, April 15, 2005
DEAR JUDGE broke my heart many times. I have never been through
a divorce or on any side of a custody battle, but I have seen
the long- and short-term effects on friends at school (from
elementary up through college), children I work with, and on my
own husband, who went through a very messy divorce and custody
battle between his parents, beginning at age 12.
Reading these plainly presented letters to a family court judge
from children of all ages, I found myself beginning to
understand what it must be like to be so powerless and so
scared. The letters come from children in situations ranging
from not-quite-right-anymore to terrifying and abusive, but the
reader gets the sense that all of these children have been
wronged in the same way: their true selves have been ignored.
Adults forget what it is like to be a child, and we also forget
that children notice and absorb nearly EVERYTHING we say and do.
These letters prove how much kids really know, and how much they
can teach their parents and caretakers, the justice system, and
society in general. All parents should read this book, most
particularly those who have divorced a spouse with whom they had
children. And older kids might benefit from these letters, too.
They might be helped by reading what other kids have gone
through, and knowing that they are not alone.
The book's format is very simple: two pages of introduction
telling why it was written, followed by over a hundred letters
to the judge. I thought initially that it might benefit from
some in-depth discussion and concrete suggestions for adults,
but perhaps that is best left to therapists and the deeper books
they write. These letters, unadorned, are incredibly powerful,
and if you have ever loved a child, they will touch your heart
and change the way you think about kids.
Sad, Distressing & Important
, April 14, 2005
(Calabasas, CA United States)
This book is touching and sad but also very important to read.
Parents doing through divorces are hurting their children for
the long term in so many ways. Listen to their voices in this
book, it's sad and touching. Divorce doesn't have to be this
reading for parents, judges, attorneys
, September 28, 2004
(Florida) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Filled with short letters from children to the judge, "Dear
Judge" will at times make you laugh and at times make you
believe in the family court system, but mostly it will point out
the ways the court system and parents fail to take a child into
consideration. When a young child has a question they generally
turn to their parents, but when the parents say they can't take
them somewhere, or see them more often, or otherwise satisfy the
needs of the child because the court system constrains them they
have to take other measures. These children took their pleas to
the judge. Encouraging, disheartening, and enlightening, "Dear
Judge" should be read by judges, parents, and attorneys alike.
the minds and mouths of the innocent
, September 11, 2003
Jeanne S, Krause
(Thousand Palms, CA United States)
Charlotte Hardwick has done a real service to families by
sharing these delightful letters from innocent children who find
themselves caught up in custody cases. If only parents could
read them BEFORE going to court.
I laughed; I cried; and I learned from the viewpoint of the
most innocent victims in custody cases--the children. "Dear
Judge" has earned a permanent place in my personal library.
I didn't know children saw so much.
, May 12, 2003
Reviewer: A reader
Great piece of work. I can see their faces and feel their hearts
in these letters. I wanted more and could not have handled more
at the same time. Buy this one and then try to keep your friends
from walking off with it.
anger, confusion, love, grief and hope
, January 12, 2003
(1st edition review)
(Middletown, DE USA) TOP 10 REVIEWER
This is a slim volume of actual letters written by children to
the judge in divorce/custody suits. It is a sad little
commentary in the real voices of those who are most hurt by
As a guide to parents facing separation, divorce, shared or
sole custody, or blended families, it is probably invaluable, as
well as being a very touching book to read. For anyone not in
those situations, whether judge, lawyer, caseworker or even just
a member of society watching families dissolve, this is a
education about the feelings of the most vulnerable members of
My favorite letter (among so many good ones):
....Grandpa said that just because my parents are big
that doesn't mean they are grown up.
He promised as soon as they are grown up they will take
care of me again. Grandma said he is telling me the truth.
And there are more letters equally meaningful. You don't want
to miss this book if you are facing family problems.
say the darndest things, September 21, 2004
Reviewer: Joanna Daneman (Middletown, DE USA)
TOP 10 REVIEWER
Kids write to judges about custody battles, divorce and other
family matters. The letters are real, compiled by Charlotte
Hardwick. The author says the letters deal with fear, anger,
confusion, love, grief and hope. One child writes
My stepdad explained the Justis Sistem (sic) to me. It
does not sound right."
The letters are short and pithy, or longer and amazingly
If any of these emotions are striking into the heart of your
family during a custody crisis or other family court matter,
this book is heartening reading. Pale Horse Publishing
specializes in books on family court matters.
thought these letters were out there, somewhere!
(Mission Viejo, CA)
Sometimes it takes weeks and months to build enough trust with a
child to get this kind of honestly felt comment. I had a notion
these letters were out there.
I have purchased Dear Judge in bulk and am handing it out to
parents the court has assigned to me for family evaluation.
I will put my personal favorite here...
Please have the valuator come back out to our house.
The day she came was not a day like all the rest. The
kitchen caught fire because my brother was trying to
make cheese grill sandwiches for us kids to eat so mom
could talk to the valuator. Tell Miss Hill the dog never
peed on anyone before and we will put him outside this
Yours truly, Bobby J.
This company deserves a 'Thank You' for taking the time to
present these letters in Dear Judge,.