Bookstart celebrates 20th anniversary with sharing scheme

Bookstart celebrates 20th anniversary with sharing scheme

Book charity Booktrust is marking the 20th anniversary of its free books for babies scheme, Bookstart, with a nationwide campaign asking people to share 20 books in 2012.

A pledge postcard will be available in libraries and children's centres in England, Northern Ireland and Wales from this week, with members of the public encouraged to share books through reading to children, whether family members or through a local school or library. Booktrust will also be celebrating with a "birthday bash" during National Bookstart Week in June, with libraries, children's centres and schools encouraged to take part.

Twenty famous faces have also backed the Bookstart 20 campaign, including HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, Gruffalo author and children's laureate Julia Donaldson, War Horse author Michael Morpurgo, and author and former children's laureate Michael Rosen.

Rosen said: "We now know that if we share books with children right from the time they are babies, we are helping hem enormously to understand the world. It's all about looking, listening and talking.

"Bookstart offers the perfect way in: free books in your hand with all sorts of great suggestions about keeping up the habit of sharing books with our children."