Bookstart packs are provided by BookTrust via local councils, early years settings, children's centres, health visitors and other professionals.
As part of the Bookstart Baby pack, 600,000 free copies of 123 Splosh will be provided to families with babies up to 12-months-old. The pack will also include rhyme sheets and a booklet of tips for sharing books and stories.
Meanwhile a further 600,000 free copies of Max the Brave will be provided for three- and four-year-olds in Bookstart Treasure packs, through nurseries, children's centres or early years settings.
The reading charity’s national book gifting programme, Bookstart, celebrates its 26th birthday this year.
David Melling, author of 123 Splosh said, ‘I’m delighted that 123 Splosh has been chosen as the Bookstart Baby read. It’s a wonderful feeling as an author, knowing that over 600,000 families will be given your book to enjoy together. BookTrust do invaluable work, encouraging a love of books at the earliest age, and I’m proud to be part of the programme.’
Ed Vere, author and illustrator of Max the Brave, added, ‘I think it’s so important to put high quality, entertaining and fun books in front of not only children but the grownups who are going to read the books to them. If a grownup is bored reading to a child, that will transmit to the child and if parents know there are great books out there that are entertaining then children will grow up loving reading because it’s fun. I think that’s essential and it’s what reading is all about.
‘Introducing books to children at an early age like this is exactly what we have to do. If we’re going to encourage children to read, which we must because it’s so important, then we have to do it with good books and I’m thrilled that Max is considered a good book. Thank you BookTrust.’
Diana Gerald, chief executive of BookTrust, said, ‘Starting a reading routine early sets young children up to continue reading and enjoying stories as they grow, to find new adventures to get lost in, to experience the simple joy that a story brings. Children who read for pleasure, or are read to from a young age are likely to do better at school, as well as being more socially, culturally and emotionally prepared for life.’
The authors will be participating in online giveaways and providing tips and advice to budding illustrators online at booktrust.org.uk