Rosemary's blog: New Bookstart packs

Rosemary Clarke

Posted January 13, 2012 by Rosemary Clarke

Rosemary Clarke MBE, 1954-2013, was Booktrust's Director of Programmes.
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Rosemary's blog: New Bookstart packs

Rosemary celebrates the arrival of the new packs, which ushers in an exciting anniversary year for our programme. Get the latest on the Bookstart 20 campaign, find out about bookgifting in Jamaica, and read other news from the Head of Bookstart.

What a difference a year makes!

12 months on from our funding news, Bookstart has weathered the initial storm and the new-style Baby and Treasure packs are being sent out from our warehouse as we speak.

This is a timely opportunity to thank library services for their patience and support through what has been a challenging transition. Thanks are also due to the dedicated team at IOS, who handle our warehouse and distribution; a late delivery from China meant they worked tirelessly over the Christmas holiday to ensure the new packs were ready to go immediately in the new year.


While the budget cuts were severe we have tried to maintain the universal provision as far as possible and maintain the quality of the resources. We hope you, and your families, will like the new packs.

Bookstart 20: Make the pledge!

Reading 20 books with children in 2012 will be an excellent way for professionals, parents, family members and all sorts of VIPs and MPs to demonstrate support for Bookstart. It will also show that they understand the importance of sharing books, stories and rhymes for pleasure every day.


We’d love for you to be involved in the Bookstart 20th year celebrations by making a simple pledge: to share 20 books in 2012. Look out for the pledge postcard in your local library or make the pledge and follow the campaign online from February onwards.


Find out more about the Bookstart 20 campaign

Bookstart Jamaica launches!

I read an excellent article about last month's launch of Bookstart in Jamaica. The programme is part of a new family literacy initiative that aims to create a nation of readers and encourage an early start to family literacy activities.


At a gifting ceremony, the country's then-prime minister Andrew Holness addressed parents about the importance of reading aloud with their children:


Every Jamaican child born in a hospital in Jamaica will be presented with a book package.    


…[Early reading] prepares the mind of the child to be taught, so when your child goes to school, [they] have an advantage.  


We don't only want you to read to your children, we want you to read aloud and we want you to have your children read aloud as well. If we can get all our parents, especially fathers, reading with their children, it will start the receptivity to education.


Wonderful!  I think I'll ask Andrew – now Jamaica's incoming leader of the opposition – if he will join our Bookstart 20 campaign to read 20 books to children in 2012.  I'll let you know what he says.


And finally: This is why we do it…

I had a lovely email from Bookstart Regional Manager Paula Sutton just before Christmas.


I just gave a Busy Bear book to a little girl sat with her Nan on the train.

'Read it again Nan..!'

Nan is now on her fifth telling and has answered soooo many questions, and is still reading it as if it were the first time. Wonderful!


Happy new year to you all and huge thanks for everything you do to support Bookstart and every child on their reading journey.


Best wishes




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Inspiring a love of reading across five continents

Inspiring a love of reading across five continents

Did you know that Bookstart in the UK has inspired similar free books programmes across the world?

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