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Bookstart scheme

Bookstart is a national programme, established in Birmingham in the 1990s and run by the reading charity BookTrust. Their work is funded by Arts Council England, as well as BookTrust's partners and donors.

Bookstart provides free books and resources to every child to help families read together every day and inspire children to develop a love of reading. Sharing books, stories and rhymes with your child from an early age can help create a lifelong reader.

Bookstart Baby Pack

This pack is gifted to children and their parents/carers by the health visiting teams during your baby's first year to help families share stories, rhymes and songs. You can ask at your local library if you don't receive a pack from the health visiting team.

The baby pack contains everything you need to get started in sharing stories, rhymes and songs with your baby:

  • board book - perfect to enjoy with your baby
  • rhyme sheet
  • booklet of tips and ideas for sharing books with children, from a very young age

Additional needs packs

Bookstart also gifts additional needs packs for babies and toddlers. The packs available are:

  • Booktouch for blind or partially sighted children
  • Bookshine for children who are deaf
  • Bookstart Star for children with conditions affecting their fine motor skills

You can ask your local library for more information or request a pack.


There are two packs for blind or partially sighted children:

  • Booktouch Baby (0 to 2 years)
  • Booktouch Toddler (3 to 5 years)

Each pack contains:

  • 2 touch-and-feel books
  • guidance around sharing books with blind and partially sighted children


There are 2 packs for children who are deaf:

  • Bookshine Baby (0 to 2 years) 
  • Bookshine Toddler (3 to 5 years)

Each pack contains:

  • 2 books
  • a rhyme mat
  • guidance around sharing books with deaf children

Bookstart Star

This pack is available for children aged 3 to 5 years who have disabilities that impact, or delay, the development of their fine motor skills. Each pack contains:

  • a touch-and-feel book
  • a board book
  • a finger puppet for playing along with the story
  • guidance sheets

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 to 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.

After you join

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.

Last updated 13 May 2024