CHILDREN’S Laureate Julia Donaldson hosted an event attended by 450 Angus children at Arbroath’s Webster Memorial Theatre last Tuesday to celebrate the gifting of her award-winning book, ‘What the Ladybird Heard’, to every primary one child in Scotland.
The event was organised by Bookbug, Scottish Book Trust’s Early Year’s Programme, in partnership with Angus Council’s neighbourhood services and education department.
It was also announced at the event that the Children’s Laureate has pledged her support to Scotland’s national book gifting programme by agreeing to become a patron of Bookbug.
The multi-award-winning author, who was born in London but now lives in Glasgow, is most famous for her best-selling picture book, ‘The Gruffalo’, which was made into an Oscar-nominated animation last year. To date she has written 160 books including award-winning rhyming stories ‘Room on the Broom’, ‘The Snail and the Whale’ and ‘Zog’, all illustrated by Axel Scheffler, which are among the UK’s best-selling picture books.
As part of the event, Julia performed a dramatisation of two of her books. She was also treated to a dramatic interpretation of her book ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’, performed by primary one children from Warddykes Primary School, Arbroath, and a performance of Mick Inkpen’s ‘Lullabyhullabaloo’ by primary ones from Southmuir Primary School, Kirriemuir.
Schools and libraries throughout Angus have been preparing for Julia’s visit and the gifting of her book by running a range of activities and competitions for primary one children based around her books.
The gifting of Julia’s book, organised by Scottish Book Trust and coordinated by local Bookbug programmes and primary schools, will take place throughout November. All the children who receive the books will be familiar with the Bookbug programme, having previously received a Bookbug Baby, Toddler and Pirate Pack in their early years.
Julia said: “I very much enjoyed visiting Angus and taking part in this event. I am also delighted to have been made patron of the Bookbug programme.
“Showing children how much fun and excitement books can bring has always been a subject close to my heart, and I hope that my patronage will highlight the excellent work being done by the Bookbug programme to encourage parents and children to discover the joy of sharing books.”
Councillor Jim Millar, Angus Council’s convener of neighbourhood services, commented: “I am pleased that Scottish Book Trust chose to launch this year’s Bookbug primary one book giveaway in Angus.
“We are committed to promoting an enjoyment of reading at an early age, and Bookbug and storytelling sessions at libraries in the county are extremely popular. Reading is an essential skill for us all and it is never too early to start creating that enthusiasm. I hope this project will help towards higher standards of literacy in the community, and that children and parents will find that reading together is fun and enjoyable.”
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, added: “We are really pleased to be gifting 60,000 copies of Julia’s award winning book, ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ to all primary one children this year. It was the winner of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards Early Years Category in 2010, voted for entirely by children, so we are confident that it will be a very popular choice.”