A STOCKBRIDGE author’s debut book has secured an esteemed literary prize – topping a six-strong shortlist.

The Littlest Yak by Lu Fraser has been announced as the winner of Oscar’s Book Prize by award patron HRH Princess Beatrice, and secures a £1,000 literary prize.

The Littlest Yak, a joyous, rhyming caper that teaches little ones to celebrate their own unique talents, follows the journey of Gertie, the littlest yak in the whole herd. Feeling like she’s stuck in her smallness, bursting to grow up big and tall, Gertie soon learns there are things only she can do, and her smallness can do something big after all.

Lu draws on everyday inspiration for her stories. Writing from a small shed in her garden, she revealed that the character of Gertie came to life as she spent time with her daughter.

Speaking about her book, Lu Fraser said: “This story means a huge amount to me, I put my heart into it as it felt like a really important message to remind children, and grown-ups, that we all have bigness inside.

“It is the most tremendous honour, and I can’t thank the judges enough for choosing our book, The Littlest Yak, to be the winner of Oscar’s Book Prize 2021.”

Bristol based award-winning illustrator Kate Hindley is the illustrator of the book.

On her illustrations, Kate said: “Cheers to Lu for writing such a brilliant debut text. It was such a pleasure to illustrate.

“I’m absolutely delighted and flabbergasted to hear our wee Gertie has one the Oscar’s Book Prize. Thank you very, very much.”

HRH Princess Beatrice, the award’s patron since 2017, announced this year’s winner via video message. She said: “This is a beautiful book, and the winners should be so proud of everything they’ve achieved in pulling together this beautiful story.”

The announcement also included endorsements from fellow judge’s TV presenters Lorraine Kelly and Angellica Bell, animator and illustrator Axel Scheffler, Simon Johnson, director of Amazon EU Books, and Viveka Alvestrand and James Ashton - founders of the award and Oscar’s parents.

Co-founder of Oscar’s Book Prize, Viveka said: “This is a fabulous book about it being ok to be who you are. It's a wonderful book to explore together because there are lots of things going on every page; the art and the words work so well together, and it flows really nicely.”

Oscar’s Book Prize is awarded in memory of Oscar Ashton, who loved children’s stories and died aged three-and-a-half of an undetected heart condition.