Dear Judge: Kid's Letters to the Judge
Palehorse Pub Incorporated, Jan 1, 2002 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 130 pages
"Dear Judge" is a moving, stunning, beautiful book that offers more insight into the hopes, fears, confusion, vulnerabilities, terrors, and needs of children than you are likely to read by any expert. A collection of real children's letters written to a custody judge (who could not use them as evidence in custody battles), these messages are honest and heart-rending in a way that only children can communicate. The letters range from short one sentence pleas to long, articulate reflections. All have one thing in common: they remind us of how powerfully children are affected by family conflict, particularly in situations where parents are undergoing difficult divorce. The irony is that the very family members who are most prone to suffer in a divorce are the ones most likely not to be heard. But this book contains about 100 letters that are more telling than any psychologist's evaluation or lawyer's argument. It is nearly impossible for me to list "favorites." Each one has its own voice and its own means of expressing the vulnerability of each writer, from a simple sad sentence of a lost child simply asking, "Dear Judge, "Are you there" to a report card issued by a child giving "grades" to the judge, mother, father, and attorneys involved in his/her family's divorce. There are enough unsatisfactories to warrant the whole bunch to get left back! If parents think they can fool their kids by lying or planting seeds of mistrust about the other parent or provide reasons why the child should feel good about living with him or her and NOT the other him or her, they will think twice after reading the wisdom in these pages. "Dear Judge" is an entirely different sort of book but one with a similar intent, that of seeing custody disputes from the child's point of view. Hardwick has compiled a selection of their actual letters to judges (whom they--usually!--hold in the highest regard) and published the letters in this little book. She has excluded those that are too heart-wrenching, or as she phrases it, are "too dispiriting to print." What the letters have in common is the innocent and (nearly!) guileless efforts of the children to have their voices heard.
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