Free children’s books to mark Bookstart Week

25 May 2018

Special family events and activities are being organised at libraries across Norfolk to help promote reading for pleasure to children as part of National Bookstart Week.

The annual campaign, organised by BookTrust and offered through Norfolk County Council, will also see free books given away at libraries to pre-schoolers. The project aims to promote the importance of reading to children from an early age.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said:  “Reading has proven health benefits for people of all ages and sharing a story with a child is a great way to introduce them to reading at a young age. We are very pleased to be able to offer Norfolk residents free access to thousands of titles through our library service.”

National Bookstart Week runs from 4 - 10 June and will encourage families to have fun reading together.  The theme this year is Bookstart Bird Boogie, with children being given a free copy of A Busy Day for Birds, by Lucy Cousins.

Norfolk’s libraries offer sessions specifically for babies and toddlers, including Bounce and Rhyme Times and Storytimes.  Extra sessions are being added for the week, in a bid to get more people visiting their local library with youngsters.

Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of BookTrust, said:  “This year’s book is a fun, playful story that is perfect to share with all the family. Shared reading and encouraging reading for enjoyment from a young age can help children on their reading journeys and inspire a lifelong love of reading.  Those children who read for pleasure are more likely to be happier, healthier and do better in life than those who don't.”

Bookstart Bear will be visiting Thetford, Gaywood, North Walsham, Reepham, Stalham, Norwich and Norfolk Millennium Libraries during the week as well as taking a trip to Great Yarmouth Community Fair.

Also, on Saturday 9 June, Norwich Castle has teamed up with Norfolk Library and Information Service for a wildlife themed Bookstart Day.  There will be a chance to visit the pop up library between 10.30am and 3.30pm, meet the Natural History Curator and let museum objects fire the imagination, or join a Museum Book Trail.

Local author Isabelle King will read from her new book Once Upon A Time in Norfolk at 12.30pm and copies will be available to buy.  Any budding young writers aged 7-11 can join Isabelle before the storytelling for a nature inspired creative writing workshop from 11.30am to noon.  Places are free but limited and can be booked by calling 01603 495897. The castle-themed mobile library will also be on the castle mound.

Full details of what is planned can be found on the Norfolk Libraries webpages.

If families are unable to make it along to their local event they can join in the fun at home, with plenty of bunny-themed arts and crafts and games, all on the Bookstart website.

Bookstart Bear’s appearances at libraries are as follows: 

  • Mon 4 June 10.30am - Thetford Library
  • Tue 5 June  10.30am - Gaywood Library
  • Wed 6 June 10.30am - North Walsham Library
  • Wed 6 June 1pm - Reepham Library
  • Thu 7 June 10.30am - Stalham Library
  • Fri 8 June 10.15am - Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library
  • Sat 9 June - All day at Great Yarmouth Community Fair     

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