Over 450,000 Scottish pupils to be given free books

Over 450,000 Scottish pupils to be given free books

More than 450,000 children will be given books by the Scottish Book Trust as part of Book Week Scotland.

All of those in Primary stages 1 to 3 in Scotland, aged between four and seven, will be given books for the celebratory week taking place from 27th November to 3rd December, now in its sixth year.

Also for the first time, Book Week Scotland will include a Virtual Festival, a selection of online events available on the Scottish Book Trust’s website and social media channels.                                                                                    

Literacy charity Scottish Book Trust is partnering with Scottish Government, as well as Education Scotland, an executive agency of the government, and non-departmental public body, Creative Scotland, on the books and accompanying material.

Around 64,000 bags will be given to Primary 1 pupils across Scotland, plus 750 Gaelic bags, all containing three books each as well as activity booklets.

The titles included in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag are shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize, which celebrates the best of Scottish authors and illustrators. The titles are: Little Owl's Egg (Bloomsbury) by Debi Gliori, The Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee (Floris Books) by Michelle Sloan, illustrated by Kasia Matyjaszekand Gorilla Loves Vanilla (Scholastic) by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne.

Every child is also encouraged to take part in the Bookbug Picture Book Prize, sponsored by books supplier, Browns Books for Students, with the winning title announced on 15th January.Older pupils will receive bags containing two books as well as counting games and writing materials.

Book Week Scotland this year is linked to the theme of ‘Nourish’. The countrywide celebration of books and reading, was initiated by the Scottish Government and is supported by funds from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Targeted Funding, and event funding from Scottish Library and Information Council.

Marc Lambert, c.e.o of Scottish Book Trust, said: “The bags have been developed specifically for young children, to encourage reading for pleasure, writing and becoming familiar with numbers. The Primary 1 activity pack will help pupils enjoy the stories even after the book reaches the final page, firing their imaginations and developing a love of storytelling.”

Maree Todd, minister for childcare and early years, said: “All of our policies for children and young people have one overall aim – to improve the outcomes for every child and young person in Scotland.

“As part of this ambition we fund Scottish Book Trust to operate the Bookbug initiative and to gift books and counting activities in early primary as part of our Read Write Count programme. This is because we recognise how important it is to introduce children to books as early as possible.”

Jenny Niven, head of literature, languages and publishing at Creative Scotland, said: “We’re enormously proud to help Scottish Book Trust to bring this fundamental resource, and these wonderful experiences, to every p1-3 pupil in the country.”