Dual language

BookTrust is dedicated to encouraging families of all cultures to engage with books. We want to ensure that every child has access to books and the opportunity to enjoy reading. We offer dual-language (DL) books and guidance to families that have English as an additional language (EAL), so that they can access the same important Bookstart messages as others.

Why it matters

Research recommends that families talk and share books in their home language as well as in English. It has been shown that EAL children have better thinking and reasoning skills as they need to be more flexible in understanding language.

Offering DL books as part of the Bookstart programme is a great way to introduce sharing books to parents and carers who may not feel confident in doing so entirely in English. It also gives practitioners the opportunity to signpost where parents will be able to find more DL titles, such as at their local library.

Books gifted may differ from those shown above

What Bookstart offers

Our Bookstart programme offers a limited number of DL books in over 30 community languages in partnership with the publisher Mantra Lingua, which can be inserted into the Bookstart Baby or Bookstart Treasure packs.

In addition, BookTrust also provides free Bookstart Baby and Bookstart Treasure parental guidance translated into 20 languages.

View and download the guidance for children aged 0-12 months

View and download the guidance for children aged 3-4 years

Tips on gifting dual-language resources to families

  • Not all EAL families will want a DL book or guidance so do not make any assumptions that they will need them
  • Explain the benefits of multilingualism for the child if they are worried that their child will be confused listening to more than one language
  • Check to see if parental guidance is available in one of their languages and print it ahead of your visit to give to the family
  • Model how to share the book with the child
  • Encourage other family members to join in, such as grandparents. Can they think of any nursery rhymes in their home language to share?
  • Reassure families that their child loves the sound of their voice in any language
  • Signpost where the family can find more books in their home language(s), such as at their local library
  • If they do not have access to many other DL books, model how they can still share books which are available only in English, by talking about the pictures with their child
  • If it is not possible to gift the DL book and guidance with a Bookstart pack, practitioners working directly with community groups may gift them to eligible families, however they should make families aware of how to receive their Bookstart packs separately 
  • Please ask parents/carers if they have already received a DL book before gifting, only gift one DL book per child and ask families to kindly decline another book if they are offered one by different practitioner

Mum and girl reading

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. 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. Please note that Bookstart Coordinators only have a limited number of DL books available due to funding.

If you are a setting delivering Bookstart Corner or a local authority gifting Bookstart Baby or Treasure packs and would like to purchase additional copies over and above your standard allocation, please email bookstart@booktrust.org.uk to receive a generous discount from Mantra Lingua.


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.

What's happening?

Stay up to date

Make sure you don't miss a thing with our news and features about everything to do with the children's book world.

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.