Bookstart - free books for under fives

Bookstart is a programme which provides free book packs to all children under the age of five.

All families are entitled to the Bookstart Baby and Treasure Gift packs. There are limited supplies of special packs for children with additional needs and books for multi-lingual children. We work with partners including Portage and Sensory Support to ensure the additional needs packs are given to families who will benefit from them most. You can also ask about them through your library, children’s centre, health visitor or early years setting.

Bookstart Baby Pack

The Bookstart Baby Pack contains two board books, a rhyme sheet, a booklet with tips about sharing books with your baby and information about the library service and other programmes.

Your health visitor should give you a Bookstart Baby pack when your baby is between six to eight weeks. If your baby is over four months old and you haven't been given a pack you can collect one from your local library.

Bookstart Treasure Gift

The Bookstart Treasure Gift packs are for children aged three to four who will be starting Reception in September that year. They contain a storybook and a booklet with tips and ideas about sharing books together.

Your Bookstart Treasure Gift will be given to you by your local library or your child’s early years setting. If your child is not registered with an early years setting or they are about to start Reception and they haven’t received a pack yet, you can collect one from your local library.

More Bookstart packs

For children with additional needs

There are Bookstart packs for children with additional needs. We work in collaboration with the Portage and Sensory services to deliver these packs but there might be some packs available upon request. We have packs suitable for babies and toddlers:

  • Bookshine – for children with a hearing impairment
  • Booktouch – for children with a visual impairment
  • Bookstart Star – for children with conditions affecting their fine motor skills (for toddlers only)

For multi-lingual children

Dual language books are also available in 36 different languages:

Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Croatian, Czech, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Nepalese, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh.

If you have questions about Bookstart you can email