Sheffield’s Winter Garden was brimming with books and pyjama-wearing tots today as they gathered for Bookstart’s ‘Big read’.

The annual Pyjamarama event is organised Sheffield Libraries and it gave children the opportunity to read a bedtime book together and take part in singing and rhyming activities.

This year each child received a free copy of ‘Car, Car, Truck, Jeep’ by Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt, provided by the national BookTrust charity as part of the their annual Bookstart scheme.

Daniel, dad of Isla, aged 21 months, said: “We’ve always read a couple of bedtime books and now, as soon as Isla is in her pyjamas, she shouts ‘book, book’. She loves holding a book for herself and our reading together before she goes to sleep.”

The Bookstart scheme provides free books to every child in England and Wales at two key stages before school, as well as free packs for children with additional needs, tips and guidance on reading together and resources and activities.

As the world’s first national book-gifting programme, Bookstart aims to encourage a love of books, stories and rhymes in children from as young an age as possible.

More information about what Bookstart can offer to families is at: https://www.booktrust.org.uk/what-we-do/programmes-and-campaigns/bookstart/

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure said: “It was lovely to see so many parents getting involved in their child’s reading and reading activities at Pyjamarama today. We have a lot of keen young readers here in Sheffield! It’s so important for children to start reading at a young age so that they go on to become fluent readers as adults.”

(Our photo shows Emily and Delores meeting the Bookstart Bear)