In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 10, the last day of Children’s Book Week 2015, the Children’s Book Council (CBC) is partnering with The unPrison Project — a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to empowering and mentoring women in prison, while raising awareness of their families’ needs — to create brand-new libraries of books for incarcerated mothers to read with their babies at prison nurseries in 10 states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, New York, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Seventeen of the CBC’s member publishers have joined this meaningful endeavor by donating copies of 45 hand-picked titles for children ages 0-18 months for each library.
The books will be paired with simple interactive reading guides— fostering mother-child dialogue and bonding — and will be hand-delivered and organized in the nurseries by Deborah Jiang-Stein, founder of The unPrison Project and author of Prison Baby.
Jiang-Stein was born in prison to a heroin-addicted mother, and has made it her mission to empower and mentor women and girls in prison. Fifteen additional titles have also been donated by these publishers to stock visiting room libraries for inmates and their older children.
CBC members participating in the effort are:
- ABRAMS Books for Young Readers
- Candlewick Press
- Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
- Creston Books
- Disney Publishing Worldwide
- Finding My Way Books
- Five Star Publications, Inc.
- HarperCollins Children’s Books
- Holiday House, Inc.
- Kane Miller, a division of EDC Publishing
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- National Geographic Kids
- Nobrow (Flying Eye Books)
- Penguin Young Readers Group (Nancy Paulsen Books)
- Random House Children’s Books
- Scholastic, Inc.
- The RoadRunner Press
“Of the 200,000 women in prison in the United States, 80 percent have children. Reading together can be one of the most powerful ways for mothers and their children to stay connected during a prison sentence, but visiting rooms in prisons are vastly underserved and books are hard to come by,” says Deborah Jiang-Stein, founder of The unPrison Project. “These prison-nursery libraries will fill that void for mothers and their babies.”
“This year, Mother’s Day falls on the last day of Children’s Book Week, May 4-10. This project will bring much-needed books to mothers and their children — a fitting capstone to the week-long celebration of literacy,” says Jon Colman, Executive Director of the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader.