Newsflash! Bookbug Explorer Replacing Bookbug Pirate Bags for 3-year-olds

Bookbug Explorer Logo
Category: Bookbug

After much consideration, the Bookbug team have decided to change the theme of the bags gifted to 3-year-olds at nursery. The bags, formerly Pirate themed, are now Explorer bags. We are excited about this change, but also wanted to make you aware of the reasons behind this decision and have anticipated some particular questions. Please do get in touch at if you have any further questions or concerns.

Thank you so much for bearing with us during the crossover period.

Why the change?

There are several reasons for the change in theme:
• The theme has been Pirate since the start of the Bookbug programme in 2009 and it is time for a change.
• The Explorer theme will allow us to include a wider selection of books in the bags than the Pirate theme, which narrowed the possible selection. You can explore a book after all!
• Feedback from early years practitioners raised concerns about the need to be sensitive about some negative connotations associated with pirates, especially within certain communities and parts of the world.
• The wider Explorer theme will offer nurseries more scope to plan events based around the children’s interests.

The theme has been Pirate since the start of the Bookbug programme in 2009 and it is time for a change

When will the change come into effect?

The Explorer Bags will start being sent out to local authorities from March 2016. However, we always use up existing stock first so there will still be some Pirate Bags in circulation for a time. We apologise in advance for any confusion this may cause.

We will make sure that local authorities don’t receive split deliveries, so there shouldn’t be any instance of a nursery receiving a mixture of Pirate and Explorer Bags.

What will be in the Explorer Bags?

The contents will be very similar to the Pirate Bag:
• Three top-quality picture books suitable for 3-year-olds.
• ‘My Bookbug Explorer Pad’, which will include book recommendations, a colouring activity, a make-your-own telescope page, as well as blank pages for drawing and mark making. This replaces ‘All About Me’.
• ‘My Bookbug Explorer CD’ – the content of the CD is the same as the Pirate CD, with some small changes to text.
• ‘My Bookbug Explorer Pencils’ – a set of 6 colouring pencils.
• Four postcards, featuring lovely illustrations, three of which are from the books included in the bags.
• Parent Leaflet – information for parents and carers about the benefits of sharing books and songs and rhymes for their child’s development, especially speech and language and coordination.
• This all comes in a canvas bag with small handles which will feature our new Explorer logo, designed by author and illustrator Debi Gliori.

Who are the Explorer Bags for?

As with the Pirate Bags, the Explorer Bags are only for children in their ante pre-school year and not for the 4-year-olds in your nursery. All 3-year-olds, whether they’re in public or private nurseries or playgroups, are entitled to these bags.

We’ve already planned our Pirate party for next year. What should we do?

Don’t worry. We are happy for Pirate parties to continue, as we believe pirates can fit within the exploration theme. We know that many nurseries have all the resources and costumes for this already. You can continue to use these resources. We will, however, be providing lots of resources to enable staff to embrace the new theme. See the question below for more information.

What resources will be available to help us make the change from Pirate to Explorer?

We will be developing several resources to enable you to make the change from Pirate to Explorer:
• A letter and handbook will be sent to each nursery early next year with practical information and ideas on running Explorer-themed gifting events.
• The music from the ‘My Bookbug Explorer CD’ and the handbook will be available on the Scottish Book Trust website.
A new logo to help advertise events to parents
• Explorer Bag training will be available for free for nursery and library staff involved in the gifting. If you’re interested in setting up some training, please contact your local Bookbug Co-ordinator. Various training dates will be available across Scotland throughout the year.

I’m interested in arranging training for my staff on how to best gift the Bags. Will this be Pirate Bag training or Explorer Bag training and what’s the difference?

During the changeover period, you can request either Pirate Bag training or Explorer Bag training, depending on which bag you will be gifting. The training courses will be very similar.

The Explorer Bag training will maintain the same objectives as the current Pirate Bag training. The objectives of the training are to give staff ideas on how they can gift the bag effectively and integrate it into the nursery, linking activities to the Curriculum for Excellence and planning activities that enthuse children, and their parents and carers, about books and receiving their free bag.

What should we do with existing Pirate bags?

• If you have any stock at all from 2013/14 or before (when there were only 2 books in the bags) we’d rather these didn’t go out as lots of the information within them is out of date. If you have any of these bags please get in touch with your Bookbug Co-ordinator.
• If you have enough bags from last year to give to all of your 3-year-olds in next year’s intake, it’s absolutely fine to give these out. Please do make your Bookbug Co-ordinator aware of this so that they don’t send you any more stock.
• If you have some spare stock but not enough to give to a whole intake please don’t give out a mixture of different bags to the same class. Get in touch with your Bookbug Co-ordinator and they will let you know what to do with leftover bags. They will either arrange for these bags to be sent back to them or ask you to dismantle the bags and use the contents within the nursery.