Storybook Parents

Service for families affected by incarceration

The Storybook Parents program connects incarcerated and recently released participants to the important children in their life through reading.

With the help of a librarian, participants are recorded reading an age-appropriate book out loud. The book and recording are then mailed to the child to listen and read along.

The Storybook Parents program is offered at the Toronto South Detention Centre and the Toronto East Detention Centre.

About the program

Parents or primary caregivers play a key role in developing their children’s reading skills. The Storybook Parents program allows incarcerated participants to be reading models for their children. This helps to promote reading and strengthen family bonds during a period of forced separation.

While Storybook Parents is designed to support young parents, TPL recognizes families of all shapes and sizes. Participants can be step-parents, grandparents, uncles, siblings, and godparents of all ages who wish to read to an important young one in their life.

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


Storybook Parents was introduced in 2011. By March 2023, we have recorded over 500 participants and mailed packages to over 800 children.

Storybook Parent’s recordings have reached children as far away as Egypt and Qatar.

"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 dad's voice and tries to read along."

- Anonymous participant

“it helps maintain and develop the bond shared amongst my children and I. It will probably make them feel closer to me, I know I feel closer to them. Knowing they can hear my voice with something so intimate.”

- Anonymous participant


For more information about Storybook Parents, contact