Tag Archives: Book Week Scotland

Book Week Scotland 2015


I loved Book Week Scotland 2015! It was a busy week – I traveled 560 miles, met 440 children, inspired 65 multi-feathered multicoloured pine cone capercaillie creations, visited five local authorities and performed eight events about three books. Here are the highlights:

Number 35

The Scottish Book Trust announced a list of the 50 most influential novelists on twitter in advance of Book Week Scotland and to my surprise, I was at number 35! Was really good to see many children’s authors on the list.


Leith Library: Edinburgh

The first events I did were with the lovely St Mary’s Primary School at my local (and favourite) library, Leith Library.

I added a Poo or False quiz to the ‘Grouse and Mouse‘ interactive story event so this was a chance to test it out. I may have slightly overdone the number of samples for this first session and have since added many more science links (e.g. when trying to count black grouse you may instead look for these droppings!)


Leith Library was home for nine months when I worked as the Scottish Book Trust / Creative Scotland Reader in Residence. It was lovely to be back and to see the familiar faces of staff – thanks everyone for having me!

Find Leith Library on Facebook here.

Read-a-Licious Book Festival, Peebles

It was lovely to be at Read-a-Licous Book Festival for a second year with two new book events. I did a Grouse and the Mouse with 120 very excited nursery to P2 pupils:


Image Credit: Read-a-Licious Book Festival. Find the Eastgate Theatre on Facebook here.

Followed by my first Volcanoes and Non Fiction writing show with 60 Primary 4 and 5!


Carrbridge Primary School in the Cairngorms

I took the Can’t-Dance-Cameron interactive story event to Carrbridge for a whole school assembly and then we made capercaillies out of pine cones with the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage:


I met a child who had a female capercaillie visit his house! I still haven’t seen one myself yet.

Carrbridge is a caperaillie conservation area so engaging the local school by sharing about these amazing birds was a real privilege. Plus now every child in Carrbridge can dance like a capercaillie.

Sinclairtown Library and Newburgh Library, Fife

I had the most lovely welcome from staff and children in Fife!


I saw 120 children over two events. One girl called Emily (not me – it was a child!) knew all about owl pellets – she proudly shared her expert knowledge during the now improved, poo or false quiz. I was very impressed with the overall enthusiasm for wildlife in Fife. We also sold around 80 books that day so I hope many children and parents are enjoying wildlife themed bedtime stories!

Day Off

Friday was amazing – a lie in, then afternoon tea at Mimi’s and in the evening it was ‘The Lady in the Van’. I’m still recovering from a bad back so was really tired after lots of driving and events. This day made all the difference.


The Language Hub, Glasgow

Saturday was my final event, a trip to The Language Hub for a family Grouse and Mouse event. It’s a lovely wee venue in Glasgow:


Image Credit: The Language Hub, find them on twitter here and Facebook here.

I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who helped organise events and to the children and grownups who came to celebrate reading with me for Book Week Scotland!


Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Education, Events, nature, Science, storytelling, Writing


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Book Week Scotland 2014


That’s me arrived back from the Abu Dhabi Science Festival, just in time for Book Week Scotland! Here’s what I’m up to for the rest of the week:

Wednesday 26th 

I’m taking ‘Can’t-Dance-Cameron‘ to Gorebridge. First I’ll be in Gorebridge Library with local primary school children and then I’m visiting St Andrew’s RC Primary School Primary 1, Primary 2 and nursery classes. I’ll be sharing Cameron’s story along with football pine cones, science experiments, smells of the forest and funky dance moves as part of the Gorebridge Forest Families Project.

Thursday 27th (am)

In the morning I’m at the Read-a-Licious Children’s Book Festival in Peebles, in the Scottish Borders. I’m working in partnership with the Puppet State Theatre Company. They’re performing their awesome show, The Man Who Planted Trees and I’m sharing Cameron’s story in two interactive woodland workshops.


Workshops all fully booked.

Thursday 27th (pm)

In the evening I’m part of a panel at Dundee Central Library on ‘Writing for Children and Teens‘. This Publishing Scotland event includes Publisher/Chair – Keith Charters, author Kirkland Ciccone and agent – Kathryn Ross of Fraser Ross Associates. More info here.

Venue: Dundee Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, Angus DD1 1DB
Time: 6 to 7.30pm
Tickets: Free. Email to book a place.

Friday 28th

I’m taking Cameron to Fife. I’ll be at the beautiful Glen Pavillion in the park in Dunfermline at 10.30am and at Lochgelly Theatre, Lochgelly at 1.30pm. Here’s page 14 of the On Fife programme:


Schools programme call 01592 583204 or email to book

Saturday 29th

I’m off to Wigtown in Dunfries and Galloway. It’s my first visit to Scotland’s national book town. I’ll be at Wigtown Primary School at 3pm. Book free tickets here.

Sunday 30th

I’m at Looking Glass Books in Edinburgh for their story session from 11am to 12 noon. I’ll be facilitating some Can’t-Dance-Cameron crafts too:


They tweeted a lovely poster for the event:

And that’s it. Nine events in six local authorities in five days – phew!

Click ‘schools‘ to find out what to expect from my events, you can watch a video trailer and download a teacher information sheet.

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Education, Events, nature, poetry, Science, storytelling, Writing


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Stars and Wishes

Last week I spent the afternoon at Low Port Primary School in Linlithgow for Book Week Scotland. I had a lovely time working with Primary 1 and Primary 1/2 classes. We talked about memory and imagination and how we use both to create stories. All the children were dressed as their favourite book characters so everyone was excited and already using lots of imagination! We made it rain in the classroom and then we pretended we were in a forest for a story. At the end of the workshop the children used their imagination once again to wish. The challenge was they could wish for absolutely anything, not just Christmas presents:


On Sunday I was working in Portobello library as part of the Inky fingers poetry weekend. We made Christmas fridge magnet pegs that could be used to hold poems:


I asked the children in the library what they wished for too and I’ve put them together along with wishes from Low Port to make a poem. It’s all in their own words:

I wish I was magic

I wish I had a dog with the ears of a rabbit

I wish for world peace… and no wars!

I wish to be a famous footballer

I wish I could change into a bird and then back again, to a human.. whenever I wanted!

I wish that everyone gets a fair vote and a fair amount of money per job

I wish I could be a butterfly

Monster Bingo!

I wish I had a horse or a pony… no wait, I wish I had a mansion and then I could ride my pony in the garden

I wish I really was a pirate

I wish I could see snow every second

I wish… I actually WAS Father Christmas!

I wish I could go back to France

I wish I had a pet wolf

I wish to be a famous singer

I wish for my Mummy

I wish I could fly

I asked a coupled of the grown ups in the library too. Their wishes were more practical and Christmas related.

I wish I could enjoy Christmas dinner

I wish everybody in the world were happy

I wish everyone will get where they need to be for Christmas


Posted by on December 11, 2013 in Education, Events, poetry, storytelling


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Social Media is like Baking


I’ve been thinking about cake lots lately (mmm).My friend Claire (above) just started a cake business. She’s been inventing cakes and I’ve been helping her by trying them. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! I also came up with the name for her business (Home is Where the Cake Is) and these last three Saturdays I’ve ended up at an afternoon tea so with all that cake I started to realise…

Social Media is like baking

Well, sort of. Imagine you’re inventing a new cake. You’d try putting a few things together based on what’s worked before. You’d have some essentials but you’d maybe try new combinations or add something different. Then you bake it. If it’s good people enjoy eating it. If it’s really good they ask you for the recipe.

Leith Library was named as the best social media contributor to Book Week in Scotland. The cake we baked turned out well so now I’ve been asked to share the recipe at Social Media for Social Good in Glasgow tomorrow. I can tell people how to make our cake but really, I want to tell people to go and invent their own cake using the ingredients they already have in their organisation. My top tips would be:

  • Use the resources you already have
  • Don’t be afraid to try something different
  • Plan for some of what you’re doing
  • Make space for the spontaneous
  • Don’t forget to have fun

Often the reason we don’t just try new and exciting ways of engaging with people using social media is because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of what people might think. We’re afraid it might go wrong. Or other people are afraid on our behalf. Perhaps we’re afraid we don’t have a good enough idea but people are made to generate ideas. People are brilliant, they are the best resource. People make things happen not social media. Social media is just a tool to share ideas and make connections. It’s a giant tea party!

If you can’t be at tomorrow’s conference but want to follow online just follow the hashtag #begoodbesocial on twitter. You can read about what we did at Leith Library for Book Week Scotland on my blog here.  I’m also speaking about Bookweek at the CILIPS Library conference in Dundee in June.

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Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Events, Media


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Book Week Scotland at Leith Library


It took place during the last week of November. It was the first national celebration of reading in Scotland. I had to be in my post as Scottish Book Trust Reader in Residence at Leith Library in time to promote it. It was the wonderful ‘Book Week Scotland’.

This post is about how we planned and delivered Book Week Scotland at Leith Library. We used audio, photos, videos, facebook, twitter, blogging, one on one conversations in the community and events.

Also I should say Rebecca Gordon from STV interviewed me and wrote a lovely feature ‘Leith’s Reader in Residence spreads the word for Book Week’, read it here.


We wanted to engage with as many new people as possible. We decided the best way to do that was to go to them so we planned visits into the community of Leith every day.

We also planned a week of events to get people into the library, the timetable is here.

In the weeks before Book Week we started telling people about what was coming on the Leith Library blog. I went to the Book Week Scotland press launch and interviewed the head of programme, Sophie Moxon. Here’s the blog. I also had chance to interview some of the league of Extraordinary Book lovers. Find the blog here, it includes a video of the youngest member of the league, 5 year old Edward.


We invited authors who write about Leith to share their work in the library at an event we called Memories of Leith. We featured each of the three writers on the blog ahead of Book Week to engage with people who were interested in the history of Leith as well as people interested in reading. Click on the links below to find out more about the Authors and listen to them sharing their work in audio trailers:

At the end of each of these blogs we invited people to come to our Memories of Leith event.


I ran a workshop on storytelling with audio and video at the Social Media for Social Good Conference in Glasgow on the Friday before Book Week. I was able to tell people about what we were doing and what was coming. The workshop was live streamed too. Read about it and watch a video of the workshop here.

We launched our Leith Library twitter a few days before Bookweek. We also planned to regularly post to our facebook page and the Leith Library blog.

Book Week in Leith

We visited to the Bingo, Sofi’s Bar, The Kirkgate Shoping Centre, Stein’s Garage, The Cats Protection League, Destiny Church, Leith Victoria Primary School, Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre, The Kirkgate Barbers, Alien Rock Climbing Wall, Leith Victoria Gym and The Haven Cafe.


We engaged with people and found out what they loved reading. We gave them free books, we took photos of them with their free books and made videos. We told them about our blog, facebook and twitter. We gave flyers to people to invite them to our Memories of Leith event on the Saturday.

A few of our visit locations were pre planned – we needed permission to be at Ocean Terminal, Alien Rock, Leith Victoria Primary School, Mecca Bingo and the Kirkgate Shopping Centre. The rest of the visits were spontaneous and that was part of the fun of it all. This video was made during a spontaneous visit to Leith Victoria, it was one of my favourite parts of Book Week. Watch the video on youtube.

We challenged the knitting group to knit their own scotland. We asked five year olds what books they liked in our local primary school (after making crocodiles with them). We had a Book Cafe, a Veggie Market and Bookbug’s 6th birthday party at the library.

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The Challenge 

I had to upload and blog as much content as possible in real time but still needed to head out and about every day to collect and create new content. We had a rota so different library advisors could come with me to help every day, they were brilliant. The library advisors also came up with good ideas for places we could visit to engage with genuine Leithers. It was a challenge but we did it and I got much faster at blogging and editing.

On top of Book Week I somehow ended up with social engagements every night. On the Thursday a wood buring stove unexpectedly got delivered at my house just when I arrived at the library so I had to head straight back home to heave it up the stairs. My Mum arrived later on that day for a long weekend too. I left her some keys in a cafe and met her later that evening, she didn’t mind. Looking back I’m really glad I did go out – it forced me to have a break. I know I would have worked every waking hour if I could, there was so much to cover in a limited time.

The Results

So how did it all go? Well we gave out hundreds of books to people in Leith and talked to each one of them about reading.

We engaged with people online too. We built up a couple of hundred new twitter followers and got loads more people signed up to our blog. We also had more likes for posts on the blog and on facebook compared to usual. The blog had over 500 visitors during book week so we were pleased with that.


The Scottish Book Trust did an amazing job of supporting and sharing all of the events going on throughout book week. I loved being part of something bigger, something national.

It was heartily encouraging to get their tweets and emails along the way too. Especially from Digital Marketing Co-ordinator, Danny. He emailed us to say we were the best social media contributor to Book Week in the whole of Scotland so that was a wonderful news.

We enjoyed it, we engaged with new people and we raised the profile of the library. We encouraged people to read and that’s what it’s all about. That’s why I’m working as a Reader in Residence

You can see all the pictures we took during Book Week Scotland in our Facebook Album. Read more about Book Week on the Leith Library blog by clicking on the links below:


Here are some quotes about our memories of Leith event:

From Twitter:

Very enjoyable hour – could have run for two, easily. Loved it. Thanks! Vicki Jarrett

Marianne Paget read her v.impressive”Leith,1974″ from “My Favourite Place”. Malcolm Chisholm MSP

Aunty Sue (87) was thrilled to be at the Memories of Leith event. It was the 1st library event she’s been to, she loved it and is looking forward to more. She said “You’re never too old to have new experiences,” Marianne Wheelaghan.

From evaluation forms:

Excellent, thanks so much. Can we have more?

I loved this event – I used to cry when I was little if the library was shut and I could not change my books. I never find time to read much now but I will really try – also I would like to write down memories of my grandparents.

By Email:

I really did enjoy my time at the library…. thank you again for all you did. You are a star. My family love the blog!!! Author Millie Gray

And a more general one from Elspeth Murray that made us smile:


What’s next? 

I’ve been in post for 3 months now so it’s time for me to report to the Scottish Book Trust on what I’ve been doing. I record all of my hours and work in a spreadsheet so I’ll send that.

I’ve 6 months to go at the library and I’m excited about what’s coming up. We’ve got a blog about a Leith heron from Author Lari Don. Our library advisor, Linda is going to be reviewing baking books. We’ve got a three part blog special on the history of Leith with Millie Gray. Our book group are going to start blogging book reviews next year and I’ll be working with teenagers to make podcasts about young adult fiction.

On Christmas eve we judge our Festive Furballs competion. If you’ve not heard about it do check it out. We’ve had photos sent in of a gerbil, a pony, a rare amphibian and even a deceased badger all in Christmas gear. It makes me smile on a daily basis! Find the photos on facebook here or read about it on the blog here.

Lastly I’ve been asked to lead the reader development session at the CILIPS (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Conference in June 2013. I’m totally honoured and a little nervous but really looking forward to it.


Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Education, Events, Film, storytelling


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