Twice Upon A Time - Free Books for Ottawa Kids

Registered Name: Twice Upon A Time/Il Etait Deux Fois

Business Number: 803095777RR0001

Give the Gift of Literacy during COVID-19

Like many of our colleagues during COVID-19, we have had to suspend activity at most of our seven regular locations. But there is good news! Twice Upon a Time has teamed up with community health centres, literacy organizations and several community associations, all able to provide new and nearly new books directly to more than 300 families. And we can assure you that extensive and appropriate health safety protocols and procedures are being consistently employed by each group and Twice Upon a Time when distributing these books.

Partner organizations include: ALSO:Adult and Family Literacy, People Words & Change, Carlington Community Health Centre, Somerset West Community Health Centre-Rosemount, Ottawa Newcomer Health Centre, Southeast Ottawa Community Health Centre, Van Lang Fieldhouse (Westboro Community Association), Rochester Heights Community House, Overbrook Community Centre-Backpack Program. 

To make a donation go to: 



Our Mission:

We give books to children! We give new and nearly new books to children from birth to twelve years of age, to support literacy and foster a love of reading at home. 

Our Vision:

We create welcoming spaces and opportunities for children to have books of their own, for free, in order to improve their literacy skills, nurture their imaginations and bring a love of reading to their homes. 

The Twice Upon a Time 2020 annual Development Campaign is Kids Today! The most popular new children's books. (fund # 1) 

We are capping off the 2019 annual Development Campaign Joie de livre! French Books for Ottawa's Kids (fund # 2). In 2019 we were able to purchase $ 4,000 of new French books and invested an additional $ 600 for our Indigenous Materials Project (fund # 3) .  

Twice Upon a Time:  is a completely volunteer run organization. Children who visit our locations can choose a book for themselves to keep for free, each time they visit. Our books are received through donations and purchases, and are carefully sorted to ensure that the books we give to children are in new or near-new condition. Twice Upon a Time was founded in 2014 by a diverse group of volunteers who are passionate about early literacy and books. 

By making a financial donation to Twice Upon a Time , donors ensure that more books are inscribed by their new proud owners, and are read in the homes of some of the most vulnerable children in Ottawa. 

In non-COVID times, Twice Upon a Time volunteers visit the following community organizations on a regular basis. Children and parents served by these organizations can select free books to keep each time our volunteers visit.

We also have distributed children's books to families through the Vanier Children's Services , the  Children's Aid Society  and  Habitat for Humanity 

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What People Are Saying

"At our Boys and Girls Club bookstore, an Indigenous girl, age 7, whose family is from the north, found a book with an inukshuk on the cover and declared "This book is about my country". "

— Laura May, Twice Upon A Time, Volunteer and Member

"Your program is simply amazing... thank you so much for what you are doing for our members.. we only wish we could see you at our other locations. Thank you so much from our staff and our communities. "

— Adam Joiner, Director of Programs Boys and Girls Clubs of Ottawa | Rep

"A regular reader, a girl aged 10, came across the book "I Am Not A Number" by Jenny Kay Dupuis. She picked it up and said "I read this book! It's so important." (based on true story of a First Nations girl sent to residential school). She then found 4 of her friends and read the story to them. "

— Laura May, Twice Upon A Time, Volunteer and Member

" Imagine growing up without books. That is the experience of thousands of children in Ottawa whose parents cannot afford to buy books. Without a reliable supply of books in the home, bedtime stories don’t happen. And kids who are not read to at home struggle in school. "

— Leslie Toope, Twice Upon a Time Volunteer

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