Urgent Appeal (June 2022)

We Need Books in the following Languages: Chinese, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Russian and Hungarian. All books must be soft covered.

Update June 2022: We are only accepting books on our wish list below. Please do not drop off other books as we cannot accept them at this time. Thank you.

Books we can’t accept

Unfortunately, there are many restrictions on what we can send to prisons. These are some of the most common things we can’t accept. These restrictions are subject to change at any time, and can differ from prison to prison.

  • Damaged books. Books should be in relatively good condition. No missing covers/pages, no highlighting/underlining, and the binding should be in good condition as well. If not, the prison officials will not accept them.
  • Hardcover books. Most prisons in Canada do not accept hardcover books so we prefer that you do not donate them. Also, hardcovers do weigh more and cost more for shipping.
  • Spiral-bound books.
  • Books on pornography.
  • Books on how to immobilize a person.
  • Canadian true crime books, if the subject(s) of the book(s) are presently in prison or on parole in Canada.
  • Books that critique Canadian police forces and carceral institutions. These are not officially banned, but most, if not all, Canadian prisons do not accept these. Sometimes this “ban” extends to critiques on USA’s prisons and police forces as well.
  • Other books can be banned as well but we have not been informed of the subject/titles at this time.

Books that are allowed

Just about anything else is allowed, including memoirs by prisoners.


What we are currently seeking is in constant flux. We post frequent updates on our Instagram account, including about new book requests. This is a short list of authors, titles, subjects, and genres that we are currently looking for.

Items in bold and highlighted are in high demand.


  • Colouring books
  • Art Instruction
    • Drawing
    • Tattoo designs
    • Lettering and/or calligraphy
    • Northwest Coast Indigenous Art
    • Musical composition
    • Drawing with pencil or ink pens
    • Watercolour
    • Acrylics
    • Shading
  • Organic chemistry (including textbooks)
  • Physics
    • Aerodynamics
  • Calculus
  • Mathematics
  • Geometry
  • Black history (especially Canadian)
  • Music and musicians (particularly rap and hip hop)
  • Writing/Composing music
  • First Nations
  • BC law books (old or new)
  • US law books (old or new)
  • Philosophy (by or about)
    • Fredriche Nietzsche
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    • Spinoza
    • Byung-Chul Han
    • and others
  • Psychology
    • Carl Jung (or books on tJungian psychology)
    • Gabor Maté
    • Self-harm
    • ADHD/Autism
  • Relationships (couples and families)
  • Mythology (Greek and/or Egyptian)
  • Astrology
  • Paganism
  • Wicca
  • Dream interpretation
  • Tai Chi
  • Hobbies
    • Origami
    • Gold panning
    • Musical instruments
  • Trades such as:
    • Construction
    • Masonry
    • Welding
    • Wiring
    • Electricity
    • Plumbing
    • attWoodworking
    • Home repair
    • Framing
    • Roofing
    • Boat building
    • General contracting
    • Tiling
    • Building small sheds
    • Blacksmithing (esp for beginners)
    • Cars/Automotive repair and mechanics
    • Small engine repair
    • Bicycle repair
    • And books on women in trades
  • Sports books, including how-to books, Yoga instruction
  • Books about athletes
  • Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook
  • Writing and/or publishing
  • Building small cabins
  • Permaculture
  • Goat farming
  • Landscaping
  • Dictionaries and thesauruses (English) – in particular, soft-cover English dictionaries
  • Dictionaries and rhyming dictionaries
  • Scrabble dictionaries
  • Medicine
  • Planes
  • Trains
  • Gems and geology
  • Geology in BC
  • Business (especially Canadian content)
  • Joke books
  • Guinness Book of World Records
  • Nature and animals (with photos)
  • Autobiographies on artists and musicians
  • Art
    • Mexican
    • Baroque
    • Salvador Dali
  • Fashion
  • Card tricks

Books in/about Other Languages

  • Tsilhqot’in
  • Nlaka’pamux
  • Any other Indigenous languages
  • Russian
  • Russian/English dictionary
  • Ukranian
  • Ukranian/English dictionary
  • Chinese
  • Chinese/English dictionary
  • Hungarian
  • Hungarian/English dictionary
  • Latin
  • Vietnamese (novels, non-fiction)
  • Tamil
  • Punjabi
  • German

Language Learning

  • French
  • Spanish
  • Hebrew
  • Japanese
  • Chinese


  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • Romance books by Black Authors
  • Alex Kershaw
  • Max Hastings
  • Robert K. Massie
  • Simon Sebag Montifiore
  • Anne Appelbaum
  • The book Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
  • Trinity by Leon Uris (or other books by this author)
  • Martin’s pocket criminal code books by Thomson Reuters 2022 
  • Alexandre Dumas
  • Jules Verne – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • Suzanne Collins – A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and The Hunger Games (Trilogy)
  • Stephen King (The Dark Tower Series)
  • Stephen King – On Writing
  • Joe Hill
  • Thich Nhat Hanh (any books)
  • Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching (any English translation)
  • Kim Stanley Robinson – 2140
  • Naomi Klein
  • Sista Souljah
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Letter to an incarcerated brother by Mike Tyson
  • To Die for the People by Huey P. Newton
  • Your Potential by Malachi Z. York
  • Chris Hedges
  • Christopher Paolini
  • Stuart Brown
  • Brene Brown
  • Rick Riordan
  • Ian Esslemont
  • Miyamoto Musashi
  • Japanese novelists in general
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  • The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
  • Harry Potter books
  • The Hollow (series) by Kim Harrison
  • The Voyager by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series book 3)
  • Caster Chronicle (series) by Kami Garcia
  • Ashley Antoinette
  • Theresa Allen
  • The Inner Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Vampire Academy (1-6) by Richelle Mean
  • Graphic novels by BIPOC authors
  • Ed Greenwood
  • CJ Box
  • James Paulson Brian’s Winter
  • Manga, Naruto, One Piece
  • For Dummies series
  • Peter Tremayne
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • Bernard Cornwell
  • Steve Martini
  • Jason Reynolds
  • Conn Iggulden
  • William W. Johnstone
  • David Gemmell
  • Robert Crais
  • James Clavell
  • Cassandra Clare
  • Douglas Preston
  • Mario Puzo
  • The Walking Dead (series)

Drop off books

Please drop off donations of books that meet the criteria above to Spartacus Books at 1983 Commercial Drive.

Shipping is our biggest expense. If you wish to donate money you can make out a cheque to Books to Prisoners and send it to us by mail:

Books to Prisoners
P.O. Box 78005
1755 East Broadway
Vancouver, BC  V5N 5W1

If you wish to donate money by e-transfer, please send it to