More than 2.7 million children in America have a parent in prison. When a parent is incarcerated it can be very difficult to explain that to a child. This unique coloring book was created to serve as a conversation starter between adults who plan to talk about parental incarceration with affected children. The Prison Alphabet allows each letter of the alphabet to serve as a topic of discussion. By using the letters of the alphabet, this book is a child-friendly approach to helping young children begin to understand what is going on behind bars with their parent or family member. The motivation for this coloring book emerged from Dr. Bahiyyah M. Muhammad's recognition that children with parents in prison have many questions about what prison life is like. During her extensive interviews with children of the incarcerated, children voiced their curiosity and concern about the daily lives of their loved ones. Specially developed books such as The Prison Alphabet can empower children to gain a better understanding of the experience of their loved ones behind bars, show children with parents in prison that they are t alone, and provide resources for caretakers to use to create opportunities to openly discuss the child's feelings and help them cope with their parents' absence. The Prison Alphabet is divided into two sections: The first section is a coloring book and uses the letters of the alphabet, from A thru Z, to explain in a child-friendly manner what life is like inside a prison using terms associated with incarceration. The second section of the book contains a discussion guide to help caretakers and counselors explain parental incarceration to a young child by providing sample responses to children's commonly asked questions about life inside prison. The Prison Alphabet contains illustrations depicting ethnically diverse characters and can therefore be used by any race or gender. Furthermore, it provides opportunities to discuss maternal, paternal and/or familial incarceration. This is the first book in the Project Iron Kids series. Established in 2013, Project Iron Kids is an initiative to increase the number of books for children of the incarcerated.
Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammad is an assistant professor of criminology at Howard University in Washington, DC. Bahiyyah has interviewed more than 500 children of the incarcerated and presented her research findings throughout the nation. Dr. Muhammad's ethnographic dissertation titled Exploring the Silence Among Children of Prisoners was groundbreaking in that it provided a well-rounded picture of the experiences of children in their own words. Most recently, Mrs. Muhammad is working as Principle Investigator on a research project titled Far From The Tree: Resilient Children of Incarcerated Parents. This project highlights the remarkable experiences among children and young adults who have managed to succeed in light of parental incarceration. This study depicts real-world examples of children Dr. Muhammad defines as being Iron Kids. Muntaquim Muhammad is an international philanthropist who has spent his life working to promote the welfare of impoverished children from Newark, New Jersey to Guguletu, South Africa. Currently, Muntaquim works as Road Manager to actor Michael K. Williams, known as Omar on HBO's The Wire and Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire. Throughout Mr. Muhammad's lifetime, he has aided children in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Prague, Cape Town, and Dubai. Most recently, Muntaquim is working alongside his wife Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammad with Freedom Productions to create a documentary film about children of incarcerated parents. Mr. and Mrs. Muhammad's next book 100 Questions Children of Incarcerated Parents Ask will be published Spring 2014.
Dr Bahiyyah Muhammad, Muntaquim Muhammad
Goldest Karat Publishing
Date of Publication
Paperback / softback
Novelty & Activity Books
Country of Publication
Goldest Karat Publishing
black & white illustrations
Trade paperback (US),Unsewn / adhesive bound,Coloring / join-the-dot book