Almost half a million books gifted to Primary 1 to 3 pupils for Book Week Scotland

Bookbug and children in a classroom
Category: Press Releases

Almost half a million books will again be gifted to school pupils in Scotland as part of Book Week Scotland.  

Every pupil currently in Primary 1 to 3 in Scotland will receive amazing books as part of the annual celebrations. Now in its seventh year, Book Week Scotland is run by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing.

Reading has powerful and wide-ranging benefits, and the roots of enjoying reading are laid down in the early years. Incorporating reading into childhood has a huge impact on educational attainment as well as wellbeing, confidence and mental health, and accomplishment in later life.

Scottish Book Trust is delighted to be working in partnership with Scottish Government, Education Scotland and Creative Scotland to devise and deliver this year’s bags.

In total, 458,450 free books will be gifted. 63,000 bags will be gifted to Primary 1 pupils across Scotland, plus 750 Gaelic bags, all containing three books each.

The books included in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag are shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize, which celebrates the very best of Scottish authors and illustrators. The titles are: Eric Makes a Splash by Emily MacKenzie (Bloomsbury); One Button Benny by Alan Windram, illustrated by Chloe Holwill-Hunter (Little Door Books) and I am Bat by Morag Hood (Two Hoots Books).

New books, writing materials and counting games will also be included in this year’s Read, Write, Count bags, gifted to all Primary 2 and Primary 3 pupils in Scotland. More than 133,000 bags of books will be distributed during Book Week Scotland, as family learning alongside school learning is hugely beneficial for children in the crucial early years of primary school.

This year’s bags will contain books such as A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Robertson and the Children’s Picture Atlas published by Collins, along with storytelling cards and dice, number games and a guide for parents to help them incorporate easy and fun reading, writing and counting activities into their family’s day to day lives.

Every child is also encouraged to take part in The Bookbug Picture Book Prize, sponsored by Browns Books for Students, by voting on Scottish Book Trust’s website. The winning book will be announced in an exclusive video to all registered groups on 16 January 2019.

An activity book and colouring pencils with fun ideas to enjoy reading, writing and counting together will also be included in the Primary 1 Bookbug Family Bag, as well as a white board and set of magnetic numbers.

Gaelic Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bags are also available for P1 children in Gaelic Medium Education. The Gaelic P1 Family Bag includes Gaelic editions of the three books shortlisted for The Bookbug Picture Book Prize and a dual-language Gaelic/English Activity Booklet developed with support from the Gaelic Books Council. There are also Gaelic Read Write Count bags for P2 and P3 pupils in Gaelic Medium Education.


Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“During Book Week Scotland, almost half a million books are gifted to children in Scotland. As the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, we are incredibly delighted and proud to facilitate this. Book Week Scotland is the perfect time to develop a love of reading with your child: sharing a story together is one of the most powerful ways to bond. There are also many Bookbug events taking place during Book Week Scotland, and we hope families will be able to visit, even if it’s their first time attending a session.”


Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said:

“It is vital to help young people develop a love of reading at an early age, which is why we are funding Scottish Book Trust to gift nearly 500,000 books to children in primary 1 as part of Book Week Scotland. Recent research from the Scottish Book Trust highlights the positive impact our annual gift bags are having with three-quarters of teachers surveyed stating that their pupils were more enthusiastic about books since receiving their bags. The learning materials in our gift bags encourage parents to try simple reading, writing and counting activities at home with their children. These activities not only improve numeracy and literacy skills but can help keep the kids entertained and make everyday family life a little bit easier.”


Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years, said:

“It is fantastic that nearly 500,000 books have been gifted to children in primaries 1-3 as part of Book Week Scotland. As well as laying the foundations of early literacy, book-sharing between children and their parents is critical for helping to develop nurturing and loving relationships and promoting emotional intelligence, as well as building good communication and listening skills. That’s why we provide funding of over £1.6 million each year to Scottish Book Trust for the Bookbug initiative – which helps encourage an early love of books. Last year Bookbug packs were provided to over 230,000 children and over 660,000 parents and children attended Bookbug sessions.”


Mairi Kidd, Interim Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing:

“Sharing books at home is one of the most powerful things parents and carers can do to boost children’s development and to strengthen family bonds. By gifting a range of brilliant new picture books and other fun and inspiring materials, the Bookbug bags help families to experience the gift of reading for themselves. This is especially important for those who do not have easy access to literature and we very much hope the timing of the gift during Book Week Scotland – when libraries around the country are running hundreds of inspiring free events – will help inspire many more families to get reading.”


Notes to Editors:

For all media enquiries please contact Press Officer Keara Donnachie on or 0131 524 0184 / 07956 773 749.


The Bookbug P1 Family Bag

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 literacy and numeracy campaign aimed at parents and carers of children in Primary 1 to 3. Gaelic Bags will again be available for P1 children in Gaelic Medium Education. These bags will be gifted alongside the English bags this autumn. To find out more about the Gaelic bag, please visit the Gaelic section of our website.


The 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.
  • Videos of each author/illustrator reading and talking about their book are available on the Scottish Book Trust website.
  • A Reading Buddies scheme involves older children reading to their younger buddies. It is taking place in Stirling, South Ayrshire and Glasgow and is supported by The Barcapel Foundation, players of The People’s Postcode Lottery and South Ayrshire Council.


Read Write Count bags

The Primary 2 and Primary 3 bagswere produced by Scottish Book Trust in conjunction with Education Scotland and the Scottish Government as part of Read Write Count. 66,000 P2 bags and 66,000 P3 bags, plus 800 P2 bags and 800 P3 bags in Gaelic will be produced to support all pupils and their families in this age group in Scotland.


Primary 2 Read, Write, Count content:

  • Drawstring bag (yellow)
  • Book 1 – A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Robertson
  • Book 2 – Open Very Carefully by Nicola O’Byrne and Nick Bromley
  • Parent Guide – a perforated booklet containing information about getting involved in children’s learning. It contains all the instructions needed to use the bags for games and activities at home.
  • Storytelling cards – five beautifully illustrated finger puppet cards, to use as storytelling and writing inspiration
  • Notebook – an A5 half notebook with interactive instructions
  • Writing pencil
  • Double-sided board game and clock face – two fun and engaging sides with a Rockets and Meteors game and a blank clock face, it comes with two dice, six coloured counters and a dry wipe pen


Primary 3 Read, Write, Count content:

  • Drawstring bag (red)
  • Book 1 – There Is No Dragon In This Story by Lou Carter, illustrated by Deborah Allwright
  • Book 2 – Children’s Picture Atlas published by Collins, illustrated by Steve Evans
  • Parent Guide – a booklet containing information about getting involved in children’s learning. It contains all the instructions needed to use the bags for games and activities at home.
  • Notebook – an A5 notebook with interactive illustrations
  • Writing pencil
  • Storytelling dice – set of three dice with characters, objects and places to encourage and inspire storytelling
  • Ocean Commotion card game with reversible money cards – pack of 30 double-sided cards with underwater-animal-themed cards on one side and money cards on the other

Read, Write, Count is part of Parent Club, which brings together new and existing Scottish Government support for parents. Parent Club offers tips and ideas from other parents who have done it all before, backed up by advice from trusted experts. 


Parents can visit or join Read, Write, Count on Twitter and Facebook for tips, activities and ideas that make reading, writing and counting with children an easy, fun and positive experience.


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


For more information about Book Week Scotland, visit Follow @BookWeekScot on Twitter, check out #BookWeekScot or ‘like’ the Book Week Scotland Facebook page.


Bookbug events for Book Week Scotland can be found here.



Browns Books for Students


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


Creative Scotland


In addition to general fundraising, Scottish Book Trust receives Creative Scotland support through Regular Funding. 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


Gaelic Books Council

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation with responsibility for supporting Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers, and for raising the profile and reach of Scottish Gaelic books in Scotland and internationally.