Great Teaching Activities from our #ScotTeenBookPrize Resource

Taking part in the reading and voting for the Scottish Teenage Book Prize can be a hugely rewarding experience for you and your pupils. The Prize affords a great opportunity to develop cross-curricular learning opportunities, and every year we produce a learning resource to help teachers and librarians set up some fun and meaningful learning based on the shortlisted books. The activities are often transferrable to other books too, so we highly recommend checking them out!

The resource is aimed at any teacher or librarian who wants to use the Prize at the heart of a programme of learning, and like all our resources, it provides relevant Curriculum for Excellence outcomes. Some of the activities can provide an excellent lead in to entering our graphic novel and book trailer competitions too!

Here are a few examples:

The Haunting of Jessop Rise cover
The Haunting of Jessop Rise
by Danny Weston

Pitch the book as a film ENG 3-27a

Do your pupils think the book would make for a good film? Ask them to consider all of the elements that make for a good scary story, thinking about character, setting, atmosphere and plot. This article from writer James Colton may help them to focus on the elements of a good scary story.

Now ask pupils to imagine they are pitching the story to a movie producer. How would they justify its adaptation into a movie? Ask to write a short letter detailing the strengths of a story and why they think audiences would react well to it.


Welcome to Nowhere cover
Welcome to Nowhere
by Elizabeth Laird

What would you bring? LIT 3-02a, LIT 3-09a

Present students with the following scenario: “When you return home today you are told that you will be moving to a new country immediately. You need to leave quickly, but you have just enough time to grab five things to take with you. What would you bring?”

Follow up the activity with questions and discussion. How did you decide what to bring when you don’t know where you are going? Why are those things your most important possessions? What else would you have brought if you could have carried more things? Look at how many of the items pupils chose are sentimental items, like photographs, survival items, like water or a first aid kit, or valuable items, like laptops or games.

The social media What Would You Bring? challenge may be a good comparator. The challenge asks people to put themselves in a refugee’s shoes by giving them 10 minutes to pack a backpack as if they were about to leave home forever.


Children of Icarus cover
Children of Icarus
by Caighlan Smith

Writing – modernise famous myths and legends ENG 3-31a

This activity could follow on from the previous one or stand alone.

Modern films and books sometimes re-imagine ancient myths and legends. For example, the Marvel Thor films place Thor and his brother Loki in a modern setting, and the brothers’ relationship is made more antagonistic in the films. The Percy Jackson series of books are a good example too.

Ask your pupils to re-imagine an ancient myth and write a story. How will the characters from the myth react to a modern setting? What problems will they face – alternatively, what problems will they cause in this new world?


For all three books

Create a marketing campaign for each book ENG 3-27a, EXA 3-14a

Rival pupils try the following ways to persuade others that their book is the best:

  • Ask pupils to write their own blurbs for the books, and get them to present these to an audience
  • Ask pupils to make a book trailer for each book
  • Ask pupils to create a dramatic sketch based on the book and act it out

Create posters with taglines Eng 3-27a, Exa 3-02a

Ask your pupils to create posters for the books. They’ll need to think carefully about taglines. For instance, how much of the plot should be revealed in the tagline? How long should a tagline be? Ask your pupils to have a look at the examples below and think about the taglines. How effectively do they create questions in the reader’s mind?

The Enemy -  

Finding Violet Park -

Grass -


Voting activities

Looking at democracy SOC 3-17a

‘Democracy’ is a large concept and the representative democracy we know in Scotland is only one version. Pupils can research the origins of democracy by looking at the ancient Grecian voting process, or by looking at systems of democracy used worldwide, including in America.

Suffragettes Lit 3-14a, SOC 3-05a

Voting in the Scottish Teenage Book Prize is a great opportunity to remind pupils that their right to vote is hard won! Have your pupils research the life of suffragettes such as Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst and discuss how times have changed.


As you can see, taking part in the Scottish Teenage Book Prize can be about much more than reading and voting. Check out our resources, as well as videos of the authors introducing themselves - and when you've done that, check out our competitions too!