The site is the brainchild of author Anne Fine who was the Children's Laureate 2001-2003. It's all about encouraging children and their families to build a home library of favourite books. The site includes reviews, tips and tricks, competitions and puzzles, and great ideas for book sharing, book clubs etc. There are also links to books in Braille and special 'feelie' bookplates and bookmarks are available by post. Top authors like Terry Pratchett, J K Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson and Philip Pullman have all donated time and money to help to make the site as open to the visually-impaired as it is to sighted children.
As Anne herself explains on the site:
'Some people print (the bookplates) onto sticky labels; others print on paper, then use scissors and glue. (Don't forget you can always print out the black and white plates on coloured paper. Some look remarkably different against a fresh background.) We know a lot of teachers who use our bookplates for rewards. (You can keep your computer-mad pupils happy printing them out for you). Mothers stick them in their babies' first picture books. And babysitters tell us that some of the black and white ones are perfect for "colouring in before bedtime".
'If you have to get a present for your brother, sister or best friend, and you're not feeling rich, then think about using one of our bookplates to personalise the perfect choice of book from a charity shop or second-hand book shop. They're brilliant for blotting out the last person's name. (In fact, they're so good that more and more bookshops are giving them out free - or is it in the hope customers will buy more books just to have something to stick them in?
Everyone needs a Home Library. Make sure that yours keeps growing. Don't forget that books furnish the mind, and unfurnished minds are EMPTY and TIRESOME.'
So go visit, pick out some of the gorgeous bookplates and enjoy. The site is here.