Book charity's 10th anniversary giveaway

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More than 700,000 four- and five-year-olds will be given a free picture book to celebrate Booktime's tenth birthday.

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Reception class children from Wix Primary School in Clapham

The national book-gifting programme from reading charity Book Trust is marking its special anniversary year by sending thousands of free picture books to Reception class children.

The annual Booktime event was set up in 2006 to encourage children starting their first school year in England to read for pleasure.

This year’s title is Open Very Carefully by Nicola O’Bryne, an interactive story about a grumpy crocodile who has ended up in the wrong book.

Kate Wilson, managing director of Nosy Crow publishers, said, ‘We are so proud that one of Nosy Crow's picture books has been chosen for Booktime this year. To make it through the rigorous selection process is a real validation of what we're always trying to do with our picture books. Open Very Carefully is fun and original and really invites the child - and the parent - in.’

 Wix Primary School in Clapham, London, held an event to celebrate Booktime’s anniversary.

Every Reception child received their Booktime pack and were treated to a reading of Open Very Carefully by professional storyteller Emily Cocking, also known as the ‘Reading Fairy’.

Head teacher Tania Kodjovi-Stapp, said, ‘Booktime is such a valuable initiative and one that Wix School wholeheartedly supports. It is important to encourage reading in children from an early age with a variety of reading books and reading experiences both at school and at home. Seeing our children reading for pleasure; so excited and in wonder about the world and adventures within the book pages is such a delight.’

All Reception class children in England are due to receive their free book by December.

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