June 2018

Book Clubs for Inmates June Update

Dear friends,

Now that it’s time for a summer break, most of our volunteers are saying good-bye to the members of our 30 book clubs across the country. They’ll reconvene in September. To that end, most of our book orders are in (thank you Anita and First Book Canada), and the books have been safely delivered and stored until fall. The clubs’ choices range widely, but you may be interested to know that the top three book picks for next year are:

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Seven Fallen FeathersRacism, Death & Hard Truths In A Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Are We Smart Enough To know How Smart Animals Are by Frances de Waal

Scholarship Student Report: Thanks to your continued support, we are able to give small scholarships to some of our “graduates” as they pursue academic studies. They do well. We just got news, for example, of S’s marks for his first year of law school: five A’s, including an A+, and two B’s. We are very proud of him!

New Book Clubs
The addition of two new clubs this spring shows how book clubs for inmates helps fill a huge need. 

(1) Cowansville Institution QC Book Club: Situated in the eastern townships, this club of 12 long-term members (and a waiting list) is now under the umbrella of BCFI. The volunteers report that the group has sophisticated literary tastes and is an extremely dedicated group of men who love to read and discuss. This is our third book club in Quebec.

(2) Elizabeth Fry Toronto Community Book Club: One of two community book clubs, this one opened in June with members who live inside E. Fry halfway house and some who were recently released into the community. Many were book club members “inside” who wanted to keep the book club experience going. We’re very grateful to E. Fry for providing the book club with a comfortable place to gather and delicious refreshments. 

Na-Me-Res Toronto Community Book Club 
The other community-based book club, also in Toronto, is in an Indigenous residence, Na-Me-Res. It is a multi-faceted housing, support, and cultural residence for Indigenous men, many of whom have come into conflict with the law. The book club was started about a year ago and has a core of committed members and three volunteers who engage with wisdom and enthusiasm around books and issues pertinent to the lives of these men.

Our volunteers are the backbone of our organization. Without their dedication and kindness, we could not function. And without our donors, we wouldn’t exist. So, on behalf of all the participants of Book Clubs for Inmates, thank you, thank you for making these clubs places of healing and hope. You are special people. 

And to all we say, have a wonderful summer, happy reading and see you in September! 

The BCFI team