National Bookstart Week

This event is no longer running. Stories, rhymes and activities from 2016 to 2018 are available below.

National Bookstart Week was an annual celebration of the joys and benefits of sharing books, stories and rhymes with children from an early age. The event ran from 2000 to 2018.

Each year, BookTrust chose a theme and a brilliant book to give away at free family events held by libraries, children's centres and other settings across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Recently, over 450,000 free books were given away each year, along with a host of activities to inspire families with children aged 0-5 to read together.

Smiling girl at Sheffield National Bookstart Week event

National Bookstart Week was replaced in 2019 by Pyjamarama - a celebration of bedtime stories. 

Families and practitioners can still get hold of all the brilliant National Bookstart Week resources from 2016 to 2018 right here, including storytime videos and interactive storybooks - with BSL and Welsh-language versions - rhymes to sing along with and fun things to make and do.

Find out about the Bookstart programme

2018: Bookstart Bird Boogie

Our fabulous feathered friends were the theme in 2018 and the chosen book was A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins. A special Welsh-English edition - Diwrnod Prysur yr Adar / A Busy Day for Birds - was adapted by Aneirin Karadog. 

 © 2017 Lucy Cousins. Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd

2017: Let's Explore Outdoors

National Bookstart Week 2017 was all about sharing srories and rhymes in gardens, communal spaces, parks, woodland and beyond. BookTrust gave away over 450,000 copies of Ellie Sandall's Everybunny Dance! at fantastic events across the counrtry. Former Welsh Children's Poet Laureate Anni Llŷn adapted our bilingual edition of the book, Pob Un Bwni'n Dawnsio! / Everybunny Dance!

  • Enjoy our brilliant Everybunny Dance! interactive storybook, voiced by Lauren Laverne - complete with singing bunnies, a dancing fox, sound effects, music, Welsh-language and BSL versions
  • Get crafty with our Let's Explore Outdoors activities - available in English and bilingual Welsh-English
  • Listen to the Let's Explore Outdoors rhymes 
  • How to draw dancing bunnies by Ellie Sandall

© Ellie Sandall 2016. Hodder Children's Books

2016: Under the Sea

Everyone had a whale of a time in 2016, with thousands of families across the country enjoying special sea-themed events. Our book giveaway was Jessica Law and Jill McDonald's A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, published by Barefoot Books, which we turned into an animated storybook voiced by Angellica Bell.

  • Dive into our animated storybook A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, read by Angellica Bell and available in a BSL version
  • Colour in a crab and make a shark headband with our activities - available in English and bilingual Welsh-English
  • Get to know some sea-themed rhymes - available in English and Welsh

© Jessica Law and Jill McDonald 2013. Barefoot Books