The Children's Book Bank

Mental Health Story Time Program

The Children’s Book Bank provides free books and literacy support to children living in high-needs neighbourhoods across Toronto. Since 2008, the Book Bank has operated a beautiful storefront space located in the Regent Park neighbourhood which welcomes school and camp groups as well as families and their children to listen to stories, browse our collection, and choose a favourite book to take home to keep. In 2022, the Book Bank moved to Daniels Spectrum, in the heart of Regent Park. In 2021, The Children’s Book Bank gave away nearly 110,000 donated books. The purpose of The Children’s Book Bank is to provide equal access to books for all children in Toronto, thereby improving literacy rates and socioeconomic outcomes. According to a study by Frontier College, “Higher literacy can boost the economic and financial success of individuals and the economy as a whole. It can reduce poverty, improve health, lift community engagement and lead to a higher standard of living. In fact, it is hard to identify any other single issue that can have such a large payoff to individuals, the economy and society.”

Since March 2020, the Book Bank has taken a targeted approach to addressing children’s mental health by offering mental health story times as part of our regular Saturday programming. The goal of these story times is to raise awareness in young children about the importance of mental health, breaking taboos surrounding these subjects, and creating dialogues outside of our storefront, while simultaneously taking part in an act that is known for its mental health benefits: listening to stories.

Project Initiation




Organization Website

“The pandemic created an array of challenges for front-line organizations like ours: how to deliver our services during lockdowns and other periods of enforced social distancing? The level of engagement in our online Mental Health Storytimes program came as a welcome surprise for me and I was humbled by how clearly valued they were to those who volunteered to present and read stories on the selected topics as well as those who tuned-in to watch. Families genuinely felt supported by the opportunity to see familiar Book Bank volunteers talking and reading about the challenges all of us were facing. The Mental Health Storytimes has continued in-person since we've been able to reopen, and we're so grateful to AMDF for supporting this program."

Mary Ladky

Executive Director