BookTrust Storytime unveils this year's shortlist as pilot returns to libraries

Published on: 20 June 2022

BookTrust Storytime will return for a second year to encourage families to visit their local library.

This year's BookTrust Storytime shortlist: Can You Tickle a Tiger, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, The Duck Who Didn't Like Water, The Horse That Jumped, Benjamin Zephaniah's Nature Trail and Zoom: Farm Adventure

The six books nominated for the BookTrust Storytime prize this year have been unveiled.

The prize, which aims to find the best book for sharing with 0-5s, will again be part of a pilot to encourage families to visit their local library.

An expert panel chose the shortlisted books with insights from librarians and families, and the nominees will now face a public vote from children, families and librarians for the £5,000 prize. The full shortlist is:

The BookTrust Storytime prize was launched in 2019 and since last year has been part of the BookTrust Storytime pilot in libraries.

Copies of all the shortlisted books will be delivered to libraries taking part in the pilot, while some libraries will also receive activities and resources to help them encourage families to get involved.

'The BookTrust Storytime Prize celebrates the joy and power of taking the time to read a good book together,' said Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust.

'Through our national Storytime pilot we've helped thousands of families begin their reading journey together and connect with their local library. I would like to congratulate all the shortlisted authors and illustrators – the judges will have an incredibly difficult job selecting a winner.'

Working with libraries to support families

A child clapping at a BookTrust Storytime session

BookTrust is also today publishing the findings from the first year of BookTrust Storytime, which involved 2,366 libraries across England and Northern Ireland.

The results show how the pilot supported libraries' work with families in their communities, with 65% of participating libraries saying that BookTrust Storytime helped them attract new families to their library and 83% saying that the pilot supported their work engaging with children under five.

Libraries reported that the pilot provided an inspiring library experience, supported by engaging books and resources, that had a positive impact on families who were new to libraries.

They revealed that the pilot transformed families' misconceptions about libraries being spaces where children are expected to sit quietly and helped them to overcome nervousness about participating in group activities with their children, particularly after Covid restrictions.

After findings from the first year of the pilot, BookTrust Storytime will launch from September 2022 and will be extended from a six-week experience to nine months to give libraries multiple opportunities for continued engagement with families.

Library staff holding a BookTrust Storytime session for families

This year, all libraries taking part will receive copies of the shortlisted books alongside digital tools and support, while 1,000 libraries will also receive a suite of additional resources. BookTrust will work with partners to identify where the need for these is greatest.

Based on learning from all three nations, BookTrust will also be developing a complementary bilingual pilot for libraries in Wales.

BookTrust hopes the second year of the pilot offers library staff and community organisations even more scope to be creative, use their expertise to attract new families and create welcoming story sharing experiences.

Linda Howell, Learning Coordinator Children and Families at Luton Libraries said:

'We were very excited to take part in the BookTrust Storytime pilot last year. It came at a really good moment for us as libraries were just starting to reopen after Covid and it was great to have something exciting to offer to those families who weren't familiar with the library.

'We worked closely with local nurseries and other services to reach new families, to talk to them about the support available in the library and encourage them to come and join us. The story sharing sessions, books and activities went down really well with both the parents and their children.

'For one of the sessions we had over 50 families join us, which was fantastic to see. Many parents talked to their friends and families and encouraged them to come along with their own children, which was not only a sign that they had a great time, but also further extended our reach.

'Many of the first-time parents told us they were determined to make an effort to revisit the library in the future and we're hoping in turn they will become regular users.

We're delighted the pilot is returning. There are some great books in this year's selection for both younger and older children and we look forward to inviting many more families into the library to enjoy them.'

BookTrust Storytime was developed in partnership with local authorities, libraries and families and with the support of library partners including The Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians (ASCEL) and Libraries Connected. The project is supported with funding from Arts Council England as well as our generous supporters and donors.

Download the full press release

Download the BookTrust Storytime pilot summary