A day at Booktrust.
Recently I was very honoured to be asked by Booktrust to join them for a day and work with them to select books that will eventually end up in the Bookstart packs for babies and preschoolers.
Lots of information about the Bookstart scheme can be found on their website but in a nutshell every child born in England will receive a pack containing two books and other items encouraging a love of books and reading in their first year of life, and then a second one at the time they leave nursery ready for school.
I was privileged to be on the panel selecting books that will go in both packs and in a very intensive day I joined 7 other people to look over 150-170 books and decide which ones are 'just right' for all children to receive.
As we read the books we marked them YES/NO/MAYBE and then these votes were added up and the least popular taken out of consideration while we had some (occaisonally heated) discussion about the others to see if they should be considered for the packs.
As far as possible we all tried to read all of the books to make sure that all of the books were considered equally and remaining impartial and also calm when others loathed the books you loved was a challenge, as was seeing the positive aspects of a book you didn't like!
So much has to be taken into consideration when picking books that will go out universally, many things I'd not even thought of and I read some amazing books for all ages during the day. I know that my nephew and other little ones in my life will benefit from the huge list I drew up!
The books we picked will now go back to the publishers to see if it is possible for them to be adapted for the packs (at the very least they have to be smaller than those you find on the shelf in the shops or libraries and some books just might not shrink well and stay readable) and once this is done I will come back and share the books that we all fell in love with on the day and that will be shared with children very soon.
I'd like to thank Booktrust for inviting me to take part in this selection panel, and for covering travel costs but would like to say that this is a personal blog response to the day and not a requirement of attending.