All across Scotland, the future of writing for children is looking bright. From the outer reaches of Islay and Stornoway to the heart of our biggest cities, children’s publishing houses are releasing a great range of new titles year on year. Young readers are spoilt for choice: we have books in Scots and Gaelic, contemporary stories and revivals of old myths, well-loved characters, and brand new favourites. Here is just a small selection of the brilliant children’s writing that Scotland has to offer.
Acair was established in 1976 to provide Gaelic language materials for children and is now a firm favourite in Gaelic schools across the country. They have an impressive back catalogue of more than 500 titles and welcome new writing alongside old classics.
Choice titles: Gaelic translations of Martin Waddell’s lovely Owl Babies and Oliver Jeffers’ more recent hit Lost and Found.
Black and White Publishing
Black and White encompass the innovative Itchy Coo imprint, translating children’s favourites into Scots. The Twits are transformed into The Eejits, Fantastic Mr Fox is The Sleekit Mr Tod while Piglet, Owl, and Eeyore become Wee Grumphie, Hoolet, and Heehaw.
Choice titles: James Robertson’s translation of Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo’s Child, or The Gruffalo’s Wean as it is rewritten.
Curly Tale Books
Alongside their titles for children – with a special focus on all things Scottish – Curly Tale also have their own children’s bookshop! Pop down to visit them in Wigtown, home of the Wigtown Book Festival.
Choice titles: Alan Grant’s The (Quite) Big Rock about a rock with aspirations beyond his size sounds brilliantly unique.
The largest children’s book publisher in Scotland has a range of titles for all ages, carefully categorised by Scotland’s infamous loch dweller: there is a Picture Kelpies range for young ones, Kelpies for ages 8 – 12 and KelpiesTeen for older readers.
Choice titles: Scottish Mythical Creatures and Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales, both beautifully illustrated anthologies that can be easily dipped in and out of.
Serafina Press focus on art-driven titles, releasing a selection of illustrated picture books with a strong sense of Scottish location: stories are set in St Andrews, East Neuk, North Berwick and the Borders town of Eyemouth where Serafina is based.
Choice titles: The Sea Dancer at St Abbs demonstrates this commitment to local texts, with illustrator Sophie Elm preparing by taking detailed photographs of the area so that the setting for the story would be instantly recognisable to the people who live there.