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Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness

Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness

4.5 37
by Jack Canfield

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Previously available only through free distribution to prisons, this life-changing book is the result of charitable donations from sales of Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul and gifts from thousands of individuals.


Previously available only through free distribution to prisons, this life-changing book is the result of charitable donations from sales of Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul and gifts from thousands of individuals.

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Chicken Soup for the Soul
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Chicken Soup for the Soul Series
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3 MB

Read an Excerpt

The Sunray Catcher

Today, in the prison chow hall, I overheard a young female officer talking to another officer. She was talking about her special little girl. Seems this little girl was standing on the front seat of her car the other day, grabbing at the sunrays as they reflected off the windshield. When her mother asked her what she was doing, the little girl said she was trying to catch a sunray for her mom as a present. Both officers agreed on how special moments like that were. The other officer then asked if this mother got to spend time with her special little girl.

"No, but when my career gets back on track, I'll have more time to spend with her, when she is older," said the young mother. I wanted to scream and tell her that mother to spend every single second she possibly can with her child, but I couldn't. Maybe after you read what follows, you will better understand.

It's the awful truth, as it happened to me. It starts with an unwritten letter -- a letter I can never send:

Dear Kent,

As I look at you, I see your hair is nicely combed. I remember the hours and gallons of water we used, trying to train your hair. It always seemed to have a mind of its own. I can see that scar on your lip; hardly shows now, too. We were worried about that. You were such a brave little man when I took you to Dr. Nordquist to get those three stitches in it. I was the one who almost fainted when they started sticking you with that needle. The nurse even made me leave the room.

On the way home, I told you that you could have any treat you wanted, for being so brave. You wanted a cup of coffee, "Like big men drink," you said. My five-year-old little brave man, drinking coffee in the Rainbow Restaurant, just like big men. It was our secret; lucky Mom never found out, huh?

You have grown tall and nice looking. Grandpa always said you were going to be a big man. Guess what I'm proudest of in you? It's your kindness to all things. When we found out that your little dog, Porkchop, was epileptic, you were so happy that you cried. You had seen Porkchop have fits many times, and we were sure he would die. For three years after that, you faithfully gave Porkchop his pill every day.

I remember the day you helped me fix my pickup. We sure got greasy -- Mom wouldn't even let us in the house for lunch, but we fooled her. We went to the store and got a pizza, then lipped off to Mom and your two brothers, while eating it, still dirty. Yes, that was fun. We laughed a lot that day. I found out later that you did save a piece of pizza for your little brother; it was our secret too.

I've always been proud of you for so many reasons, Kent. Your silent kindness and strength, your loyalty, your soft heart, and secrets you shared with me. I remember how you used to lay across my lap with your shirt pulled up, exposing your bare back. I would trace my fingers lightly over your skin; it seemed to almost hypnotize you. I had done it many times when you were a baby, to get you to sleep when you weren't feeling good. Guess you just never grew out of liking it. I liked it too.

I remember the day I came to tell you that I was going away for a long time -- going to prison. You stood silently, listening with your head bowed and tears in your eyes, asking why. You hugged me and ran up into the woods, to your secret fort, crying. I cried too that day, Kent. I was ashamed of myself, and of breaking your heart.

You did write me and sent the colored pictures you drew in school. I had them on my cell wall for years, and yes, I bragged about them to my friends. I have lain awake many nights wondering who was teaching you to drive, who was your first girlfriend, and how I would tease you about her, as if I were right there with you. I'm sorry for missing so much of you, Kent.



As I stood looking at my special little boy, in a light gray coffin, I was dressed in bright orange coveralls. Prison guards were beside me. I wanted to reach out and touch him just once more, but the chains on my wrists wouldn't allow it.

It took a mortician to cover that cut on Kent's lip and get his hair to lay down. I'm so awfully sorry for missing the last eight years of Kent's life. If only I could have another chance to be the daddy he wanted me to be -- the daddy he deserved. If I could just tickle Kent's back once more, or share some secret with him, or tease him and hold him for just a few minutes. God, I would gladly die for the chance.

Kent was killed when he was crushed under a tractor in an accident near Kelso, Washington. He is buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, near the only tree there. So, if you are ever near that cemetery, and see a six-foot, five-inch, two hundred and seventy-pound beatup old man on his knees beside that grave, praying to God in shame, you will know why.

Hopefully you will better understand why I wish he could have read this letter, while he was alive. There are so many things I should have told him. So much time I should have spent with him.

If you have a special child in your life, please don't, for any reason, miss one single second with that child. Don't let what happened to me happen to you. Those moments are so awfully important.

To the lady officer, with the special little sunray catcher -- please believe me when I say, "For God's sake, spend every single precious moment with your child, now! This could be your last chance, because sometimes very special children don't get any older."

Ken "Duke" Monse'Broten

Reprinted by permission of Ken "Duke" Monse'Broten ¬1996. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Tom Lagana. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street,
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

Meet the Author

Jack Canfield is cocreator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, which includes forty New York Times bestsellers, and coauthor of The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. He is a leader in the field of personal transformation and peak performance and is currently CEO of the Canfield Training Group and Founder and Chairman of the Board of The Foundation for Self-Esteem. An internationally renowned corporate trainer and keynote speaker, he lives in Santa Barbara, California.
 Mark Victor Hansen is a co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Brief Biography

Santa Barbara, California
Date of Birth:
August 19, 1944
Place of Birth:
Fort Worth, Texas
B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973

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Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
ellsworth90 More than 1 year ago
After reading other "Chicken Soup" books I decided to send this book to my inmate son who has been very depressed. I thought it would be uplifting and purposeful. I didn't know, at the time that I could preview the book and read several pages. Upon doing so I emailed him and told him not to read it. Throw it away. It is the most depressing book I have read in a long time. The few pages I read had me in constant tears. This is not what I had planned for my son. While the stories may be true to life, he's miserable enough right now without reading about the tragedies of others. I DO NOT recommend this book unless you are trying to get your inmated loved one to committ suicide.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿m not an avid reader but out of the blue when library was announced on my prison¿s unit, I decided to make my second trip there in three years. As I was scanning the books much like the speed in which I would be shopping at a store, I came across 'Chicken Soup for the Prisoner¿s Soul.' I instantly was reminded of a previous time I was in prison and a guard used to read us 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' stories before bed. So I checked out the book, and as I was heading back to my cell I passed a 'tough guy' I¿d never talked to before in the hallway. He acknowledged the book in my hand and told me I¿d better get some tissues. I immediately saw his 'tough guy' mask fall to the floor and shatter. A personal lifelong question came to mind: Why can¿t people just be themselves? Anyway, the story I needed tissues for was the second one I¿d read, 'The Sunray Catcher.' I have three sons and have been writing and trying to see them with no luck since I¿ve been here. I think about them constantly and miss them terribly. My worst nightmare as a parent would be to have any of my children pass away, especially before I¿ve had the opportunity to express my love for them. Needless to say, this story still has me choked up. I¿ve learned a few lessons this time around. One of the biggest is never miss an opportunity to show or tell someone how much you love them. I¿m going to continue the book now, tissues are ready. It sure is a shame when kids are used as weapons against their fathers. I¿ve done all I feel I can do for now and that¿s to constantly pray. I¿ve enjoyed the book thus far and look forward to the rest. Thank you and God bless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading 'Chicken Soup for the Prisoner¿s Soul' has touched my heart. I got on my hands and knees and cried like a baby¿20 years of stored away tears came down my face, and I asked for forgiveness. I have not told anyone, but this book hit home.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My son is in prison. He was raised in church and Sunday School. He got away from the teachings of his youth and got into trouble. He called me when he first got to prison (March 2002)and told me about this book. He was reading it and it was like a medicine for him. I went to the book store and got a copy to read and I felt the same way. When I visit my son I see "mother's sons" and I know behind every one of these men is a story. This book has a healing effect for their heart and I thank God that it was written for the sometimes "forgotten" men and women that someone somewhere loves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿I just received my copy of Chicken Soup for the Prisoners Soul. What a beautiful book! I am the leader of Prison Fellowship Ministries at my church, and I am often questioned on this ministry I choose to serve. People don't question other ministries. If you help the elderly or people of poverty everyone pats you on the back. Our ministry is not as easily accepted. Many are baffled as to why anyone would bother. I¿m going to order a box of books for my volunteer group. It is a must for prison ministry volunteers! Plus I will keep a copy on hand at work. For now on when I am asked, 'Why,' I will loan out your book. Thank you so much for caring about the forgotten ones. It is actually a loved one in prison who told me about your book. He said it¿s helping him cope with doing his time.¿ Antonette Flamenco ~~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I simply love the Chicken Soup series of books. They are worth every moment spent reading each page. I'd also recommend that you buy "When God Stopped Keeping Score," another great book, which takes an eye opening look at forgiveness. Given the chance, it will change your life. It did that for me because I know that as the author says with anger, guilt, hurt and pain, not every prison comes with a matching set of bars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't even begin to do the Chicken Soup For The Soul series justice by trying to write a simple review for any of the books in the series. I have read so many of these books that we'd be here all day for me just to give you the names of the ones that I have read. Furthermore, I have given countless others away as gifts to family and friends. All I can say is that each book is everything that I expected and more. I would definitely recommend any one of the books in this series for you and/or someone that you love. For anyone who feels bound by their anger, guilt, hurt or pain, I also recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score." I thought that "When God Stopped Keeping Score" was just about overcoming forgiveness, I soon learned, it was about so much more than that. The author actually pulls back the curtain to his own life, to offer an intimate look at the true power of forgiveness and reveals the emotional price that you must be willing to pay to live without it. All of this, while still offering up interesting and often tear worthy stories that showed you just how you should deal with friends, family and more importantly, yourself when things do go wrong. The author more importantly reveals the key to keeping these relationships strong even in the face of adversity. Having read it, I feel like a better person. Maybe that's because this book spoke to me and not down to me. I have read a lot of books that was written like I didn't know anything. What the author of "When God Stopped Keeping Score" does is talk to you like a friend. I needed that. You will understand why when you read it for yourself. It is on sale here on BN.com.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always, Chicken Soup for Soul, published yet another wonderfully inspiring set of stories in Chicken Soup for the Prisoners Soul. I bought this for my brother who is in jail on a drug related crime and was in need of inspriation that not only is there actually some positives to his situation but this book also provided the motivation he so desperately needs to make positive changes in his life upon his release. It let him know that he's not alone in this experience and there is always hope when you place your Faith in God!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Allegiance More than 1 year ago
As the mother of one of the contributing authors I was deeply touched - not only by the poems my son wrote - but by so many other stories and poems. A great book... for yourself - or as a gift.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could have finished reading ¿Chicken Soup for the Prisoner¿s Soul¿ in one day, but I wanted it to last . . . it was that good. -- Anthony, inmate at North central Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My fiance was sentenced to 8 months in prison for something he didn't do. When he was in there, he was very angry at the world, depressed, jaded, and missed his 2 little boys and I horribly. I sent this book to him on a Wednesday, and when I heard from him 2 days later, he told me he had finished it. He told me it was the first book he'd read cover to cover since he was in school. He said everyone in jail or prison should read this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I noticed the book `Chicken Soup for the Prisoner¿s Soul¿ lying on the book shelf for several days before I finally decided to pick it up out of curiosity. I¿m very grateful to have found this book. I already know it¿s going to be my ace-in-the-hole on the hunt for material to use to help me with my self-awareness. It¿s very informative.¿
Guest More than 1 year ago
I sent this book to my young Grandson who is serving six months in prison for burglary. He told me he thought it was going to be boring but it was not. He enjoyed it and has passed it around to his friends and acquaintances. I am hoping it gives him encouragement to change his course in life. Everyone feels it is inspirational.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My son is incarcerated in Texas and one of the first books I sent him was 'Chicken Soup for the Prisoners Soul'. He received his signed copy the day the was transferred out. A two week process that is very trying to the newly incarcerated, as well as their family. It has helped us both through some dark times to learn that someone cared enough to write a book like this. An easy read that is touching as well as funny at times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿I purchased `Chicken Soup for the Prisoner¿s Soul¿ and had it sent to my fiancé. What an inspiration. He absolutely loves it¿ He has even ripped out pages from this book and sent them to me¿ha! Anyway I wanted to thank you for all your time and dedication to inmates.¿ Kellie Florida
Guest More than 1 year ago
As Chicken Soup can heal and warm you in time of illness, Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul can have a warm, healing quality and helps restore hope for individuals doing time as well as for their families and loved ones.