Making the grade – selecting the best books for Bookstart

As publishers we are very aware of the research that shows how important it is for all children,
if they are to become life-long readers, to have books at home – whether they are bought as gifts or borrowed from the library.
Francesca Dow, Chair of the Children’s Group, Publishers Association

How are the books selected?

All publishers may submit books for consideration by an independent panel of book experts and professionals from health, library and early years education.


Books must have literary appeal – they must spark imagination and curiosity, be fun and able to be enjoyed repeatedly by parent and child.


Books should be positive and inclusive, reflecting our society and celebrating gender, race and ethnicity. Suitability of construction is important, and books must have CE certification on health and safety regulations.

How we work with publishers

  • All children’s book publishers are welcome to submit books for consideration
  • The book panel, which comprises independent experts, meets twice a year
  • The chosen books are provided at a nominal cost or free of charge
  • Our children’s publishers provide around 4.2 million books valued in excess of £21 million per year


Publishers who have provided books for Bookstart include:

Andersen Press, Barefoot Books, Boxer Books, Campbell Books, Child’s Play, Chrysalis, Dorling Kindersley, Dref Wen Publishers, Egmont Books, Evans Brothers, Frances Lincoln, Gomer Press, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Hodder Children’s Books, Ladybird Books, Little Tiger Press, Macmillan Children's Books, Mantra Lingua Publishing, Orchard Books, Oxford University Press, Puffin, Ragged Bears Publishing, Random House Children’s Books, Red House Books, Tamarind Press, Templar, Transworld Publishers, Usborne Publishing, Walker Books.


Publishers wanting more information about Bookstart should contact