Visiting Day

Visiting Day

Book - 2002
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A young girl and her grandmother visit the girl's father in prison.
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Press, c2002
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780590552622
0590552627
9780590400053
0590400053
Branch Call Number: E WOO
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 29 cm
Additional Contributors: Ransome, James - Illustrator

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KathyMcMullen
Oct 30, 2017

Visiting Day is the story of an African-American girl who is readying for her monthly trip to the prison to visit her dad. The story opens with the girl waking. Today is visiting day. She has saved up a month's worth of happenings in her life to tell her dad. The girl's grandmother, who will accompany her, will bring sweet potato pie and other home-cooked foods to share with the others on the bus ride to the prison. The other visitors will bring dishes to share as well. The trip to the prison will be made into a kind of party.

In her mind's eye, the girl sees her dad getting ready for the visit. He buttons on his khaki-colored shirt. The other men look on. They, too, wish they had visitors coming.

The bus load of visitors arrive. We see the fortress-like building surrounded by fencing, concertina wire, and guard towers. In the visiting room, the girl's dad embraces her and lifts her high. The story concludes with the girl and her grandmother telling themselves that one day the girl's dad will be free. The girl and her grandmother will see Dad every day.

I thought the story was strong for many reasons. 1. it shows what it is like for kids who have a parent in prison. 2. it illustrates what it means to live with hope. 3. The story also shows love in action. The girl and her grandmother make this difficult journey every month. They turn a sad occasion into a joyous one. Never do the grandmother or the girl dwell on the dad's shortcomings, never do they spend time blaming the dad or the system. They simply do their best to navigate a difficult situation.

Woodson also does all of this in very economical fashion. I think the story is no more than 20 pages, possibly fewer. Check it out if you can.

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