Oban author wins 2019 Bookbug Picture Book Prize

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An Oban author and children’s book publisher has won the 2019 Bookbug Picture Book Prize.

Alan Windram’s book, One Button Benny (Little Door Books), which was  illustrated by Chloe Holwill-Hunter, is the story of a little robot who has a special button that he is only allowed to press in an emergency, and of what happens when he finally has to press his button to help his friends.

The winning book was announced in an exclusive video to schools and registered groups today (January 16).

The winner was chosen by children across Scotland, aged between three and seven years old, who voted for their favourite by submitting a class vote online or at home, via the Scottish Book Trust website. More than 17,000 children voted.

The award is run by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, with support from Browns Books for Students. The Bookbug Picture Book Prize celebrates the most popular new picture books by Scottish authors or illustrators. The runners-up were Eric Makes a Splash by Emily MacKenzie (Bloomsbury) and I am Bat by Morag Hood (Two Hoots Books).

Alan Windram is an author and co-founder of Little Door Books, which has published work by Vivian French MBE, Emily Dodd and Fort William author Barry Hutchison. Earlier this year, Little Door Books was highly commended at the Saltire Literary Awards in their Emerging Publisher of the Year category.

A free copy of each of the three books on the shortlist was gifted to every primary one pupil during Book Week Scotland (November 19 to 25 ), in the Bookbug P1 Family Bag.

Alan Windram said: ‘I don’t really know quite what to say, I am so thrilled, excited and humbled that so many children voted for my book with Chloe to win this fabulous prize.

‘Like Benny, I am absolutely over the moon. Congratulations go to Morag and Emily on their fantastic picture books, and thank you so much to everyone who took Benny to their hearts and voted for One Button Benny to win. We are all different, we are all special and we all have something to give.’

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘Many congratulations to Alan Windram and Chloe Holwill-Hunter for winning this year’s Bookbug Picture Book Prize. It’s wonderful to see so many children taking part in the voting process, and we hope they enjoyed reading the shortlist, which was gifted recently in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag.’

Mairi Kidd, interim head of literature, languages and publishing, said: ‘Reading for pleasure is a precious gift and it’s great to see Bookbug encourage children to think about their reading choices, discuss books with those around them and make their voices heard.

‘Huge congratulations to illustrator Chloe Holwill-Hunter and especially to author Alan Windram, whose young company Little Door Books also published One Button Benny. This is a brilliant endorsement for all Alan’s hard work and belief in the power of stories.’

Claire Smith, sales manager for Browns Books for Students, said: ‘Very well done to all of the shortlisted authors and illustrators for this year’s Bookbug Picture Book Prize, and a huge congratulations to Chloe Holwill-Hunter and Alan Windram for winning this year’s award.

‘Browns Books for Students are proud of our ongoing partnership with Scottish Book Trust. It is a privilege to have such a strong association with Scottish Book Trust and supporting them with their outstanding work, in the development of reading and literacy in Scotland.’

For more information about One Button Benny, or if you would like to to organise a visit from Alan Windram to your school, visit www.littledoorbooks.co.uk