A Book for Every Little Queenslander

First 5 Forever Cloud White

Did you know that over 60,000 babies are born in Queensland every year? That’s over 60,000 little minds that arrive earthside ready to explore and learn from the world around them. Over the course of their first 5 years, each bundle of joy will form over 1 million new connections in their brain every second – amazing, isn’t it? 

The First 5 Forever program, led by State Library of Queensland in partnership with Queensland public libraries, emphasises the importance of talking, reading, singing, and playing with children throughout their first 5 years of life. In realising the importance of nurturing each baby’s early literacy development from day one, we are putting age-appropriate books into as many tiny hands as possible. A Book for Every Little Queenslander will give a board book adaptation of Shoosh! by Simon Howe to tens of thousands of babies born in Queensland, distributed through the Bounty Bag network through 2022.  

You may recognise Shoosh! as one of First 5 Forever’s Stories for Little Queenslanders series. It’s a joyful, funny, and heartfelt tale of bedtime noise and adventure, written and illustrated by Queensland-raised author, Simon Howe. Featuring a fun array of Australian animals, it’s the perfect tale to share before baby’s sleep time. 

Bounty Bags are usually given to new parents within 48 hours of the birth of their baby and contain a range of great resources and information for this life-changing time in a family’s household. While most maternity hospitals provide these for free, they are also available through GPs, pharmacies, ultrasound and obstetrics clinics state-wide.  

By gifting a board book to our new Sunshine State bubs, A Book for Every Little Queenslander aims to jumpstart each child’s love of reading and provides an opportunity for families to connect with their local public library, while building a home library. It also provides an opportunity for families to connect with their local public library and the First 5 Forever program.

Learn more about how First 5 Forever can support you through the baby stage

Read the Ministerial media statement.

More information

Why is reading to a baby important? 

To support language development, young children need lots of words communicated through their first and most important teacher – you! Age-appropriate books offer words that we may not use day-to-day which help build understanding and vocabulary for little ones. What better way to boost this than by reading every day? 

Why a board book? 

Durable, compact, and visually striking, board books have all the qualities of the perfect addition to your baby’s pram, toy box, or nappy bag. There are many reasons board books are treasured by babies and carers alike – we even wrote a blog about it! 

How was the story chosen? 

The Stories for Little Queenslanders series has 12 brilliant titles, all championing our wonderful home state. A selection panel, including publishing industry and early literacy expertise, was assembled to select one of these beautiful books to adapt into a board book for this project.

What if my baby was born in 2022 but didn’t get a copy? 

Queensland babies born in the first half of 2022 may not receive a board book in their Bounty Bag, depending on stock at their local maternity healthcare provider. As a first step, we recommend contacting your local Bounty Bag stockist to check if they have the Bounty Bag for New Parents with the board book in stock. If the board book has not been packed in your Bounty Bag, please contact us at first5forever@slq.qld.gov.au.

What are the benefits of library membership for babies? 

Babies can join their local public library from as young as one day old, and even have their own membership card. It’s never too early to make regular trips a part of your routine. If you’re not already convinced, we’ve listed some other great reasons to drop into your local public library or Indigenous Knowledge Centre with bub in tow.


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Where can I buy them for my great grandson.

Hi Maureen,

We're glad to hear you are interested in the board book! These are handed out to new babies through Bounty Bags for free. However, if your great grandson was born in 2022 and missed out, reach out to first5forever@slq.qld.gov.au and we will do our best to help.

This is a truly wonderful idea to encourage babies to become readers The new babies in our family have had stories read to them even before birth.