Book Babies

Book Babies partners with families of Medicaid eligible children to develop their child’s early language and literacy skills. An evidence-informed literacy coaching partnership, Book Babies begins when a baby is born and is sustained over five years. Book Babies builds rich relationships and provides families with the information and resources they need to develop the foundation for their children’s school readiness and school success.

Click here to read our latest research and evaluation findings.


School readiness begins at birth

Book Babies partners with parents of newborns, equipping them with the tools they need to prepare their children for kindergarten and beyond.

Our groundbreaking, evidence-informed home visiting program provides quarterly customized literacy coaching and 20 new, age appropriate books to participating children and parents every year from birth until their children start kindergarten. Book Babies Literacy Coaches partner with parents of children ages 0 to 5 in two locations in North Carolina, Durham County and Forsyth County (with Imprints Cares). Together, literacy coaches and parents set literacy goals for their children, mark their progress as they prepare for school, and help ensure that they start kindergarten ready to learn.

  • With 80% of brain development occurring in the first three years, a home literacy environment and access to books starting at birth are essential to kindergarten readiness and long-term school success.
  • By the time a child graduates from Book Babies and starts kindergarten, she will have a home library of 100+ books and her parents will have received 16+ literacy coaching home visits.
  • In addition, we help parents connect with and support each other, building social capital; and we provide individualized coaching to navigate the transition to Pre-K, kindergarten, and beyond, helping parents engage with their children's teachers and schools.

See what a Book Babies home visit looks like in this two-minute video:


Book Babies Outcomes

Read our more recent research and evaluation findings:

  • Book Babies Randomized Control Study: 2021 Final Report, by Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., Ximena Franco, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator), and Fernando Andrade, Ph.D. from Equity Research Action Coalition at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute with The Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation
  • Book Babies Analysis of Parent Focus Groups, 2021, by Cristina Gillanders, Ph.D., University of Colorado Denver and Meytal Barak, MED, Book Babies
  • Book Babies Family Survey, 2020
Imner Cinto Isidro Cohort 2023

History of Book Babies

Book Babies launched in Durham County in 2013. In May 2018, our inaugural class of Book Babies graduated from the program, ready and eager to take kindergarten by storm! Read more about our inaugural graduation celebration (and check out our proud graduates in their caps and gowns!) in this reflection from Executive Director Ginger Young.

Also in 2018, Book Harvest was proud to collaborate with Imprints Cares to launch Book Babies in Winston Salem. Imprints Cares has a distinguished 50-year track record of providing excellent home visiting support to families in Forsyth County and is on track to enroll 80 newborns in Book Babies at Imprints Cares in its first year.

Our inaugural class of Book Babies graduates!
Our inaugural class of Book Babies graduates!

Between 2017 and 2020, Book Harvest engaged external researchers to conduct a longitudinal randomized control trial evaluation of the Book Babies program. This RCT evaluation was conducted in both Durham and Forsyth counties.

A final report of the findings from Principal Investigator Dr. Iheoma Iruka, Research Professor of Public Policy and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG Child Development Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill, is expected in June 2021.

In 2020, there were 281 children enrolled from 274 families. Due to the pandemic many home visits were virtual, but there were over 850 literacy coaching sessions conducted in 2020.

You can learn more about how to enroll in Book Babies here.

Book Babies Parent Newsletters


Enroll Your Newborn

Enrollment is open for our Book Babies program.  If you have a newborn that is Medicaid eligible, younger than 16 weeks, and you live in Durham County; you might be able to enroll your baby! Please fill out the form below and a Book Babies team member will be in touch. If you have any questions you can call or text us at 919-907-0998. Thank you.

Estamos inscribiendo familias al programa Book Babies. Si tiene un recién nacido que es elegible para Medicaid, menor de 16 semanas y vive en el condado de Durham; ¡quizás pueda inscribir a su bebé! Llene el formulario a continuación y un miembro del equipo de Book Babies se comunicará con usted. Si tiene alguna pregunta, nos puede llamar o mandar un texto al 919-907-0998. Muchas gracias.

Book Babies Enrollment Form / Book Babies forma de inscripcion