Bookstart - free books for every child

Bookstart is the world's first national book-gifting programme. It is run by the BookTrust and aims to encourage a love of books, stories and rhymes in children from as young an age as possible.

Bookstart gives free books to every child in England and Wales before they start school and much more. More information about Bookstart.

Bookstart pack

Every child in England is entitled to 2 free Bookstart packs. Each pack includes books to keep. It’s never too early to start reading with your baby. They’ve loved the sound of your voice even before birth. It’s also a great opportunity for you to spend time with your child.

You can get the first pack when your child is around 6–8 weeks of age, usually from your Health Visitor. You can get the second pack before your child starts school, usually from your child's nursery or preschool.

If your child doesn't go to nursery or preschool, or you didn't receive the first pack from your health visitor, please email us using the contact details on this page to request a pack.

BookTrust website

Dual-language picture book

Families with English as an additional language can claim an extra free book with their child's Bookstart pack.

This book is available in a number of languages including Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Croatian, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Nepalese, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Somali, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish and Urdu.

Please contact your local library for more details on getting your free copy.

Local libraries

Bear's Reading Adventure

Children aged 0–5 can get a free storybook called Bear's Reading Adventure from any library in the borough.

Bear's Reading Adventure is a story that follows Bookstart Bear as he discovers new and exciting places to read. The book was created specifically for families with children 0-5 years old and has been safety tested for babies.

It contains tips on how to have fun reading together as a family every day. Bear's Reading Adventure aims to encourage families to use the library regularly to develop a lifelong love of reading. 


The storybook has 10 missing stickers for your child to collect. When your child has collected all 10 stickers, they can download a certificate to celebrate their success.