Children’s Laureate to visit Arbroath

CHILDREN’S Laureate Julia Donaldson will host an event for 450 schoolchildren at The Webster Memorial Theatre on Tuesday, November 22, to celebrate the gifting of her award-winning book, ‘What the Ladybird Heard’, to every primary one child in Scotland.

The event is being organised by Bookbug, Scottish Book Trust’s Early Year’s Programme, in partnership with Angus Council’s neighbourhood services and education departments.

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 animated film last year. To date she has written 160 books and has recently taken on the two-year role of Children’s Laureate.

As part of the programme, Julia will perform a dramatisation of two of her books, including ‘What the Ladybird Heard’, winner of the 2010 Scottish Children’s Book Awards Early Years Category. She will also be treated to a dramatic interpretation of her book ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’, performed by children from Warddykes Primary School in Arbroath, and a performance of Mick Inkpen’s ‘Lullabyhullabaloo’ by children 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 will take place throughout November, organised by Scottish Book Trust and co-ordinated by local Bookbug programmes and primary schools. 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 commented: “I am very much looking forward to visiting Angus and to taking part in this event. I hope that it will highlight the excellent work being done by the Bookbug programme in showing children across Scotland the joy that a good book can bring.

“As the current Children’s Laureate, I am very keen on children not just reading but acting out stories, so I am especially excited about watching the participating schools performing some of their favourite books.”

Councillor Jim Millar, Angus Council’s convener of neighbourhood services, said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Book Trust has chosen to launch this year’s Bookbug primary one book giveaway in Angus.

“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.”

He concluded: “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, chief executive officer of the Scottish Book Trust had the last word. He said: “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.”