Gifting Bookbug Bags

Thank you for your involvement in giving out the Bookbug Bags. Without your help we couldn’t reach 240,000 families a year. Bookbug encourages parents and carers to talk, cuddle, sing and share stories and rhymes with their children from birth. As an early years professional, you have a very important role in discussing the benefits of songs, stories and rhymes with parents and carers when giving out the Bookbug Bags.

Bookbug is a universal programme. All babies and children in Scotland are entitled to receive four free Bookbug Bags as babies, toddlers, at nursery and in Primary 1.

Research shows that mums, dads and carers will be more likely to use the books and resources in the Bookbug Bags if you talk to them about the benefits of sharing books, songs and rhymes before and after giving the bag.

Please have a good look at what’s inside the Bookbug Bags and show them to parents. The contents change every year.


Why is it important?

Early book-sharing promotes attachment, speech and language development, and infant mental health. Bookbug is an evidence-informed programme, underpinned by research, and linking firmly into Scottish Government parenting and early years policies, strategies and objectives. Find out more on our research page.


Please mention the following key gifting messages when giving the bags:

  • It’s never too early to share books with your baby or child
  • Sharing stories, songs and rhymes helps to develop and support attachment. Attachment is an invisible bond your baby develops with you. Keep it strong by responding sensitively, consistently and lovingly and spending time engaging in face-to-face and tickling songs and rhymes.
  • Your child loves the sound of your voice and is tuned in to it from birth. Talk and sing to them and wait for them to respond.
  • Sharing books can calm and soothe your baby or child; it’s the perfect chance for cuddles at any time of day.
  • Talk about the pictures if you’re not confident with reading.
  • It’s good for your child’s brain development – sharing books, songs and rhymes helps speech and language development and lays the building blocks of learning to read.
  • Relax and enjoy, it’ll help you feel good too.

Please talk about libraries and encourage families to:

  • Join their local library and borrow books for babies and children for free. Babies and children can have library cards of their own.
  • Go along to Bookbug Sessions – free sessions of stories, songs and rhymes for children from birth to 4 years and their families. Tell families about Bookbug Sessions in their area.


Download a copy of the Gifting Advice Sheet for Baby and Toddler Bags, which includes key messages to pass on to parents. 


Download a copy of the Bookbug Explorer Bag Handbook, which includes key messages to pass on to parents. 



How do I get more bags to gift to families?

There is a co-ordinator in each local authority to help make sure the Bookbug programme runs smoothly. If you need more bags to distribute, get in touch with your local Bookbug Co-ordinator who will be able to help you.


How do I contact my Bookbug Co-ordinator?

Take a look at our local contacts page and click on your local authority. On this page, you’ll find a name, email address and telephone number for the Bookbug Co-ordinator in that area. Bookbug Co-ordinators are very happy to help with any questions about bags, Bookbug Sessions or anything else Bookbug-related in your local area.


What does Bookbug provide for children with Additional Support Needs (ASN)?

For children and families with additional support needs, Bookbug can provide touchy-feely books in addition to the four free Bookbug Bags. You can request these from your local Bookbug Co-ordinator.  



Download a copy of the Gifting Advice Sheet for our That's Not My... books, which includes key messages to pass on to parents/carers.


Download a copy of the Gifting Advice Sheet for our Child’s Play books (Off to the Park, Off to the Beach, and Getting Ready) which includes key messages to pass on to parents/carers. 



Can I get Dual Language Books for families I work with?

Unfortunately, we are unable to include dual language books in the Bookbug Bags. However, you can find out more about books for bilingual families here. We have a Bookbug information leaflet for parents translated into the following languages: Arabic, Bengali, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Urdu, Russian, Polish and Romanian. You can download and print copies here.


How do I get Gaelic versions of the Bookbug Bags for families?

Gaelic versions of the Bookbug Bags are available for families interested in Gaelic and should be given in addition to the English versions. Request these from you local Bookbug Co-ordinator.


Do children educated at home get the Bookbug Bags?

Yes, all children in Scotland are entitled to receive Bookbug Bags. As the Bookbug Explorer Bags and Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bags are gifted at nursery and school it means home-educated children can miss out. Get in touch with your local Bookbug Co-ordinator to arrange a bag for a child who is home educated.


How are the books in the bags chosen?

The books in all of the Bookbug Bags are chosen by an independent book selection panel. This panel consists of various early years professionals from a range of backgrounds including education, health, social work, libraries and third sector organisations, and, of course, parents. The panel members also share the books with parents and children to collect their feedback and ensure that the books chosen are suitable and appealing for the different age ranges. The books represent the highest quality in publishing for the Early Years with engaging illustrations and excellent use of language.  

Want to know more about the book selection process? Read this blog post.


Help for adults who struggle with literacy or numeracy

For adults who struggle with reading, writing or numbers, The Big Plus can help. Help is free, and available across Scotland with local tutors. Call 0800 917 8000 or visit


Get in Touch

The Early Years team are on hand to help with any questions or comments you might have about the Bookbug programme. You can contact us through the following ways:


Telephone: 0131 524 0179


Twitter: @Bookbug_SBT