Bookbug Picture Book Prize Winner Revealed

Chae Strathie with his winning book
Category: Press Releases

The winner of the 2018 Bookbug Picture Book Prize is Gorilla Loves Vanilla by Chae Strathie and Nicola O’Byrne, published by Scholastic. A record number of votes, 22,857 in total, were cast for the award by post and online. 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 The Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee by Michelle Sloan and Kasia Matyjaszek, and Little Owl’s Egg by Debi Gliori and Alison Brown.

Chae is a newspaper sub-editor and children’s author. He has written several picture books for children, including My Dad and The Tickle Tree (both published by Meadowside). The Loon on the Moon (published by Scholastic and illustrated by Emily Golden) was shortlisted for the Scottish Children's Book Award and won the Dundee Picture Book Award in 2012.

A free copy of each of the three books on the shortlist was gifted to every Primary 1 child during Book Week Scotland (27 November to 3 December 2017) in the Bookbug P1 Family Bag.

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

Chae Strathie said: “I am absolutely over the moon to have won the Bookbug Picture Book Prize along with Nicola O'Byrne. Just to have been shortlisted along with the brilliant books by Debi Gliori, Alison Brown, Michelle Sloan and Kasia Matyjaszek was an honour in itself, so this is simply gob-smacking.

“Of course, the most important thing is that the prize is decided by the children who read the books, rather than a panel of grown-up judges. It's those children I write for, so getting the seal of approval from them means a great deal.

“The awards themselves – as well as the Bookbug Bags that are sent to schoolchildren – play a vital role in Scotland's literary life, engaging with children across the country and encouraging them to enjoy books and reading, so we collectively owe the Scottish Book Trust a huge debt of gratitude.

“I am incredibly proud to have won and will definitely be celebrating with lashings of ice cream –though possibly not of the worm variety."

The winning book was announced in an exclusive video to schools and registered groups today (15 January 2018). Shortlisted authors and illustrators will receive £500 per book, and the winner will receive £3,000.


Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Congratulations to Chae Strathie and Nicola O’Byrne for winning the Bookbug Picture Book Prize 2018. We’re delighted that so many children across Scotland read the shortlist and took part in the vote. Chae has worked with Scottish Book Trust for Authors Live and the Scottish Friendly Book Tour, so we are pleased he has been recognised with this award.”


Claire Smith, Sales Manager for Browns Books for Students, said:

“Bookbug is a fantastic scheme, which is connecting every new child and family in Scotland with literacy. Browns Books for Students is honoured to be a part of this. Congratulations to Chae Strathie whose Picture Book has been enjoyed, read and reviewed by those at the heart of Scottish communities.”


Sasha de Buyl, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said:

“We’d like to extend our congratulations to Chae Strathie on winning the 2018 Bookbug Picture Book Prize. This accolade is to be especially treasured, as the Bookbug Picture Book Prize is determined by vote, so the children and families reading these books have chosen the book they loved best.”


Notes to editors:



The Bookbug P1 Family Pack

The Bookbug P1 Family Bagwas produced by Scottish Book Trust in conjunction with Education Scotland and the Scottish Government as part of Read, Write, Count – a new literacy and numeracy campaign aimed at children in Primary 1 to 3.


Bookbug Picture Book Prize

  • The Bookbug Picture Book Prize is managed by Scottish Book Trust in partnership with Creative Scotland and Browns Books for Students.
  • Teachers, librarians and book group leaders sign up their groups, then the children read and vote for their favourite books. Children can also vote online at home via the Scottish Book Trust website.
  • A Shared Reading scheme, which involves older primary children reading to their younger buddies, is run in 5 local authorities.
  • Videos of each author/illustrator reading and talking about their book are available at


Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that includes:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.   @scottishbktrust


Browns Books for Students

Browns Books for Students, sponsor of the Bookbug Picture Book Prize, supplies books, eBooks and DVDs for schools, colleges and businesses. More information on Browns Books for Students, is available at


Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and