The Bookbug Picture Book Prize 2018: Meet the Authors and Illustrators

It’s that time of year again, and we are very excited to announce our shortlist for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize 2018!

You can find all of the information for taking part in the prize with your pupils at the Bookbug Picture Book Prize homepage, but in this blog post we would love to introduce you to our shortlisted authors and illustrators so that you can find out a bit about them and their stories.


Little Owl’s Egg by Debi Gliori; illustrated by Alison Brown Debi Gliori

Debi Gliori has written and illustrated so many picture books, it’s hard to keep track of them all. She’s also managed to fit in a few books for older children and young adults, including Night Shift, a graphic novel about her experience of depression. Her books have been shortlisted for prizes like the Kate Greenaway Award and the Scottish Arts Council Awards.

Alison Brown first got involved with illustrating through an advertising agency, where she was in charge of drawing the Christmas elves, but now she’s illustrating picture books and most of her characters are animals, like the ones in this story.

Little Owl’s Egg follows a baby owl who isn’t very pleased to find out that a new owl is on the way. He would much rather it was something a bit more exciting – like a baby elephant! We ventured into the woods to film a reading of the story with Debi, who was very convincingly dressed as an owl. This story is a great one to pair with some outdoor learning activities – Debi gives one option at the end of the video, or there are some more ideas in our learning resources for the prize.


Gorilla Loves Vanilla by Chae Strathie; illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne Chae Strathie

Chae Strathie works as a journalist and has been publishing children’s books for almost ten years. In that time, his books have been shortlisted for a fair few awards and have already proved popular with young voters, with Loon on the Moon winning the Dundee Picture Book Prize and Jumblebum winning the Scottish Children’s Book Award in 2013!

This is Nicola O’Byrne’s first time illustrating one of Chae’s books, but she has previously illustrated books by other authors like Mark Sperring and Suzi Moore, and she has written and illustrated some of her own stories too.

Gorilla Loves Vanilla is set in Sam Sundae’s Ice Cream Parlour and features several different animals who all have very different tastes when it comes to ice cream flavours. It’s a great picture book to get children talking about their likes and dislikes and you can find some great activity ideas around this theme in our learning resource. We also had a great time recreating a few of the disgusting ice cream creations in our video of Chae reading the book – we are sure you will be ewwing and ahhing along with us when you watch it!


The Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee by Michelle Sloan; illustrated by Kasia Matyjaszek Michelle Sloan & Kasia Matyjaszek

The Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee is Michelle Sloan’s first ever picture book, so she’s very excited that it’s been nominated for the prize this year! In the meantime, she’s been keeping very busy, working in teaching, drama and journalism and gathering inspiration for her stories, like this one, which was inspired by a real life Bonny Baby Competition.

Kasia Matyjaszek is an up-and-coming illustrator here in Scotland and she absolutely loves drawing messy pictures, both in this story and in her own picture book, I am a Very Clever Cat.

The Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee follows a wee family as they make their way to a Bonny Baby Competition, but quite a few things go wrong along the way… As the story follows the family’s journey through the city of Dundee, it’s a great way to get pupils thinking about the place that they live – check out our learning resources for activity ideas on this theme. We had hoped to have a video filled with Dundonian landmarks for you to enjoy, but the weather had other ideas. Thankfully, you can still hear the story and see Kasia creating a messy drawing in our video, filmed in a warm indoor location.


So there you have it! Three authors, three illustrators, three fantastic books – which one will triumph? It's all in the hands of our young voters across the country! If your pupils would like to get involved in reading the books and voting for the winner, you can register them to take part here.

If you are a parent or guardian looking to vote on behalf of your children, you can find out more about how to do this here.