Bookstart scheme

Free bookstart pack for pre-school children

Bookstart is the first national book gifting scheme in the world. The first scheme began in Birmingham in the 1990's.

Bookstart gifts book packs to babies and pre-schoolers.

  • Children in their 1st year receive a Bookstart Baby Bag   
  • Children aged 3 to 4 years, in the year they start school, receive a Bookstart Treasure Pack

Children from birth to 5 years old can also join the Bookstart Bear Club.

Research has shown that the Bookstart babies had a head start when they began school over children who did not receive a bag.


How do I get my Bookstart Baby Bag?

You will be offered a free Bookstart Baby bag at your baby's 6 to 8 week or 7 to 9 month review by your Health Visitor.

You can ask at your local library if you have difficulty in getting hold of your bag.

What does it contain?

Everything you need to get started sharing stories, rhymes and songs with your baby.

  • Board Books – perfect to enjoy with your baby
  • Babies Love Books – get top tips about sharing books, recommendations for more books to share and a £1 book token

How do I get my Bookstart treasure pack?

You will be offered a free My Bookstart Treasure Pack when your child attends their preschool playgroup or nursery.

If your child does not attend a preschool group you will be able to collect a bag from your local library.

You will need to bring your child's health record book (Red Book) with you when you collect this pack.

What does it contain?

Everything you need to get started sharing stories, rhymes and songs with your preschooler.

  • A picture book – wonderful to share with your preschooler (titles vary)
  • Share The Fun – full of top tips and guidance about sharing books and having fun together

The pack is contained in an envelope which is designed to look like a gift to make opening the pack exciting for children.

The back of the envelope can be cut out into ‘Bookstart Bear pairs’, a card matching game, whilst the inside of the front of the envelope has colouring in activities to make your own reading time door hanger and postcard to invite someone to share a book.

The Bookstart Bear Club

The Bookstart Bear Club is a fun and engaging free reward scheme for all babies, toddlers and preschoolers and their families.

How do I join?

If you are a library member, you can join the Bookstart Bear Club in your local library, and receive your Bookstart Bear Club passport.

What happens next?

The aim is to collect paw stamps in your passport. You get a stamp for:

  • Borrowing books
  • Sharing books in the library
  • Attending Rhymetimes or book related activities

Each time you have 6 stamps you will get a certificate. There are 10 certificates to collect.

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Northamptonshire County Council

Northamptonshire County Council

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