Teacher wins Scottish Book Trust award after resurrecting school library

A teacher who resurrected a school library and encouraged families to write a poetry book launched by the Deputy First Minister has won a national award for inspiring young readers.

Eileen Littlewood, head teacher at Forthview Primary School in Edinburgh, received the Scottish Book Trust's Learning Professional Award.

The school library had been dismantled before Ms Littlewood took up her post and she secured more than £10,000 of funding, including from the Scottish Government and Foyle Foundation, to reopen it and promote reading.

She helped set up book groups and writing workshops for parents and children, organised author visits and encouraged parents to write a book of poems about mental health which was launched by John Swinney last month.

Eileen Littlewood won the Learning Professional Award (Jonathan Ley/SBT/PA)
Eileen Littlewood won the Learning Professional Award (Jonathan Ley/SBT/PA)

She said: "Reading for enjoyment is the key to success - academic success and success in life.

"It is a source of joy I want to share with others. Winning this award is a crowning accomplishment for me."

Author and illustrator Vivian French received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the trust, a national charity which aims to transform lives through reading and writing.

The Edinburgh-based writer has written more than 270 titles for children, including the picture book Oliver's Vegetables and The Tiara Club series of chapter books illustrated by Sarah Gibb which have sold more than three million copies.

She also helped found the Picture Hooks mentoring scheme for emerging illustrators in Scotland.

Vivian French won the Outstanding Achievement Award (Jonathan Ley/SBT/PA)
Vivian French won the Outstanding Achievement Award (Jonathan Ley/SBT/PA)

Ms French said it was "the most amazing award to be given".

Scottish Book Trust chief executive officer Marc Lambert said: "I am delighted to announce Vivian and Eileen as this year's recipients of Scottish Book Trust Awards.

"Both have shown years of dedication in inspiring and involving young people in the magical and life-enhancing power of books and reading."

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