Bookstart is a nationwide programme that gives away free book packs to children under 4 years old with the aim of promoting a lifelong love of books. There are two packs for different ages. They have been carefully chosen to include everything you need to get started sharing stories, rhymes and songs with your baby or pre-schooler.

Bookstart baby pack

For babies in their first year. This is a bag containing 2 board books and a leaflet titled 'Time for a Rhyme'. In Redbridge, the Bookstart Baby Pack is available at health centres.

Bookstart treasure pack

For pre-school children aged 3 to 4 years. This is a pack containing a picture book, and a book of ideas with tips for sharing books with your child. In Redbridge, Bookstart treasure packs are available from local nurseries and playgroups.

If you need more information on how to obtain the Bookstart Baby Pack or Treasure Pack, please contact your local library.

Children with additional needs

Bookstart is for every child, so families are entitled to any of these packs in addition to the 2 standard Bookstart packs.

Bookshine for children who are deaf

There are 2 packs called Bookshine baby (0 to 2 years old) and Bookshine toddler (3 to 5 years old). Each pack has 2 books, a rhyme place mat (with babies signing) and guidance around sharing books. The toddler pack also includes a bookmark showing British Sign Language.

Booktouch for children who are blind or partially sighted

There are 2 packs called Booktouch baby (0 to 2 years old) and Booktouch toddler (3 to 5 years old). Each pack has 2 touch-and-feel books, a Bookstart rhymetimes CD and booklet, and lots of guidance around sharing books with blind and partially sighted children.

Bookstart Star for children with conditions affecting their fine motor skills

This pack is available for children aged 3 to 5 years who have disabilities that impact on or delay the development of their fine motor skills. Each pack has a copy of Off to the Park, Mouse is Small board book, animal finger puppets for playing along with the story, and guidance sheets.

Bookstart Bear Club

The Bookstart Bear Club is a fun and engaging club for children under 5 years and their families. Children joining the club will receive a club passport, they will get a bear paw-print stamp for every library visit. Once 6 visits have been completed, the child receives a certificate. There are 10 different certificates to collect. The tenth is a special golden certificate. 

The club gives you free online membership which families can access from home or from the children's computers at any of our libraries. Make sure to register on the Bookstart Bear Club website for hints and tips about making books fun.

For more information, you can also visit Redbridge Central library and Keith Axon Centre where we run Bookstart Bear Club.