BookTrust unveils exciting new interactive books being included in Bookstart Baby bags

Published on: 17 May 2022

BookTrust has announced the exciting new books that will be given to babies across England, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of Bookstart Baby.

Bookstart Baby is designed to encourage families to start reading with their children as early as possible, and every baby born in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is entitled to a pack.

Each bag includes two books, finger puppets and an information sheet that explains the benefits of sharing stories and rhymes with babies.

Soon, families in England and Northern Ireland will be able to enjoy Mirror Baby: Hello You! published by Campbell Books, which features striking black and white photographs and simple, rhyming text.

They will also receive a copy of Can You Say It Too? Woof! Woof! illustrated by Sebastien Braun and published by Nosy Crow, which features colourful pictures and big flaps, perfect for curious babies starting to make their first sounds and words.

Meanwhile, families in Wales will receive a copy of Mirror Baby: Hello You! alongside a bilingual version of Little Baby's Playtime by Sally Symes and illustrator Nick Sharratt, published by Def Wren. With bright illustrations and cut-out holes, it's all about a baby's fun-filled day.

How the books were chosen

For the first time in England, the views of families informed the selection of books. Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, books are selected by a knowledgeable selection panel which brings together Bookstart Coordinators, librarians, early years workers and children's centre staff.

BookTrust research shows that 85% of families are reading together with their children in the first year of life but that as children grow up, many families stop reading together .

The benefits of reading can be profound, affecting children's health, wellbeing, sleep and social development, so the selection process focuses on books that contain simple, accessible text to appeal to all families, even those who do not see themselves as readers or may not be confident sharing books with their babies.

The best books for sharing with babies provide high colour contrast to support visual development, are interactive with tabs, flaps and mirrors which can encourage sensory and fine motor skills, and have good rhyme, rhythm and repetition to boost early speech patterns.

A mother and baby looking at a book together

Families receive their packs thanks to funding from Arts Council England, the Welsh Government, the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and by our generous BookTrust Friends donors.  

BookTrust works in partnership with every local authority across England, Wales and Northern Ireland who determine how best to ensure the bags reach families in their local area. This could be via registrars, health visitors, librarians or other early years professionals.

At a time of significant pressures on family budgets, the Bookstart Baby books can often be the first children's books many families will own.

'It's never too early to start sharing stories and reading together with children,' said Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of BookTrust.

'Starting when they are babies is the best way to lay the foundations for a lifelong reading habit and mean all children can enjoy the lifechanging benefits of reading.

Having fantastic, bright, colourful and interactive books that appeal to all families, even those who don't see themselves as readers, is key to encouraging families on their reading journeys.

Babies and families alike will enjoy the closeness and cosiness that comes with snuggling up together with these brilliant books. Focusing on the different colours and shapes in the books and rhyming together can be an engaging and multisensory experience for all babies that can kickstart a love of books."

Find out more about Bookstart

Download the full press release

Topics: Bookstart, News

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