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CJCJ team member creates uplifting children’s book about a boy who heals with his family’s help while his mom is far from home! Join author Renée Menart and community leaders for a hybrid event on Sunday, November 7th (11am — 12:30pm PST) at Manny’s café in San Francisco or virtually as we celebrate the release of a new children’s book.

The book is now available for paperback purchases and eBook pre-orders. (More buying options coming soon!) All author’s profits will be donated to organizations like CJCJ supporting families impacted by incarceration. Register for the family-friendly book launch event and share on Facebook!

THE BOOK: Demetri Makes a Memory Quilt is a children’s picture book that tells the story of a young boy whose mom is in prison. With the help of his family, he embarks on a creative healing process and explores ways to connect with his mom. Inspired by the author’s career in early childhood literacy and community-based alternatives to incarceration, this heartwarming story includes:

  • Empathy-building opportunities for all children
  • Rich and engaging vocabulary
  • Dignified characters and relationships
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) such as how to handle big emotions!

THE EVENT: This hybrid event will be virtual and in person at Manny’s, a community-focused café in San Francisco’s Mission District on Sunday, November 7th (11am — 12:30pm PST). In-person attendees must wear face masks and provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Register for the event to receive a video link for those who would like to tune in virtually from the comfort of their home. Event includes:

  • Entertaining book reading + craft activity (children welcome!)
  • Panel discussion on the impacts of family incarceration
  • Q&A with attendees
  • Book signing by author


Renée Menart, author of Demetri Makes a Memory Quilt: Renee is a passionate advocate for youth impacted by the legal system. She serves as a communications and policy analyst at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ). Renée grew up the youngest of six in a blended family that embraced creativity and compassion. When she is not writing stories, you can find her crafting, exploring nature, and working to keep families together!

Rebecca Jackson, Director of CJCJ’s Cameo House: Rebecca leads all Cameo House programming, operations, and services with strong will and dedication. She utilizes her direct experiences in the justice system to support homeless, justice-involved women and their children in San Francisco who are looking for the opportunity to change their lives just as she did. Previously, Rebecca worked with the Delancey Street Foundation for 12 years.

Watani Stiner, Civil Rights Activist: Watani is a speaker and activist in the Bay Area, who shares his experience reintegrating into society and back into the lives of his children after spending a total of 26 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He is a Board member of California Prison Focus and Root and Rebound. He works in schools using the power of storytelling to inspire young people to create meaningful social change.

THE COMMUNITY: Demetri Makes a Memory Quilt was created with support from formerly incarcerated mothers in CJCJ’s Cameo House. These collaborators were compensated for their time and insights, which helped develop key themes, dignified characters, and opportunities for family connection. This book was made possible with generous support from the Bay Area Inspire Awards, a community initiative administered by the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation.

THE IMPACT: Nearly 3 million children across the U.S. are navigating the painful experience of a parent’s incarceration. 1 in 9 Black children and 1 in 28 Latino children have experienced a parent’s incarceration, leaving communities of color disparately impacted. This book supports children’s development and helps reduce harmful stigma by opening up important discussions in families and communities.

Contact: Please reach out to renee@​cjcj.​org with any questions and check out www​.reneeme​nart​.com for more information.