Dundee picture book author wins top prize in national book award


Dundee, Scotland, 4.6.15 – The debut picture book from a Dundee based author has picked up the top prize this week in a national award run by the UK’s best selling Writing Magazine.

Webster’s Email was both written and illustrated by Hannah Whaley, a former UK Learning Technologist of the Year who also works as an Assistant Director at the University of Dundee Library & Learning Centre. It is the first in a series of illustrated books that introduce children to online safety and digital etiquette from a young age.


The book tells a wonderfully witty rhyming story that gathers pace as Webster begins to regret emailing a funny picture of his sister when it spreads beyond his control.  It was independently published in 2014 by Born Digital Books, a small press co-founded by Hannah to create an online route to market for children’s technology books. The second in the series ‘Webster’s Bedtime’ was released in February 2015, and the third ‘Webster’s Friend’ is due to be published later this month.


writing-magazineWriting Magazine is the UK’s biggest and bestselling magazine for writers and organises the annual Self-Published Book of the Year event, supported by the David St John Thomas Charitable Trust, with a top prize of £750 awarded to the overall winner. Speaking of this year’s award, Jonathan Telfer, Editor of Writer’s News and Writing Magazine, said:


“Picture books for children are one of the hardest things to get right, but Hannah gets everything just right in Webster’s Email, so she’s a very deserving winner. We’ll look forward to seeing more from Hannah, and Webster, in the years to come.”
Hannah was notified of the exciting news at the end of last week. Speaking of her recent award success, Hannah said:


“I am absolutely thrilled that my debut work has been recognised at such a high level, and very appreciative of the validation that this award brings to my books. To receive the top honour in Writing Magazine’s SP Book of the Year Award has made me immensely proud, especially considering mine is a children’s picture book being judged alongside all other categories of writing.”  


The Webster series of books are available to buy online on Amazon and in other bookstores, and cover topics including meeting strangers online, using computers responsibly and online safety. Appropriate for a young audience (ages 3-8) they are a perfect tool for parents, teachers and librarians to teach children about digital issues for for new readers to explore themselves. Combining her experience in the library and publications world with previous learning technology skills has been key to Hannah’s approach when developing these books. She explains:


“Children still learn about the world through stories and books, and the children’s book market continues to prosper accordingly. In a world where teenagers are plagued by oversharing mistakes and online predators, parents are embracing the idea of starting conversations about the social issues of technology early and gently with young children through their beloved books.”

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