The Scottish Book Trust is a brilliant organisation that promotes writing and reading in Scotland across all ages and all backgrounds. They support Scottish authors with literary prizes, mentoring programmes, writing labs and funding for school visits. They encourage reading with book recommendations, free book bags for every child under five in Scotland, Bookbug Song and Rhyme sessions in libraries, book events in schools and classroom resources. As a writer living in Scotland, I think the Scottish Book Trust is pretty amazing! (The people who work there are all so lovely, too!)

Bookbug designed by Debbi Gliori.

Bookbug designed by Debbi Gliori.

One of the projects the Scottish Book Trust is currently running in collaboration with Home-Start in Levenmouth is a picturebook-writing project. I have been taken on as Early Years Writer-in-Residence to work with a group of parents in Methil, Fife. Our book is on the topic of Healthy Eating, and will be distributed to 60,000 children across Scotland in one of the Bookbug packs next year.

Angela's animals

We have been working with a lovely editor at Hodder Children’s Books to come up with a fun story all about silly things you can’t eat and the healthy things you can. The story has come together nicely, and we are delighted that the illustrator who has been chosen for our book is Angela Rozelaar! As you can see from the illustration above, she is brilliant at both cute little kids and funny animals, so we are sure our book is going to be fantastic!

Our book, Never Bite a Tiger on the Nose, will come out in 2014, but in the meantime the Methil group and I have had a great time doing weekly writing workshops, brainstorming for ideas and learning about the process of writing, illustrating and publishing a picture book.

In September our editor Emma Layfield will visit us from London to talk about her role in guiding the author and illustrator towards producing the best story possible.  In October we are also looking forward to having a visit from Alison Murray, whose book Little Mouse was the first one to be produced in the Early Years Writer-in-Residence scheme. I love Alison’s books and can’t wait to hear all about how she works with a publisher to produce the illustrations for a picture book.

As part of the Methil group’s involvement in this project we have set up a dedicated blog which chronicles the whole process, from our early experiments with food art to the visit we made recently to the Buckhaven Community Growing Space to see how fruit and vegetables are produced. The blog is called The Methil Makars (a Scots word meaning “bard” or “poet”). Since our story ended up being a rhyming one, we thought Makars was a perfect name!