Very Well Done!
Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? is a one-of-a-kind children’s picture book for children struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one. This amazing story, written by Christiane Joy Allison and illustrated by Liz Shine, is scheduled for release in late 2017.
You can now PRE-ORDER copies of the book that are signed by the author and illustrator through this campaign!
Christiane and Liz have worked together on numerous projects in the past. They have an outstanding history working together, and are very excited to launch Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? as the first book in the Where Is Uncle? series; which will address other issues children face with the rightful or wrongful incarceration of a loved one.
In the story, Timmy and his little sister Kate are struggling with the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of their beloved, innocent Uncle. Inspired by the author’s real-life niece and nephew, Timmy and Kate walk-through experiences that are common to children in these types of tragedies. Timmy and Kate suddenly lose access to Uncle. They watch Auntie to go through the process of losing her home. Timmy eventually gets to visit Uncle, and ask the ever-present question, “Why can’t Uncle come home?”
The National Registry of Exonerations has tracked more than 2,000 exonerations of the innocent in the U.S. since 1989. The sad fact is, this is really only the tip of the iceberg in comparison to those who still sit in prison, unable to prove their innocence or overcome arbitrary rules of the court that keep them imprisoned. If only a single child was attached to each one of these individuals – not only as a parent but just as someone in their life who is important to them – we automatically know there are thousands of children across the world who have experienced wrongful conviction directly, and are still continuing to experience it. The average amount of time an innocent person spends in prison before being exonerated is eight years. That means these children are growing up with this as a defining part of reality in their childhood, and they need to know they’re not alone.
There are many people in the United States who are wrongfully convicted because the wrong person was accused of a crime. However, there are also many individuals wrongfully convicted for a crime that never actually occurred. Adults often struggle with how to explain these situations to their children. They may feel so wronged and wounded about the experience themselves, that they have a hard time putting into words the real reason their loved one cannot come back to them. This book aims to be able to have that conversation in a healthy way.
In our story, Mama uses the example of a vase that fell off of a shelf and broke to help Timmy and Kate understand what happened to Uncle. No one is actually at fault for the vase breaking, but Timmy blamed Kate because he knew that he wasn’t the culprit. Wrongful conviction is a really complex issue with many different causes, but this example simplifies the real problem in a way a child can understand. Ultimately, they know that Uncle has been blamed for something he didn’t really do, and that there are many people that love him who are working hard to help everyone else understand the truth.
Your donations will go directly to the costs of printing and distribution of the book. Whether you have a little or a lot to pledge to this critical project, there’s a whole menu of options to choose from! Lower-level awards allow you to PRE-ORDER copies of the book that are personally signed by both the author and the illustrator straight from the presses. Larger amounts allow you or your organization to be listed as a sponsor of the book with your name actually printed on the inside! Last but not least, the largest contribution category allows you to have a more direct and personal experience with the author.
Getting Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? out into the hands of the public is critical! Children all over the world have loved ones who are incarcerated, and an unknown number of those are actually wrongful convictions. It is our hope that Timmy and Kate will let these children know that there are others who understand what they’re going through. It doesn’t make it right, but can hopefully help them reorient their thoughts into how to stay positive, and how to help during the long period of time they will likely have to wait.
Risks and challenges
The manuscript is already finished, and the illustrations are underway. The book has already been assigned a PCN number through the Library of Congress. Vendors have been selected for printing and distribution, and we plan to have this book available by the end of 2017. The only foreseeable delay that could occur relates to the completion of the illustrations and final page layouts. However, at this time we do not have any concern about missing our deadlines.