After 25 years in Scotland, Bearsden-based author of The Gruffalo books Julia Donaldson has announced that she is returning to England.

As she prepares to head south, we take a look at some of the best Scottish children's authors currently making waves in the literary scene - from world-famous to up-and-coming.

The current crop of children's writers certainly have some big boots to fill: both Treasure Island creator Robert Louis Stevenson and the man who brought Peter Pan to life, J. M. Barrie, are among a glittering illuminati of authors who created their fantasy worlds while living and working in Scotland.

The art of writing for kids hasn't always been left to the professionals, either. Celebrities in their droves have put pen to paper in the pursuit of a best-seller, though the protagonist in Geri Halliwell's eponymous novels - Ugenia Lavender - is perhaps not quite as much of a household name (or as easy to pronounce) as Edinburgh-based JK Rowling's Harry Potter. 

While Scottish children's writers of the past are undoubtedly among some of the world's best, the next generation of authors are wielding the weapon of language more vibrantly than ever before in their attempts to pique the imagination of youngsters. 

These are our top Scots to watch this year in the world of children's books - plus, a look at the strange creatures that can be pulled out of the depths of a writer's imagination...

JK Rowling

One of the most successful female authors of all time, her books about a young orphaned wizard have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. 

The story of how the Harry Potter novels were written in an Edinburgh cafe is the stuff of legend, and Rowling has recently stated she is working on two books for younger children.

Mairi Hedderwick

Hedderwick's Katie Morag series of picture books (which she also illustrates) are set on the isle of Struay - a fictional island found in the Inner Hebrides.

Hedderwick was awarded an honorary degree from Stirling University for her "outstanding commitment to writing and illustration in Scotland".

A TV adaptation of the series was filmed in 2013 and aired on the CBeebies channel last November.

Picture: Rob McDougall

Barry Hutchison

Born and raised in the Highlands, Hutchison signed a six book deal to Harper Collins in 2008.

Also a television writer, the author recently completed 36 episodes of the live action CITV series Bottom Knocker Street starring Phil Jupitus.

Hutchison's novel The Book of Doom made the shortlist for the Scottish Book Trust's children's book awards, the results of which will be revealed in March.

Picture: Rob McDougall

Chae Strathie

Author of the Tickle Tree, The Fabulous Flapdoodles and Jumblebum: a humorous, cautionary tale about a monster that visits children's rooms if left untidy.

Strathie won the Dundee Picture Book Award in 2012 for his novel The Loon on the Moon.

As well as writing children's novels, Strathie works as a sub-editor for The Sunday Post.

Picture: Rob McDougall

Claire McFall

As well as teaching children English in the Scottish Borders, McFall also writes books.

Her debut novel - Ferryman - is aimed at young adults and looks at themes raised in Greek mythology with a Scottish perspective.

McFall completes all her writing typing only with her left hand.


Picture: Rob McDougall

Daniela Sacerdoti

Born in Naples, Sacerdoti also worked as a teacher before being signed to Floris Books and writing her first novel Really Weird

Stranded mermaids, smelly trolls and mischievous fairies are all in a day's work to the team of paranormal investigators, headed up by characters Luca and Valentina's uncle Alistair.

Sacerdoti is currently working on a new trilogy.

Picture: Rob McDougall

Debi Gliori

A writer and illustrator, Gliori's back catalogue of children's picture-books is sizable and includes the popular Mr Bear series.

Since signing with independent children's book publisher Walker Books in 1989, she has written over 60 titles and is now represented by Bloomsbury.

Her 2012 novel - What's the Time, Mr Wolf? - has been nominated for a Scottish Book Trust award.

Picture: Rob McDougall

Caroline Clough

Clough's first novel - the Animal Welfare handbook - was a work of non-fiction which reflected her career in animal behaviour consultancy.

Clough's first foray into children's writing, Red Fever, won her the Kelpies Prize in 2010.

Its sequel, Black Tide, revisits the characters found in her debut, including thirteen-year-old Toby in his plight to save his dad and little sister from tribes of dangerously intelligent dogs.

Janis McKay

Living in coastal Caithness as a writer-in-residence helped shape McKay's writing in its formative stage - her series of Magnus Fin novels all have a nautical theme.

Born to a human mother and a selkie father, the series explores Magnus's ocean quest as he strives to free the underwater creatures from an evil monster.

Before writing for children, McKay worked as a journalist on Fleet street and a drama teacher.

Picture: Rob McDougall

Diana Hendry

With over forty children's books and numerous awards under her belt, the author of the recently reissued Harvey Angell novels has achieved great success as a fiction writer.

The latest work, entitled The Seeing, is a historic novel aimed at young adults about a child with an eerie gift of second sight.



Picture: Rob McDougall