Families with young children are invited to join the Bookstart Bear at three special events organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council as part of the Bath Festival of Children's Literature. The events mark the 20th anniversary of the early reading programme Bookstart.
The events are being held at Midsomer Norton, Paulton and Keynsham libraries and aim to bring the festival to families outside Bath. There will be stories and rhymes, and the children will help the Bookstart Bear to blow out his birthday candles!
Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: "It's never too early to start sharing books with your baby and give them a head start in life. Bath & North East Somerset Council's libraries help children to enjoy their childhood and provide a valuable resource to families, with more and more under-fives joining their local library every year. Programmes such as Bookstart play a large part in helping the Council to encourage children to enjoy reading from an early age."
The special events will be held at:
- Midsomer Norton Library – Bookstart Storytime (for 0-5s) on Monday 1 October; 11-11.30am
- Paulton Library – Bookstart Baby Bounce & Rhyme (for 0-3s) on Tuesday 2 October; 10.30-11am
- Keynsham Library – Bookstart Story and Rhymetime (for 0-5s) on Wednesday 3 October; 11-11.30am
Book your FREE tickets at Bath Box Office on 01225 463362 or at the library holding the event.
To mark Bookstart's birthday, local people are also being asked to name their favourite picture book and to say why it is their favourite. Our area's Top 20 of picture books will be announced at the end of November.
Cllr Dixon said that 'Dear Zoo' by Rod Campbell is his favourite. "It was one of the first books that we bought a copy of for each of our children. When they were small we read it to them many times – it's just one of those books that you can enjoy with your kids over and over again," he added.
You can nominate your favourite picture books at any Bath & North East Somerset Council library, online at www.facebook.com/bathlibraries, or on the Council's Twitter feed @bathnes with the hashtag #BANESbookstart20
Bookstart is a national initiative that promotes the love of books through early book sharing. Through the programme, every child receives a free Bookstart pack containing books, library information and guidance materials for parents or carers. The first is gifted at six to nine months by health visitors, and the second at three to four years at nurseries and pre-schools. Packs are also available at libraries and children's centres.
Over 64,000 free books have been given in Bookstart packs to the children of Bath and North East Somerset since the programme was launched here in 2005.
For all the latest news from the Council subscribe to its Twitter Feed: www.twitter.com/bathnes