Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Andrew Welsh

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Debra Langan


Children of parental incarceration are often forgotten victims and have been noted to experience collateral consequences such as stigma, poor mental health, and isolation. Since children are often forgotten, there is a lack of information regarding their experiences, what resources are available to them, and whether or not these resources intended to be beneficial. One of the resources that are available to children, caregivers, and other adults are children’s books regarding parental incarceration. To determine whether or not these children's books act as a guide, this study examined the content and illustrations of 19 children’s books on parental incarceration. The goal of this study was to see how these books aligned with theory. More specifically, stigma theory played an important role as it provided concepts when I theorized my data so that I could evaluate whether, how, and to what extent the content of the children’s books seeks to counteract the stigmatizing process that children experience. Based on my analysis, the stories and illustrations in the children’s books served a purpose of educating children, caregivers, and other adults on what parental incarceration is like and the different types of strategies used to help children cope with their experiences. However, based on my analysis, there also seems to be gaps from real-life negative experiences with parental incarceration. As such, these books are a starting point for children, caregivers, and other adults but is not the only support that children need to deal with parental incarceration. Therefore, this research contributes to the existing research on parental incarceration and the resources available to children to help them cope.

Convocation Year


Included in

Criminology Commons