Confidence is born of both nature and nurture. And in Scotland – as Dr Carol Craig and others have written – it is not in our nature to nurture it. Putting others down, often as a ‘joke’, is a national pastime and being positive about one’s own abilities has traditionally been the ultimate no-no.

Take Janice Galloway’s introduction to the 2001 edition of Alasdair Gray’s Lanark, "[Scotland is] a country where the standard childhood training lists 'showing off' as the worst sin of all, a country whose church, family and education systems used once to ring with the hurled accusation, “Who do you think you are - someone special?'"

Like most, I spent the majority of my school years doing everything I could not to draw attention to myself academically or otherwise. That I was a goalkeeper for the primary and secondary football teams made this tricky. Throughout primary school I failed to develop a thick skin against teammates’ tirades about my inability to save the opposition’s winning goal – regardless of how many chances we had squandered up the other end. For a sensitive, slightly overweight kid with a German mum it was a tough position.

I liked books at primary school but wish I had enjoyed access to more stories and books about characters in similar situations; books about young Scottish lads facing the trials and tribulations of school and sporting life. I am sure that the insight and confidence I would have gained from living these challenges from the safety of my imagination could have helped to ease at least some of the anguish and pain of growing up.

That anguish reached its apex when my parents’ divorced. I was fourteen. At the same time, I was suddenly released from being the fat kid by a growth spurt and celebrated by embarking on a less-than-productive few years at school. I went from a keen to a reluctant reader and walked the streets at night with friends instead of studying and doing homework. Luckily for me, all the while, my English-teacher dad didn’t give up on my reading. He kept offering me books I might enjoy, spending years blowing on the embers of my reading habit until it caught flame again in my late teens.

With hindsight, I count myself lucky that I was encouraged to read as a youngster and that I was helped to rediscover reading as a young adult. A lot of other kids aren’t as fortunate.

In a modern world full of sophisticated games consoles, apps and on-demand TV shows it can feel like reading might be the last thing that children want to do, but surveys suggest that children still enjoy it – even if this figure has dropped in OECD countries since the turn of the century. That is the good news. The bad news is that boys in the developed world still enjoy it far less than girls. The Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) measure this gap to be 39 points – the equivalent of a whole year of schooling.

Encouraging both boys and girls to develop a reading habit matters to us all in Scotland as engaged young readers will grow up to be healthier, wealthier adults. A love of reading is proven by the OECD to be the best indicator of a child’s future success regardless of their parents’ academic achievements or socio-economic circumstances. Put another way, a love of reading can help children to break out of the poverty trap. It’s why life-changing book-gifting programmes like Bookbug exist in Scotland.

That said, wealth doesn’t always lead to well-being in adult life. As grown ups, it’s important that we read in front of our children – become reading role models. It will inspire them, and hugely benefit us. Dr Josie Billington from the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society recently published research that suggests people who read are likely to feel more satisfied with their lives. She says: “People who read find it easier to make decisions, plan, and prioritise.”

By helping people to develop a love of reading we will raise the aspirations of our children, and reduce the stress levels of over-worked parents. Books are not a panacea for Scotland’s struggle to find confidence, nevertheless it is important to recognise the power of what sits in the palms of our hands.

Danny Scott is the author of Scotland Stars F.C. – a series of six children’s books about football for young readers aged 6-8. Find out more about the books at: Follow Danny on Twitter @ASimpleDan.