How books behind bars are changing lives

Lockdown takes on an entirely different meaning for those behind bars. Reliant upon family members and friends visiting, as well as services such as the gym or library, over the past months of the pandemic these vital lifelines have all but dried up.

A charity called Give a Book have worked hard to provide books to those in prison in place of libraries, for example delivering books direct to cells and setting up virtual book groups with discussion questions. They are also providing prisoners with children’s books that they can share with their children during phone or video calls as well as books to send out to their kids with notes inside from the parent. One branch of this charity is Prison Reading Groups that is helping inmates to stay connected through a weekly sheet that is distributed, containing poems, short stories and trivia.

It is so heartening to hear about initiatives such as these. We all know the power of reading – how it can connect us, make us more empathic and help us to see the world through someone else’s eyes. And for those already isolated, books and reading could be one of the greatest gifts of them all.

Do read more about Give a Book and Prison Reading Groups through the above links and learn more about their amazing work and how you can get involved.

Rebecca Stonehill

To compliment this blog post, read about ripples of kindness, starting at the library & a love letter I wrote to public libraries.

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