOF OF APGI Telling children the truth about difficult topics such as parental incarceration may require bravery and courage Yet as with Truth s family sometimes our best intentions may not be the best approach We may influence children s lives more than we know As they grow and develop it is important that adults model ways to help children to cope with conflict and challenging life events Further it is helpful to also model ways to convey the truth s even when it hurts PROOF OF APGI It is unclear what long term impacts may arise from not being honest with children Therefore it may be wise to debunk the myths regarding the truth hurts Working through these dilemmas of truth telling can bring about an improved life for children and the family system Further the idea of family as a village may extend toward healthy and healthier communities To each parent caregiver and helping professional practitioner Truth and The Big Dinner 47

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Note from the Author As adults we impress upon children the importance of telling the truth However telling young children the truth can be difficult and sensitive At times we even grapple with using the word lie and instead we use euphemisms such as telling a story or I told a white lie However when using the word lie we can begin to teach children the language of admitting when something is not truthful Yes the adage the truth will set you free might be a wise analogy for honest discussions Conversely the truth hurts might provide reasons or an excuse to avoid difficult discussions PROOF OF APGI Telling children the truth about difficult topics such as parental incarceration may require bravery and courage Yet as with Truth s family sometimes our best intentions may not be the best approach We may influence children s lives more than we know As they grow and develop it is important that adults model ways to help children to cope with conflict and challenging life events Further it is helpful to also model ways to convey the truth s even when it hurts PROOF OF APGI It is unclear what long term impacts may arise from not being honest with children Therefore it may be wise to debunk the myths regarding the truth hurts Working through these dilemmas of truth telling can bring about an improved life for children and the family system Further the idea of family as a village may extend toward healthy and healthier communities To each parent caregiver and helping professional practitioner Truth and The Big Dinner 47

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who share this book with children you possess the potential to affect children positively Perhaps this text can be used to generate conversations that will serve to uplift our children from pain and sorrow and feelings of confusion and emotional conflict It is my hope that this book in some way contributes to your efforts to help children become wonderful individuals who develop ethics of truth transparency and honesty throughout their lives PROOF OF APGI Stories as Intervention Stories historically have been used to help children and adults find meaning in certain life experiences Truth and the Big Dinner is designed to assist those who care for children with an incarcerated parent with tools to help them understand they are not isolated or alone Children like the fictional character Truth may need tools such as storybooks to help them understand and process emotions Books such as this can help children to better understand family dynamics during difficult times such as parental incarceration Children who are affected by the traumatizing experience of parental incarceration may not be able to articulate their feelings associated with separation and loss In their minds they may have lost a parent and possibly more They may not be fully equipped socially emotionally or developmentally to express their feelings PROOF OF APGI The activities designed as companion resources for this book can be used to help children externalize their feelings These resources can be used to help children give voice through nonverbal activities such as drawing engaging in a scavenger hunt and using other creative activities offered in the companion resources link on our website https mystoryandme com Remember to always consult with a helping professional if you think that your child is in need of psychiatric or mental health support Truth and The Big Dinner 48 Truth and The Big Dinner 49

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who share this book with children you possess the potential to affect children positively Perhaps this text can be used to generate conversations that will serve to uplift our children from pain and sorrow and feelings of confusion and emotional conflict It is my hope that this book in some way contributes to your efforts to help children become wonderful individuals who develop ethics of truth transparency and honesty throughout their lives PROOF OF APGI Stories as Intervention Stories historically have been used to help children and adults find meaning in certain life experiences Truth and the Big Dinner is designed to assist those who care for children with an incarcerated parent with tools to help them understand they are not isolated or alone Children like the fictional character Truth may need tools such as storybooks to help them understand and process emotions Books such as this can help children to better understand family dynamics during difficult times such as parental incarceration Children who are affected by the traumatizing experience of parental incarceration may not be able to articulate their feelings associated with separation and loss In their minds they may have lost a parent and possibly more They may not be fully equipped socially emotionally or developmentally to express their feelings PROOF OF APGI The activities designed as companion resources for this book can be used to help children externalize their feelings These resources can be used to help children give voice through nonverbal activities such as drawing engaging in a scavenger hunt and using other creative activities offered in the companion resources link on our website https mystoryandme com Remember to always consult with a helping professional if you think that your child is in need of psychiatric or mental health support Truth and The Big Dinner 48 Truth and The Big Dinner 49

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We hope that when parents and caregivers use this book to read and discuss with their children it may lead to young children learning to see life events as they are and not a problem that they have created themselves We hope that they then can begin to make meaning of their lives and develop resilience Respectfully Dr Geoffrey Johnson Co Principle Researcher and author of Rocko s Guitar Dr Avon Hart Johnson Principle Researcher and author of Baby Star Finds Happy Dr Renata Hedrington Jones Co Principle Researcher and author of Truth and The Big Dinner The Storybook Research Project Team Authors shown left to right respectively PROOF OF APGI About the Author Dr Renata A Hedrington Jones is originally from Chicago Il and is a product Washington DC Public Schools She is currently a resident in central Virginia She is married to Lonnie Jones Sr and has three adult children Lonnie Jr Larena Charles and Miyah She is the proud grandmother Umi of the most beautiful grand children in n the world Caidyn and Sundiata Cooking is her personal therapy and her passion She is the daughter of Claudius E Hedrington Sr and Ellen Norman Hedrington She believes in family and the love of family Dr Hedrington Jones earned her doctorate in Human Services Administration at Walden University She is also a charter member of the Tau Upsilon Alpha Alpha Chi Chapter Walden University Human Services Honor Society earned MSW at Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond VA with a focus in School Social Work and Micro Social Work attended Virginia Intermont College and received a BA in Social Work While an undergrad student her love and passion for social work began She is interested in Family Preservation Children and Families the School to Prison Pipeline and Mass Incarceration The demise of the family is obvious in our society today However she also finds that those families who have experienced a parental incarceration experiences are impacted greatly She strongly believes and asserts that we can make a difference if we investigate explore and determine what we must do to impact social change in this area PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 50 Truth and The Big Dinner 51

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We hope that when parents and caregivers use this book to read and discuss with their children it may lead to young children learning to see life events as they are and not a problem that they have created themselves We hope that they then can begin to make meaning of their lives and develop resilience Respectfully Dr Geoffrey Johnson Co Principle Researcher and author of Rocko s Guitar Dr Avon Hart Johnson Principle Researcher and author of Baby Star Finds Happy Dr Renata Hedrington Jones Co Principle Researcher and author of Truth and The Big Dinner The Storybook Research Project Team Authors shown left to right respectively PROOF OF APGI About the Author Dr Renata A Hedrington Jones is originally from Chicago Il and is a product Washington DC Public Schools She is currently a resident in central Virginia She is married to Lonnie Jones Sr and has three adult children Lonnie Jr Larena Charles and Miyah She is the proud grandmother Umi of the most beautiful grand children in n the world Caidyn and Sundiata Cooking is her personal therapy and her passion She is the daughter of Claudius E Hedrington Sr and Ellen Norman Hedrington She believes in family and the love of family Dr Hedrington Jones earned her doctorate in Human Services Administration at Walden University She is also a charter member of the Tau Upsilon Alpha Alpha Chi Chapter Walden University Human Services Honor Society earned MSW at Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond VA with a focus in School Social Work and Micro Social Work attended Virginia Intermont College and received a BA in Social Work While an undergrad student her love and passion for social work began She is interested in Family Preservation Children and Families the School to Prison Pipeline and Mass Incarceration The demise of the family is obvious in our society today However she also finds that those families who have experienced a parental incarceration experiences are impacted greatly She strongly believes and asserts that we can make a difference if we investigate explore and determine what we must do to impact social change in this area PROOF OF APGI Truth and The Big Dinner 50 Truth and The Big Dinner 51

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Dr Hedrington Jones was employed in the public education arena for 30 years Her career began as a Licensed School Social Worker then promoted to Senior School Social Worker earned a promotion to Specialists and retired as Coordinator Medicaid Special Projects As a school social worker she served as a lobbyist for the RAVT VVT SSW Richmond Association of Visiting Teachers School Social Workers Virginia Association of Visiting Teachers School Social Workers SSWAA School Social Worker Association of America PROOF OF APGI Prior to the school system she was employed in mental health as a Transition Specialists and a residential supervisor for the mentally ill She also worked as an Adoption Social Worker In this position she facilitated groups for prospective adoptive parents counseled children in preparation of adoption served as social worker to parents placing their children up for adoption and as a clinical social worker in the counseling and mental health department She worked in the Department of Corrections as a project supervisor which is equivalent to a correctional officer as a Correctional Institutional Rehabilitative Counselor and as a Correctional Institutional Rehabilitative Supervisor She also volunteers facilitating parenting groups Dr Hedrington Jones continue to serve the community by sitting on various boards involved with social issues and social change She is also a Core Faculty member at her Alma Mater Walden University Black Social Workers It is with this organization of dedicated social workers that she fuels her fire for the people she loves and know that A Change is Gonna Come She is a member of the Richmond Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc where she is an involved member who takes Delta s initiatives seriously and to heart She is also working with the Delta Research Education Foundation by being the Virginia Representative along with Danielle Miles Arlington Alumnae and the DMV as they work diligently to implement the DTEC DTAG initiative to impact the inequities in public education PROOF OF APGI Dr Hedrington Jones was awarded the Nia Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of Black Social Workers in April 2018 at the 50th Anniversary of this illustrious organization Dr Hedrington Jones is a member of the Richmond Association of Truth and The Big Dinner 52 Truth and The Big Dinner 53

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Dr Hedrington Jones was employed in the public education arena for 30 years Her career began as a Licensed School Social Worker then promoted to Senior School Social Worker earned a promotion to Specialists and retired as Coordinator Medicaid Special Projects As a school social worker she served as a lobbyist for the RAVT VVT SSW Richmond Association of Visiting Teachers School Social Workers Virginia Association of Visiting Teachers School Social Workers SSWAA School Social Worker Association of America PROOF OF APGI Prior to the school system she was employed in mental health as a Transition Specialists and a residential supervisor for the mentally ill She also worked as an Adoption Social Worker In this position she facilitated groups for prospective adoptive parents counseled children in preparation of adoption served as social worker to parents placing their children up for adoption and as a clinical social worker in the counseling and mental health department She worked in the Department of Corrections as a project supervisor which is equivalent to a correctional officer as a Correctional Institutional Rehabilitative Counselor and as a Correctional Institutional Rehabilitative Supervisor She also volunteers facilitating parenting groups Dr Hedrington Jones continue to serve the community by sitting on various boards involved with social issues and social change She is also a Core Faculty member at her Alma Mater Walden University Black Social Workers It is with this organization of dedicated social workers that she fuels her fire for the people she loves and know that A Change is Gonna Come She is a member of the Richmond Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc where she is an involved member who takes Delta s initiatives seriously and to heart She is also working with the Delta Research Education Foundation by being the Virginia Representative along with Danielle Miles Arlington Alumnae and the DMV as they work diligently to implement the DTEC DTAG initiative to impact the inequities in public education PROOF OF APGI Dr Hedrington Jones was awarded the Nia Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of Black Social Workers in April 2018 at the 50th Anniversary of this illustrious organization Dr Hedrington Jones is a member of the Richmond Association of Truth and The Big Dinner 52 Truth and The Big Dinner 53

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