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books, Uncategorized

Snow Day: a modern Hansel and Gretel tale

It may be fall, but Snow Day is now available! This is my latest book for Teacher Created Materials, and it was a blast to write. Because it’s based on my actual children and Buffalo weather, this one’s even more special to me. Here’s the overview:

Snow Day
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This early chapter book features full-color illustrations to capture the attention of 4th-6th grade children who enjoy modern retellings of classic tales. In this spin on Hansel and Gretel, Lia and Tim are playing outside on a snow day when they get lost in the woods. They find a candy shop owned by the mysterious Mr. Gretel, who gives them as much candy as they can eat. But they’ll have to rely on their own smarts when it comes to getting home! Kids will be captivated by this fast-paced adventure story that appeals to reluctant readers.

Should you read it, or any of my work, I’d love to hear your reactions.

 

books, Childhood Cancer

Will Jax Be Home for Thanksgiving?

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As such, I want to let you know about a new picture book coming out this November: Will Jax Be Home for Thanksgiving? Written by Samarrah Fine Clayman and illustrated by Amy Preveza, this tender story showcases the love a sister holds for her younger brother, who has a brain tumor.

Jax Cover

Will Jax Be Home for Thanksgiving? is told through the older sister’s point of view, a perspective often lost when families are dealing with the pain and worry over a child undergoing cancer treatment. The short, inquisitive sentences and descriptions are realistic: “Are the doctors nice?” “Will you be home for Thanksgiving?” “The next week, Mom and Dad keep taking turns sleeping at the hospital.”

If you are looking for a book for siblings of childhood cancer patients, this is a good one to explain what could happen with family dynamics. Given a scary environment filled with changes and uncertainty, Clayman’s child-friendly language and Preveza’s bright colors make for an optimistic, hopeful read.

Further, Clayman writes with authority on the subject, as she pulls from her own experience. In 2017, her 23-month-old son was diagnosed with an ependymoma, a rare brain tumor found mainly in young children. While the treatment involves surgery and radiation, the tumor can often reoccur, and there is no cure. For this reason, she and her husband created The Ependymoma Research Foundation, and all profits from the sale of this book will be donated there.

For more information on the author, visit www.SamarrahFineClayman.org.

For more information on the illustrator, visit www.amypreveza.com.

Children with Incarcerated Parents, Criminal Justice, Parenting, Uncategorized

Visiting Prison: The Endless Wait

I published an essay with The Osborne Association as part of their #SeeUsSupportUs campaign.

This one’s about the degrading treatment one receives when visiting a loved one in prison. If you haven’t joined #SeeUsSupportUs already, please consider doing so to support families coping with having an incarcerated loved one.

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Here’s the beginning of the essay:

I got the feeling nobody wanted to be at Clinton Correctional Facility in the summer of 2003. Not the guards. Not the incarcerated. Certainly not me. Yet my sister and I drove there for the weekend because we wanted to see our dad for the first time in years.

The Sunday of that visit, we arrived at 7:45am in hopes of getting in at 8:30—we had a seven-hour drive back to Buffalo and wanted to leave by noon. We received visitor pass #56.

There were no signs telling us where to go, where to wait, what to do. Just a room of silent women, some with children, some itching to go outside and smoke.

To read the rest, go to http://www.osborneny.org/news/voices-from-see-us-support-us-pamela-brunskill/.

 

Children with Incarcerated Parents, Criminal Justice, Uncategorized

Family Separation Because of Incarceration and Detention at the Border Is Taking a Toll on Children

“Whether separated due to immigration or incarceration, these children are in limbo.”

I have a new article on Teen Vogue this week that compares the long-term effects the trauma children at the border are facing to the trauma children with incarcerated parents face. Can the empathy shown towards children at the border be extended to children with incarcerated parents?

Click here to read the article!

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acceptance, shame

The Long-Term Effects of My Father’s Actions (HuffPost Personal)

I published an essay on HuffPost Personal this week:

My Dad Killed Two People When I Was 15. Here’s Why I’m Finally Ready to Accept Him.

In my struggle to disassociate myself from him, I had dehumanized myself.

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