Bookbug Picture Book Prize: Time to Vote!

It's nearly time for pupils aged 3-7 to cast their votes for their favourite book in the 2017 Bookbug Picture Book Prize! Every Primary 1 child in Scotland will have received the three books in their Primary 1 Family Bag, and our videos of the authors reading their books can help everyone else access the titles and decide on their favourites.

The deadline is this Friday, 9 December, so there's still a bit of time to check out the books and vote! If you're not sure how to vote, there's a handy guide at the bottom of this blog post.

As you collect your pupils' votes, there are opportunities to open up discussions about rights and responsibilities. Here are three avenues of discussion that you can follow:


After they've made their choices and voted, ask them about what it was like to make the decision

It's not always easy to make a choice! Ask pupils to think of the choices they have made today. Did they choose what to have for breakfast, who to play with and what to do at breaktimes, and how to behave in the classroom? Were these easy decisions? Before you carry out the voting, ask the pupils to think about their choice: get them to write down or discuss the things they liked and/or disliked about each of the books. After they've made their choices and voted, ask them about what it was like to make the decision. Was it an easy and clear choice, or were they stuck between two or even all three? If someone else voted differently from them, does that make them wrong or stupid?

This can lead to discussions about the right to express opinions and respect others' opinions, as explained below.

The right to be heard

A p1 child posting his vote

Article 12 of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that 'every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously'. After children have voted, explain how important their votes are - Scotland's favourite children's book is being decided by them and only them! Explain that, in a classroom, we all have a right to be listened to - however, we have to use that right sensibly. You can use the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf and then ask the class what was wrong with the boy's behaviour, and how we can use our right to be heard responsibly.

We also have a right to express our opinions, and a responsibility to listen to and respect other people's opinions. You can explore this by giving pupils an example of a disagreement (for instance, supporting different football teams, liking different TV programmes, or even fighting over the same chair!). Ask pupils to act out a scenario where the characters respect each other's opinion and the disagreement is resolved satisfactorily. You can then ask them to come up with some rules for listening to and respecting each other's opinions. If you're looking for books to help explore how we should value and respect everyone's differences, try Lost for Words by Natalie Russell, Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintosh or Perfect by Nicola Davies and Cathy Fisher.


Discuss with them why everyone should have a chance to vote, and how it might feel to not be able to join in with the voting

This one takes a bit of careful handling, and may not be entirely right for every group of pupils, but it can be an effective and safe exploration of fairness.

The former charity BeatBullying has an activity on the TES website that can be adapted to facilitate discussions about voting. Ask pupils to sort themselves into groups according to the month they were born. Then, explain that everyone is going to have a chance to vote for their favourite book from the shortlist, apart from the children born in (for example) May. Ask your pupils if this is fair, and discuss with them why everyone should have a chance to vote, and how it might feel to not be able to join in with the voting. You could also introduce the idea of responsibilities here: should we all get to join in with every activity even if we have behaved badly? What can we do to earn back our right to take part? This could feed into a larger discussion about classroom rules and ethos.

There are lots of other great opportunities for discussion arising from the content of the three shortlisted books - check out our learning resource for ideas.


How to cast your votes online

If you are registered to participate in the prize, you should have received an email with your unique voting link and instructions, but if you can’t find it, here’s my quick guide on how to vote without your own link:

1. On the Scottish Book Trust website, click on Log in, which is in the top right-hand corner of the screen

2. Enter the email address which you used to register to vote in this year’s Bookbug Picture Book Prize and your password. If you don’t remember your password, simply click the ‘Forgotten password’ link. You will then receive an email with a link to get into your account and create a new password

3. You should now be at your account page. Click on the projects tab above your name to see all of the great projects you have been involved with through Scottish Book Trust. At the top of the list, you should see your voting link for the 2017 Bookbug Picture Book Prize.

4. Click on this link and fill in the number of votes for each book, then click Submit votes to help decide this year’s winner!

If you have trouble voting, please contact Sarah Mallon on 0131 524 0174 or