Bookbug Trainer Biographies

Jan Anderson

Jan Anderson is a registered Speech and Language Therapist with additional post-graduate training in Counselling and Interpersonal Skills – she is passionate about the areas of communication and psychology. At the start of her career, she worked with young children in a community health clinic before specialising in supporting children, young people and adults who stammer. More recently, Jan worked as a patient involvement trainer, supporting adults with neurological conditions to express their views on their experience of NHS treatment and care. Jan has also facilitated Public Speaking classes and coached individuals to develop confidence and communication skills before an audience. Alongside working freelance for Scottish Book Trust, Jan is currently a mentor, providing emotional and practical support to women offenders, to help them desist from further offending and make more constructive life choices. Jan has worked for the NHS, in the voluntary sector, in adult education and in a freelance capacity.

Helen Hudd

Helen Hudd is an experienced teacher and facilitator in antenatal and postnatal parent education who has led parent groups for the past 10 years. Prior to training as an adult educator with the NCT (National Childbirth Trust), Helen worked in various marketing roles in London after graduating from Edinburgh University.

More recently, Helen has worked with Active Schools, developing and co-ordinating a walking programme in over 20 primary schools, and has also worked in an Early Years setting supporting children with Additional Support Needs. 

Paul Kane headshot

Paul Kane trained in Acting at Queen Margaret University and has 20 years experience as a professional actor working in stage, film and television. He has performed in many children’s shows and educational workshops in primary and secondary schools, which has led him to work increasingly in the Early Years sphere, using song, storytelling, drama, movement and mime with children aged 0-4 and their families.

From 2005 – 2012 he also worked in public libraries, primarily based in an area of multiple deprivation which enabled him to work in diverse and challenging situations. While working at Sighthill Library, Edinburgh, his team was awarded ‘Outstanding Public Service Team of the Year’ at the 2006 Public Servants of the Year Awards as well as the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals ‘Libraries Change Lives’ Award. Through his post as Library Advisor, he worked intensively with children, young people and their families and delivered reading-related and craft activities for 0–10 year olds. Using skills developed through his acting and singing career, Paul delivered twice-weekly Bookbug Sessions at Sighthill and Ratho libraries. He also supported other libraries for short periods to lead and support staff in developing new Bookbug sessions.

Since 2009, Paul has worked as an Early Years Music and Story Specialist with Scottish Book Trust, using his knowledge and expertise to train and mentor library, nursery and early years professionals in delivering Bookbug Sessions to families across Scotland. In 2012 he became an Early Years Trainer. He has also led Bookbug Sessions in Edinburgh and Glasgow, served as Bookbug specialist on the Scottish Executive campaign 'Play Talk Read', and in 2013 and 2014 presented the Scottish Children Book Awards. In addition, he hosted the 2014 BBC Authors Live event with David Melling and Hugless Douglas.

Carol Laula

Carol Laula has worked with Scottish Book Trust since Bookbug's pilot stage in 2007, initially working on a one-to-one basis with with Session Leaders in two authorities, helping and training them in running their own Bookbug Sessions. Carol has also run Bookbug sessions all over the country. Carol now works with SBT as one of the Early Years Freelance Trainers, helping to deliver training programmes all around Scotland. She works particularly closely with the Outreach programme to ensure that all families throughout Scotland reap the benefits of this early years intervention programme.

Carol’s long career as a performing singer/songwriter has culminated in her touring and performing all over the world. She also runs songwriting workshops and singing sessions for various client groups, including in nurseries, primary & secondary schools, community groups, prison groups and homeless units. Carol works extensively with organisations such as the Citizens Theatre who are forefront in offering community organisations access to all forms of the performing arts.


Jo Nicholson trained as a scholarship clarinettist at London’s Royal College of Music and has since lead a very interesting life. In addition to performing and recording in a wide range of musical situations, her lifelong love of literature inspired her to set up Sonsie Music, a music theatre ensemble which performs the musical stories she writes for children. This has taken her all around Scotland and has, amongst other things, stimulated a deep interest in the Scots language. Jo has taught the Kodaly musicianship method, on which many of the musical principals used in Bookbug activities are based. Her hobbies include a number of ill-advised outdoor sporting activities from which she likes to recover by reading in the bath.