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About Bookstart

The world’s first national programme of its kind, Bookstart gives free books to all children at 2 key ages before school.

Bookstart promotes a lifelong love of books and is based on the principle that children should enjoy and benefit from books as early as possible.

Baby Bags are given by Birth Registrars in Bournemouth and Christchurch, and by Libraries in Poole. Bookstart Treasure Packs are given by early years providers.

Packs are also available for children with additional needs.

If your child has not received a Baby Bag at birth registration, or a Treasure Pack before leaving their early years setting, contact your local library.

Packs for children with additional needs

Bookstart is for every child. In addition to the 2 standard Bookstart packs, a set number of packs are available for children with additional needs.

These are given to our Bookstart Coordinator who can be contacted via:

  • your birth registrar
  • health visitor
  • health clinic
  • early years setting
  • local library. 

Bookshine for children who are deaf

Bookshine Baby packs are for children up to 2 years of age and Bookshine Toddler packs are for 3-5-year-olds. 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

Booktouch Baby packs are for children up to 2 years of age and Booktouch Toddler packs are for 3-to-5-year-olds. Each pack has 2 touch-and-feel books and 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 3-5 who have disabilities that have an impact on or delay the development of their fine motor skills.