Tummy Time and Zoom to the Moon added to Bookstart Baby bags to inspire a love of reading
Published on: 24 August 2021
The new books which will be given out in Bookstart Baby bags have been announced today.
Tummy Time and Zoom to the Moon will be included in the revitalised bag, which BookTrust aims to give to all children born in England and Northern Ireland. The new Bookstart Baby bag in Wales will contain a bilingual book as an alternative to Tummy Time!
Tummy Time from Mama Makes Books is a black-and-white fold-out board book designed to ensure babies get their daily tummy time, critical for their sensory, motor and visual development.
Meanwhile, Zoom to the Moon - illustrated by Kat Uno and published by Hachette Children's Books - features bold visuals and simple sound-prompting text, making it perfect for encouraging interaction with curious babies.
The books have been selected by an expert panel and are included in the free Bookstart Baby bags to encourage families to start reading with their children from an early stage.
The bright tote bags - given out by health visitors, registrars, early years professionals and libraries thanks to BookTrust's partnerships with local authorities - also feature finger puppets and a fun information sheet explaining the benefits of sharing stories and rhymes with young children.
After listening to families and early years practitioners, the revitalised bag and its contents have been designed to appeal to children, parents and carers from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances, to inspire them to celebrate the joy of sharing stories as early as possible.
The bags are funded by Arts Council England, the Welsh Government and the Department of Education in Northern Ireland.
Helping all children discover the joy of books
'Reading together with children can have profound benefits affecting their health, wellbeing, sleep and social development,' said Jill Coleman, Director of Children's Books at BookTrust.
'At BookTrust we believe all children should be able to reap these life-changing benefits and our new strategy is focused on finding innovative ways to ensure children from disadvantaged families are not left behind.
'Sharing stories with babies in their first year is a crucial step on that journey. Young babies will enjoy the bonding time that comes when families sit and read, share stories or rhyme together and these latest books are expertly placed to support families to create an engaging, multisensory and fun experience that we hope will kickstart a lifelong love of books and reading.'
Meanwhile, new mum Ruth from Somerset - who received a Bookstart Baby bag for her daughter Florence - said: 'There are so many families who are really struggling financially, especially at the moment, and it's lovely to know Bookstart is there, for everyone.
'It's such a lovely little pack that I wasn't expecting. The books from the Bookstart Baby pack are very age-specific, very tactile and of a lovely quality. It's nice to get into a routine of reading to Florence especially at night-time. It's something pleasurable and relaxing for us both.
'She's enjoying looking at pictures and colours and I think she also likes listening to my voice when I read, it's a nice time to have a bit of bonding. She loves it when I turn pages. It's so tactile, a sense of something real for a child.
'Reading is an activity that doesn't take a lot of organising, especially for a busy mum. You can pick up a book and put it down if you need to and pick it up later.'
Penny Worms from Mama Makes Books said the publisher is 'delighted' that Tummy Time! has been selected for the Bookstart Baby bags.
'As a new publisher, it's fitting that our first book is for a newborn baby,' she said. 'Why not encourage a book-loving habit from birth?
'We wondered what should a book for a newborn look like? It needed simple images with high-contrast colours to attract and hold their attention. A fold-out panorama of images gives them something to look at when doing tummy time or during a nappy change. We added photographs and a mirror to amuse them as they get older and there's rhyming text too, to encourage active shared reading.
'As parents and now grandparents of a large, blended family, we know reading is a special bonding time when you both relax, communicate and connect, one-to-one. Happy times. And that is what Bookstart is all about.'
Hachette Children's Books added that the team are 'absolutely delighted' that so many families will receive a copy of Zoom to the Moon, adding: 'Reading books with babies is very important as it helps them to hear different words and sounds from a very early age.
'Babies love to reach for shiny textures on the pages of books - the colours and sparkle really grab their attention which helps them practise their hand-eye coordination as they interact with the book.
'The story of some brave little astronauts in Zoom to the Moon is also perfect to read before bed as part of a bedtime routine.
'It is never too soon to share books with little ones and to encourage them to take their very first steps on a lifelong journey and love of reading, learning and play.'
Elsewhere, 1, 2, 3, Do The Dinosaur by Michelle Robinson and illustrator Rosalind Beardshaw, published by Farshore, has been chosen for Bookstart Treasure, which sees nurseries, playgroups and libraries in England gift a book to children aged 3-4 to encourage families to keep reading together.