A new book for tiny babies has been launched by Denbighshire Libraries’ Bookstart service to help give children the best start in life.

At a special baby rhymetime event in St Asaph Library this week, babies and parents were the first to be given copies of Siarad Babi: Du a Gwyn / Baby Talk: Black and White. Denbighshire Bookstart staff explained how to use the book with a very young baby and suggested rhymes and songs to sing with the images.

Bethan Hughes, Denbighshire’s Principal Librarian, said: “Babies can only see in black and white and shades of grey at birth, so this new book has been specially designed for them with simple clear black and white images. The concertina book can be placed alongside a baby when they’re lying down or in front when they are able to lie on their tummy, or shared by the parent and baby on their lap. Using the book will help a baby develop the physical and cognitive skills to focus their eyes, to turn and lift their heads and to respond to the book and the parent’s voice.

“We welcome hundreds of babies and their families into our libraries every week to enjoy Bookstart rhymetimes and to borrow books as library members.

“We needed a little book to give as a gift soon after birth as it’s never too early to introduce babies to books and rhymes. We commissioned the illustrations from a young local graphic artist, Charlotte Chapple, of Chalice Media, and the production of the book was made possible thanks to funding from the Child Development Fund.

“When these babies are a little bit older, they will also be gifted Bookstart bags and books – this little book helps to get them ready. The book will soon be distributed to families by midwives and health visitors, and it will be available to pick up at all Denbighshire libraries.”

Councillor Emrys Wynne, Lead Member for Welsh Language, Culture and Heritage said: “I am delighted that this special little book has been published by our libraries’ Bookstart team. I hope that it will be the start of a lifelong love of books, reading and libraries for the babies who will receive it. Denbighshire’s Bookstart service makes a significant contribution to the support offered to all families with young children in Denbighshire, helping to develop their language, learning and social skills, and giving parents the chance to meet and make new friends networks. I congratulate the library service on yet another successful initiative and would like to encourage all parents to bring their young children to the library regularly.”