BookTrust Cymru launches National Bookstart Week and celebrates 25 years of giving books to children through Bookstart
Nursery children in Wales are read to by Anni Llŷn
This week BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, is celebrating its annual National Bookstart Week. The theme this year is ‘Let’s Explore Outdoors’.
The Welsh launch event was held on 5 June in Aberdare and organised in partnership with RCT Libraries. Over 50 children from the local Cymraeg i Blant playgroup and St Margaret’s School attended the celebration of National Bookstart Week and 25 years of BookTrust’s flagship book gifting programme Bookstart.
Anni Llŷn, who was until very recently Bardd Plant Cymru (the Welsh Language Children’s Poet Laureate), attended the launch event and delighted children with a bilingual reading of the National Bookstart Week book, Everybunny Dance! Pob Un Bwni’n Dawnsio! Children also got into character by making bunny ears.
National Bookstart Week (5-11 June) is an annual celebration of BookTrust’s Bookstart programme. The launch event kicks off a week of events up and down the country to celebrate Bookstart and encourage children and families to enjoy books and reading together.
This year, BookTrust partnered with Hodder Children’s Books, part of the Hachette Children’s Group, to gift 450,000 hard copies of Ellie Sandall’s Everybunny Dance! Pob Un Bwni’n Dawnsio! to children across the Wales, England and Northern Ireland through National Bookstart Week. The book has been adapted into Welsh by Anni Llŷn.
Everybunny Dance! Pob Un Bwni’n Dawnsio! is a beautifully illustrated and fun story with themes of empathy and friendship. Every child who attended the launch event received their own copies of the book and families in Wales can get their own copy by attending a National Bookstart Week event at their local library.
Discussing the event, Anni said “Reading is more than just academic advantages regarding literacy. It is an experience, it is a way to develop curiosity, imagination and a creative mind. By sharing this experience with your child you are giving them a brilliant start in life while building your own relationship with reading.”
Everybunny Dance! Pob Un Bwni’n Dawnsio! has been developed into an interactive online storybook. Families can enjoy listening to broadcaster Lauren Laverne read the English version or can listen to Anni Llŷn reading the Welsh language book. The interactive storybook as also available in British Sign Language.
Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust said “We’re delighted to be celebrating 25 years of Bookstart and are privileged to have been able to help so many children discover the joy of reading. This year’s theme Let’s Explore Outdoors works perfectly with Dare Valley Country Park. BookTrust works closely with authors, publishers and partners and we’re overwhelmed with how many children’s centres, libraries and communities have come together to make it such a fantastic celebration.”
Local events are planned all across Wales this week with libraries across Wales and early years settings, helping children and families to explore the outdoors and enjoy some very special storytimes.
Since 1992, BookTrust has gifted over 34 million books to children across the UK through Bookstart. The programme gives every child in Wales a free reading pack in the first year of their life and again when they are aged two. Bookstart in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government.
For more information visit booktrust.org.uk/tuallan