Free book for school starters in Scotland

What the Ladybird Heard book cover
Image caption What the Ladybird Heard won the Scottish Children's Early Years Book Award

Every child in their first year of school is to receive a free book in a campaign to encourage a lifelong love of reading.

The Scottish Book Trust said it would distribute the books through its Bookbug gifting programme.

A total of 60,000 copies of What The Ladybird Heard, written by Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson, is being sent to classrooms throughout Scotland.

Books are also given to children aged six weeks, 18 months and three years.

What The Ladybird Heard won the 2010 Scottish Children's Early Years Book Award, and Ms Donaldson has been named as patron of the programme.

'Excellent work'

She said: "Showing children how much fun and excitement books can bring has always been a subject close to my heart, and I hope that my patronage will highlight the excellent work being done by the Bookbug programme to encourage parents and children to discover the joy of sharing books."

Ms Donaldson, who was born in London but who now lives in Glasgow, has written 160 books, including best-selling book The Gruffalo which was made into an Oscar-nominated film last year.

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, said: "We are really pleased to be gifting 60,000 copies of Julia's award-winning book What The Ladybird Heard to all P1 children this year.

"It was the winner of the Scottish Children's Book Awards early years category in 2010, voted for entirely by children, so we are confident that it will be a very popular choice.

"Sharing books together is one of the key building blocks in the early years, which helps children to lead fulfilling and productive lives, and Julia's support in helping us spread this message to parents across Scotland will be invaluable."

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