Dr. Dakota King-White is passionate about children succeeding and believes that all children can succeed if given the right tools and opportunities. According to the Pew Report published in 2013, there are more than 2.7 million children in the United States who have one parent currently serving time in prison. While conducting research in K-12 schools, Dr. King-White encountered a number of children who were suffering from parental incarceration and discovered the importance of providing them with an opportunity to communicate how that experience made them feel. It was from this research that she wrote her first children’s book “Oh No! When a Parent Goes Away.”
“This is a difficult subject to talk about and therefore unless we purposefully set out to help youth share their feelings, their reactions get bottled up and begin to emerge in unhealthy ways,” said Dr. King-White. “Oh No! When a Parent Goes Away” is an interactive book schools, parents, caregivers, counselors, agencies, and court systems can use to help guide children through the experience of sharing their emotions, either through pictures or words.
“My hope is that this book will provide a tool for families and schools to work with children while giving them a safe place to process their emotions,” said Dr. King-White. By using this book with children who have a parent in jail, they have an opportunity to recognize that the emotions they feel are in fact, quite normal. It is normal to be sad or anxious, fearful or angry and through the journal prompts within the book, children are encouraged to express their feelings. “When children who have a parent incarcerated don’t have a vehicle for verbalizing their feelings, they can become sullen or angry,” said Dr. King-White.
“Oh No! When a Parent Goes Away” is designed for elementary school-age students, six to 12 years old. Dr. King-White is also the co-founder of Making A Difference Consulting and is currently working on her follow-up book designed for teens in middle school and high school who are also struggling to come to terms with parental incarceration.
“Oh No! When a Parent Goes Away” is now available at Halo Publishing, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, in paperback for $19.95 and as an e-book for $9.99.
About Dr. Dakota King-White
Dr. Dakota King-White has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Counseling, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision. She has done extensive research on the impact of parental incarceration on children and the psychological, emotional, and behavioral effects of incarceration. Through her research, she has designed a group counseling curriculum for the children of incarcerated parents, which has been implemented in K-12 education. She has also designed a mental health model that is used in K-12 education to help address the mental health needs of students within the academic setting. The model utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to address mental health needs within schools. Dr. King-White is passionate about children succeeding and believes that ALL children can succeed if given the right tools and opportunities.