Meg McLaren’s The Station Mouse (Andersen Press) has won the 2020 Bookbug Picture Book Prize after more than 13,000 children in Scotland cast their votes.
Scottish Book Trust runs the award with support from Browns Books for Students, celebrating the most popular new picture books by Scottish authors or illustrators. A free copy of three shortlisted books was given to the children as part of their Bookbug bag in November and an online vote then took place.
The winning book follows Maurice, a station mouse who risks breaking the rules to help a little boy who has lost something very important.
Printmaker and illustrator McLaren, who gets £3,000 for her win, graduated with an MA in Children's Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art. She now lives in Inverness and The Station Mouse is her third picture book.
She said: "It’s truly amazing that Scottish Book Trust give books to so many children and I was really excited to be included in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag year. To win is an utter surprise, and it’s all the more special because I know it was the readers themselves who voted."
The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears by Alastair Chisholm, illustrated by Jez Tuya (Walker Books) and Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood, illustrated by Ella Okstad (Simon & Schuster), were named runners-up.
Mairi Kidd, head of literature, languages and publishing at Creative Scotland, said: "We are lucky in Scotland in that so many artists at the very top of their game lend their talents to picture books and stories for the very young. This is a demanding dual audience of the youngest children and their carers, and of course the real prize is the chance to set a new generation of readers on a lifelong journey of story. All of the shortlisted artists are winners in this sense, but special congratulations go to Meg, who was soundly endorsed by so many young Bookbug recipients."