A key part of the success of Letterbox Club is consistently having high quality and excellent books in the parcels that will appeal to a wide range of children. The book selection is a very important part of this process.
The books are selected by an independent selection panel of local authority representatives, librarians, teachers, book experts, foster care professionals, and where possible, carers and young people with experience being in the care system.
The Letterbox Club team sends a call-out to children's publishers with a detailed brief explaining the selection criteria and what we are looking for. We will also call-in specific titles that we've seen or have been recommended to us. We ask for a mix of fiction, non-fiction, activity books, audio books and poetry.
Every year we receive hundreds of submissions for the programme from a wide range of publishers across the UK.
We currently hold four selection panels. One for Letterbox Club Purple (ages 3-5) and Letterbox Club Orange (ages 5-7). One for Letterbox Club Blue (ages 7-9) and Letterbox Club Yellow (ages 7-9 who aren't yet reading independently). One for Letterbox Club Red (ages 9-11) and Letterbox Club Green (ages 11-13). We also hold two separate selection panels in Wales for additional Welsh books that go in the Welsh Letterbox Club parcels.
The selection panel individually reviews the books, and the books that have the highest scores are brought forward for group discussion. The panel also decide which books should be included in the parcel, what they should be paired with, and what order the books should go in.
The panel try to make sure that the order of the books reflects the journey that the child will go on through the Letterbox Club, making sure there is a good mix of genres and topics, whilst keeping in mind when each parcel will be received and including relevant books and activities. Once the books have been selected, the panel does a final review to make sure that they are the best books for the parcels.