Why free books?

One of the largest obstacles to literacy is a lack of access to books. While many families bring their children to the library, many do not. Vulnerable families may have difficulty getting to the library regularly, and worry about returning books on time or paying fines (though we are pleased to note that the Ottawa Public Library eliminated late fees in 2021). In some Ottawa neighbourhoods, schools are unable to schedule class visits to the public library due to lack of volunteer or staff resources.

Even if families are able to visit the library, it is still important for children to own books. Studies have shown that parents read more to their children when there are always books at home. Increased exposure to books improves early literacy skills, school readiness, and academic performance . Young children love to read the same books over and over again, and this repetition helps them internalize the patterns of language. All this is made possible when there are books consistently in the home. However, books are expensive. Statistics from the United Way show that 25% of children in Ottawa live in poverty. Twice Upon a Time helps these families give their children a rich literacy environment at home.

Learn more about the importance of book ownership.