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Books Behind Bars In Needham, Mass.

In 2004, I started a project called A Book from Mom that provides incarcerated mothers with brand new children's books to give as gifts to their children during prison visits.

A Book from Mom helps strengthen the parent-child bond while a mother is away, seeks to increase literacy in both mother and child, and helps ease the tension of prison visits.

In its nine years, the project has placed more than 20,000 brand new books on prison shelves in Massachusetts and has inspired someone else to expand the program to a women's prison in Arizona.

Elizabeth Jane Handel (abookfrommom@gmail.com) graduated from Barnard College in May. She listens to WBUR.

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