Bookstart Baby

BookTrust offers a free Bookstart Baby book pack to every baby aged 0-12 months in England and Wales each year.

  • What is Bookstart Baby?
  • Who gives the packs to families?
  • What is in the pack?
  • What are the benefits?

Next: What families need to knowDelivering Bookstart Baby through the first year and Bookstart rhyme sheets

Download the latest Bookstart Baby gifting guidance for practitioners 

What is Bookstart Baby?

Baby and mum sharing a book at a children's centre

Bookstart Baby is a universal book gifting programme in England and Wales. Every child aged 0-12 months is eligible for a free pack including a book, information leaflet and finger puppet, designed to support and encourage families to read with their child as early as possible.

'[Bookstart Baby packs] provide an important emphasis about the importance of sharing books in enabling speech development for children. The books themselves illustrate what a useful children's book looks like. Discussing their use provides an opportunity to focus on how and when to share books with small children.' Bookstart Baby gifter

Who gives the packs to families?

Bookstart Baby is given by health professionals, libraries, registrars and many other early years professionals. In each local authority it is administrated and coordinated by a Bookstart Coordinator who works with local partners to allocate the resources to the best effect. 

If you are interested in giving Bookstart Baby at your setting, email [email protected] to find out who your local Bookstart Coordinator is.

What is in the pack?

A Bookstart Baby pack including an information leaflet, a finger puppet, and a copy of Who's Hiding on the Farm by Axel Scheffler

Every baby is eligible for a free Bookstart Baby pack, which contains:

  • An engaging book carefully chosen by independent panel of experts such as health visitors and librarians 
  • A colourful finger puppet
  • A fun and informative concertina leaflet for parents and carers about the benefits of sharing rhymes and stories with babies from an early age.

Additional books in other languages are available for EAL families and parental guidance is also available to download and print in 20 languages.

Bookstart Baby has been designed to be given alongside messaging and tips to improve parents’ knowledge and confidence in reading with their baby. The next page gives advice for delivering these key messages.

'I have seen communication skills improve and social wellbeing improve when children learn and interact with familiar rhymes and stories. This is also a good way to encourage a healthy bond with child and carer.' Community nursery nurse

What are the benefits?

By raising awareness that babies love books, Bookstart Baby can have a profound impact on families and children.

Bookstart Baby Gifter Survey benefits graphic

Percent of practitioners agreeing that the statements hold true for all, most or some of their families. Bookstart Baby Gifter survey 2019 (313 practitioners who gift Bookstart Baby)