Dual language books

For families that have English as an additional language, it may be possible to insert another free book, containing text in English and their home language, into their Bookstart Baby or Treasure packs. Find out about the benefits of dual language resources and how you can get hold of them for the families you work with.

BookTrust is dedicated to encouraging people of all ages and cultures to engage with books. We want to ensure that everyone has access to books and the opportunity to enjoy reading. Through universal book gifting, we aim to show children and families that books in the home and shared reading can be enjoyed by all, benefitting parental bonding, family cohesion and positive attitudes to learning across all sectors of society.

The Bookstart programme offers dual language (DL) books in over 30 community languages in partnership with the publisher Mantra Lingua. In addition, Bookstart also provides parental guidance in many languages, which is free to download

A selection of Bookstart dual language books

Books gifted may differ from those shown above

Bookstart also encourages libraries and children’s centres to work together to promote DL books and provide guidance to parents on the benefits of sharing books in their home language.

Why give dual language books?

The gifting of DL books raises awareness of the dual language format and encourages parents to seek out more titles via their library or local bookseller. This, in turn, inspires adults to share books in their own language and to try out new words in English.

Research recommends that families talk and share books in their home language as well as in English. DL books are a great way to introduce parents and carers to the opportunity of sharing books in both languages. 

The aims of the Bookstart dual language offer

  • To give families the gift of a DL book with one of their Bookstart packs for them to enjoy
  • To make our Bookstart Baby and Treasure offers accessible to families with English as an additional language. We provide free downloadable guidance and materials to help families enjoy reading for pleasure
  • To show families that books are produced in DL format and encourage them to seek out DL books in their library or buy DL books

Mum and daughter reading together

How to gift the dual language books to families

Please ensure that gifting partners and parents are aware that a DL book contains text in both English and the community language and the benefits this offers them. The primary aim of this offer is to inform families about DL formats and the offer of a free DL book will be a welcome addition to many families. However, schemes should offer a DL book and not assume that the family will want this gift – some may not.

  • In order to maintain the cost feasibility of this provision it is essential that children are only provided with one DL book
  • The DL book can be given to the child with any one of the Bookstart packs. The choice of which pack the book is gifted with is decided locally by the scheme
  • The DL books are not aligned to the packs. Any book can be gifted with any pack
  • A guidance booklet for the parent/carer in the community language of the DL book should also be gifted where available
  • Guidance booklets in community languages can be gifted to a parent/carer with any or all of the Bookstart packs, even if a DL book is not gifted
  • Gifting partners should, where possible, sign the Red Book to indicate that the child has received a DL book
  • Gifting partners are encouraged to ask parents if they have already received a DL book before gifting. Also, they are asked to kindly request that parents should decline the offer of another DL book should they be offered one in the future
  • Where gifting DL books with the Bookstart packs is problematic, professionals working directly with community groups may gift DL books and guidance materials to eligible families. These gifts may happen separately from the Bookstart packs, provided that the families are made aware of the availability of the packs and that the DL books are gifted with the Bookstart message. Please contact your Bookstart Coordinator before gifting if you have identified families that can be supported this way.
  • The number of DL books gifted must be recorded as this may be required at the year end as part of the online audit

Ordering dual language books

If you would like to gift DL books to families you work with, please get in touch with the Bookstart Coordinator in your local authority. Orders can be placed by your Bookstart Coordinator and your local library will be able to advise you if you are not sure who to contact. If you require more information please email bookstart@booktrust.org.uk.

If you are a children’s centre signed up to Bookstart Corner or are a local authority gifting Baby or Treasure packs and would like to purchase additional copies of these books above your standatrd allocation, please email bookstart@booktrust.org.uk to receive a generous discount from Mantra Lingua.

Image from the dual language book Augustus and His Smile

Inside the Panjabi-English edition of Augustus and His Smile

More to explore

Delivering Bookstart

Guidance and advice on gifting the Bookstart packs

Get detailed information on delivering Bookstart, including multi-agency working, key messaging and working with every family.

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Bookstart packs

Free books for every child

BookTrust offers a range of packs that you can gift to families as part of the Bookstart programme. Find out how our universal, additional needs and targeted packs can help get your families sharing books together every day.