Storybook Parents

Service for families affected by incarceration

Toronto Public Library runs the Storybook Parents program to connect incarcerated and recently released parents to their children through reading.

With the help of a librarian, participants choose an age-appropriate book to read aloud for their child. We help the participant make an audio recording of themselves reading the book. The book and recording are then mailed to the child, who can listen and read along.


Parents play a key role in developing their children’s reading skills. The Storybook Parents program allows incarcerated parents to be reading models for their children, promoting reading while strengthening their connection while the parent is incarcerated.

Storybook Parents is funded by the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy, a city-wide service plan that focuses on youth (ages 18 to 29) who are at the highest risk of involvement in serious violence or crime.


We have been operating this program since 2011. By January 2020, we recorded 445 participants and mailed packages to 701 children.

"the CD has had a positive impact on my daughter. She comes home from school and listens to it immediately each day. She's so happy to hear her dads voice and tries to read along."

- Anonymous participant

"I think this is an amazing gift to give anyone. Being inside, this helps me to give my children a piece of me whenever they want to hear from me."

- Anonymous participant


For more information about Storybook Parents, contact