Scottish Book Trust Awards Ceremony 2018

Vivian reports…

What feels like many moons ago I was invited to sit on a panel to judge an award which went by the catchy title ‘The Award for outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literacy in Scotland’. Ok, so it probably wasn’t that but something similar. The panel consisted of six people with one thing in common – we ALL LOVE BOOKS and are passionate about promoting reading for pleasure among children.

The award was presented on 6th March, 2018, along with two awards voted for by school children. The Picture Book Award sent to Chae Strattie for Gorilla Loves Vanilla (illustrated by Nicola O’Bryne) and the Teen Award went to Caighlan Smith for Children of Icarus.

There then followed the Learning Professional Award (another title which needs a little work!) which was picked up by Eileen Littlewood, head teacher of Forthview PS in Edinburgh. A short film explained why she has been chosen from a number of worthy nominees, and it left the room (or at least the balcony at the Dovecot Studios) cheering and clapping whilst surreptitiously wiping away tears. This remarkable woman secured funding to re-open the dismantled school library; she encouraged children to read by providing books which suited their interests and abilities. Along with fellow teacher, Tracey Berry, they brought in parents (some reluctant readers themselves) and encouraged them to use the library, to read to their children and also to set up an adult book group. It felt like a revelation, and yet the simplest thing in the world.

And finally, the Outstanding Achievement Award (much catchier), which our panel had given to Vivian French, a firm favourite at Mainstreet. Having written over 200 books in 30 years, and being a huge favourite at schools and festivals (Viv is Patron of the Borders Book Festival), the award was already hers, but Viv also helped set up Picture Hooks, a mentoring scheme pairing established picture book illustrators with promising graduates – it’s stunning A deserving and extremely humble winner.

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Thu 12th Apr 2018
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