All people seek the happiness of their children and that is what Bookstart gives.
Izumi Satou, Bookstart Japan
Did you know that Bookstart in the UK has inspired similar bookgifting programmes across the world?
For the last 20 years, we've showed how, through local partnerships and support from publishers and the government, it's possible to bring stories into every home. And by sharing books regularly, mums and dads can forge a strong and loving relationship with their child, as well as building pre-literacy skills that will give them a flying start in life.
We launched Bookstart in 1992 with just 300 babies in Birmingham, but today there are over 20 countries, from Japan to Canada, from New Zealand to Korea, that realise the importance of supporting parents to share books with their children.
Bookstart is not an export; it allows local organisations to make decisions as to what's best for their own countries. All the affiliates work slightly differently in a way that suits them, and works best with their partner organisations.
Heinrich Kreibich, CEO of reading organisation Stiftung Lesen, explains how Bookstart has inspired the free books programme in Germany:
Bookstart [showed us] that reading promotion in early childhood is one of the best ways to influence reading motivation and habits.
[To date,] we have given Lesestart packages to around 800,000 families in Germany and evaluated its effects on reading habits. We have been surprised by the wonderful results.
The social return on Investment study carried out on the Bookstart programme in England was an influencing factor on the German government's decision in December 2010 to invest 26 million EUR, for the very first time, in Lesestart over an eight-year period up to 2018.
Our international affiliates join in the Bookstart 20 celebrations
To celebrate the 20th birthday of Bookstart in the UK, several of our international affiliates, from Columbia, Japan, Belgium and Japan, will be speaking at the IBBY Congress in London this Friday. Stay tuned to the Bookstart 20 site next week where we'll feature more about the event.