National Bookstart Week was held in June. From the 9th to 15th June, Booktrust, a national charity, campaigned to encourage families to read every day as a fun shared experience that helps children begin to listen, talk and learn about the world around them.

The theme for National Bookstart Week was ‘My Hero’. Especially for the event, children’s author and illustrator, Jez Alborough, has written Super Duck, all about everyday heroes. HarperCollins gave away thousands of special copies of the book.

National Bookstart Week: My Hero

The week also involved hundreds of free events in libraries, nurseries, children’s centres, and bookshops across the country and online, for preschool children and their families, with stories, rhymes and lots of other fun activities. The eclectic mix of events ranged from a ‘Super Teddies picnic’ to ‘Superheroes in the park’. Children were encouraged to attend the events dressed as their favourite heroes, anything from firefighters and doctors to superheroes.

National Bookstart Week: My Hero

Bookstart have many online reading activities.

One borough that joined in the festivities was Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Alkrington Library in Rochdale has already signed up 100 children to its Bookstart Bear scheme and local youngster Sebastian Whiteley recently achieved his special 10th certificate, the first child in the Alkrington area to do so.

National Bookstart Week: My Hero

Sebastian Whiteley who recently achieved his special 10th certificate

Sebastian earned his gold Bookstart Bear Club award by receiving plenty of ‘paw prints’ and collecting all 10 certificates.

His mother, Natalie Whiteley said: “Sebastian loves books and has always seen a trip to the library as a treat! He has enjoyed getting his stamps and certificates as part of the Bookstart Bear Club. Mrs Peachey (a Rochdale Borough Libraries’ Early Years Library Worker) had been to visit his nursery school the week before and this made him even more eager to get his last stamp and the final special shiny certificate. She really inspired him.”

When children join the club they receive a small ‘passport’ and get a paw stamp each time they visit the library to borrow, share books or attend a Bookstart Bear session, story time or other event. These stamps work like a loyalty scheme and after six paw prints, they receive a certificate. There are 10 certificates to collect, with the final having a special gold design.

Irene Peachey, said: “The club develops self-esteem, confidence and a sense of achievement and belonging within children which is a wonderful way of preparing children for school. Sebastian has taken the challenge head on and done a wonderful job. He has been rewarded with his gold certificate which he thoroughly deserves”.

National Bookstart Bear Club

Although National Bookstart Week may be over, the Bookstart Bear Club, having caught the attention and imagination of children, continues to encourage regular reading and the meticulous collecting of stamps in order to achieve well deserved certificates. There are many Bookstart events running regularly throughout the year, which can be found on the Bookstart website:

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