Cover image for Visiting day
Visiting day
Woodson, Jacqueline.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
30 unnumbered pages ; 29 cm
A young girl and her grandmother visit the girl's father in prison.
Reading Level:
AD 1430 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 64191.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.9 1 Quiz: 31593 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson has written a poignant picture book about a little girl who waits hopefully for her father's release from prison.

Only on visiting day is there chicken frying in the kitchen at 6 a.m. And Grandma in her Sunday dress, humming soft and low,... As the little girl and her grandmother get ready for visiting day, her father, who adores her, is getting ready, too. The community of families who take the long bus ride upstate to visit loved ones share hope and give comfort to each other. Love knows no boundaries. Here is a story of strong families who understand the meaning of unconditional love.

Author Notes

Jacqueline Woodson was born in Columbus, Ohio on February 12, 1963. She received a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 1985. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a drama therapist for runaways and homeless children in New York City. Her books include The House You Pass on the Way, I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, Lena, and The Day You Begin. She won the Coretta Scott King Award in 2001 for Miracle's Boys. After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way won Newbery Honors. Brown Girl Dreaming won the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award in 2015. Her other awards include the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She was also selected as the Young People's Poet Laureate in 2015 by the Poetry Foundation.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K^-Gr. 2. In this hopeful book, Woodson and Ransome, both of whom have had a loved one behind bars, tell what it's like in this small slice of life presented through the eyes of an unnamed African American girl. When the smell of fried chicken seasons the air and her Grandma carefully braids her hair, the child knows that she's going "visiting" somewhere special. In another place, prison, Dad is getting ready, too--brushing his teeth and putting on a white shirt: "That pretty little girl of mine is coming today." The visit is sweet, heartfelt, and even idyllic, with the characters' love for one another the central theme of the story. Woodson eschew strident messages about breaking the law and judgments or discussion of why Dad is behind bars. In fact, the word prison never appears in the text, letting kids focus on the father and child's simple joy at being together. Ransome's muscular, unfussy paintings mostly radiate that joy, but there's also a subtle undercurrent of wistfulness in the child's expressions (she knows her dad will stay behind), and the views of families chatting and laughing stand in sharp contrast to the plain, perhaps more honest, views of the prison--barbed wire atop the outside walls and a uniformed guard in the visiting room. Little ones may not fully grasp these subtleties, but they'll surely feel the quiet shift in mood as Ransome's colors change. As the "Read-alikes" on the opposite page demonstrates, this isn't the first picture book about a child whose parent is behind bars, but it is unusual in that it beautifully opens out into a story about being separated from a loved one--and surely every child can identify with that. --Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

This poignant picture book chronicles a joyful girl narrator's hard-to-bear anticipation and special preparations for a journey with her grandmother to see her father. Both text and artwork keep the destination a mystery, wisely focusing instead on the excitement of the upcoming reunion. As Woodson's (The Other Side) rhythmic prose, punctuated by the refrain ("only on visiting day"), builds a sense of expectation, Ransome (Satchel Paige), too, underscores the build-up. Wordless spreads depict Grandma fixing the narrator's hair and the pair climbing aboard the bus. Meanwhile, the girl imagines her father making his own preparations. Ransome portrays a handsome man in khaki shirt and slacks; a calendar on the wall marks the days to his daughter's visit, hanging next to her artwork accented with red hearts. Ultimately, "the bus pulls up in front of a big old building where, as Grandma puts it, Daddy is doing a little time." Ransome shows barbed-wire atop high walls and a guard tower in stern relief against a perfect blue sky. Throughout, he uses a radiant, rich, marine blue (the bus's accents, the girl's dress and a prison guard's uniform) to contrast freedom and captivity. Told completely from a child's perspective, the narrative makes no judgment about what Daddy did or why he's incarcerated. A shared feeling of hope and family togetherness pervades each spread, from Grandma cooking fried chicken in the morning for the bus ride, to the narrator sitting down with crayons when she gets home to make Daddy more pictures. Any child who has been separated from a loved one can identify with the feelings of this winning heroine. Ages 4-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-A little girl shares a special day that starts early with Grandma frying chicken and braiding the child's hair. In quite another setting, her father is buttoning his plain white shirt against a plain blue-gray background decorated only by a child's drawings taped to the wall and a calendar marking off days. A bus takes Grandma and the narrator to a building with high walls and barbed wire where "Daddy is doing a little time." It's a happy visit until they must part and her father goes through one door with a guard standing by and the youngster is led away by her grandmother. Back home, she has her crayons out to make pictures for him and awaits his return. The text is spare, gentle, and reassuring, never mentioning the words crime or jail. Ransome's vibrant acrylic paintings fill each page at home with intense pinks, yellows, greens, and blues in contrast to the monotone hue of the prison walls. Both author and illustrator provide notes that relate this story to their own personal experiences. Use this book with children who have an incarcerated parent as well as with those who have no understanding at all about that painful separation. Woodson's Our Gracie Aunt (Hyperion, 2002) is about children separated from their jailed mother.-Susan Pine, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Only on Visiting Day is there chicken frying in the kitchen at 6 a.m. and Grandma humming soft and low, smiling her secret just-for-Daddy-and-me smile, and me lying me bed, smiling my just-for-Grandma-and-Daddy smile. And maybe Daddy is already up, brushing his teeth, combing his hair back, saying, "Yeah, that pretty little girl of mine is coming today," with all the men around him looking on jealous-like 'cause they wish they had a little girl of their own coming. Excerpted from Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.