Children's book drive is under way for incarcerated parents in Tulsa

A children's book drive in Oklahoma City is benefiting a Tulsa County jail program.
by Robert Medley Published: May 29, 2012

Bedtime stories can help children stay connected to a mother who is in jail.

But there is a need for more books — particularly bilingual and Spanish books — for mothers to read on audiotape.

The children can follow along, and listening to Mom read improves their reading, said the Rev. Ed Light, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City.

The northwest Oklahoma City church is helping collect books to send to the Tulsa County jail for its bedtime stories program.

“When a parent is incarcerated, you have a child who is left without a parent,” Light said.

“Parents and adults reading with children is extremely important and makes a huge impact on kids' lives, improves their grades and attitudes.”

Light said the need for such a program is great in Oklahoma, which has the highest number of incarcerated women in the nation on a per capita basis.

“I can see how there is a huge need,” Light said.

“It gives children a connection to their mother.”

More than 20 United Methodist churches in Oklahoma have helped collect books for the Tulsa jail program, said Mike Hardgrove, chaplain and program director.

There is a constant need for more books — new or used — so parents can read different stories for their children.

“The purpose is for us to help in a small way to maintain the relationship between the parent and the child while the parent is here in jail,” Hardgrove said.

by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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Donate books

Books are being collected at Grace United Methodist, 6316 N Tulsa Ave., for incarcerated parents in Tulsa County to read on tape for their children. Oklahoma City area residents can drop off children's books from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays or call 943-9683. Statewide, people can contact local United Methodist churches to see if they are collecting books for the Tulsa County jail program.

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