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Goblins, birds and book fairies


By Barbara Henderson

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Barbara Henderson.
Barbara Henderson.

The fun to be had during Book Week Scotland.

I love Book Week Scotland! I will be busy with virtual school events in Moray and in Argyll. Perhaps most excitingly, I have been hired to be a real-life, on-the-road book fairy for a day, hiding carefully ribboned and stickered books where young readers may find them. I will choose whatever looks like a dry day, so follow me on Twitter or check the hashtag #Ibelieveinbookfairies for a chance to get there first!

By the time you read this, Book Week Scotland will be in full swing! Events to celebrate books, creativity and the written word are the hallmarks of November, and long may it continue. One of the curious silver linings of the Covid landscape is the variety and accessibility of online events. Often these are available long after they are first advertised, so even if you knew nothing of Book Week by now, it’s not too late to join in!

NessBookFest has created three online events: A virtual nature walk combined with bird-inspired Scots poetry with Hamish MacDonald, online on the NessBookFest channels Saturday 21st November and a recorded panel discussion about the creation of the New Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women, which will be broadcast on Inverness Hospital Radio as well as being available on the NessBookFest YouTube channel. Last but definitely not least, there is a downloadable challenge for the young ones: Goblins are trying to take over the Ness Islands! Thankfully, children’s author Pauline McKay is on hand and has created a free downloadable family walk with lots of nature activities to be completed in your own time as you walk the islands.

Ullapool Book Festival is celebrating Book Week Scotland with Wanderwords: a walk around Ullapool with stopping pointsto enjoy a selection of poetry, stories, and extracts written by an impressive array of poets and authors. A shorter children’s version of the guide will also be available (age approx. 9+).

There is more: Inverness Playwrights are running a double helping of workshops and the organisers of the Royal National Mod have put together a Gaelic panel event of poetry and songs. Details of Book Week Scotland are online.

Meanwhile, all our thoughts are turning to Christmas festivities now. Whatever kind of Christmas 2020 will bring, a good old Christmas picture book is hard to beat!

Rifka and the Christmas Elf.
Rifka and the Christmas Elf.

I’ve two very different suggestions for you:Aberdeenshire-based author Carol Ann’s picture book Rifka and the Christmas Elf is a fundraiser in collaboration with schoolchildren in the region who have beautifully illustrated the story. All profits go to the children’s charity Charlie House.

Girl who Stole the Stars.
Girl who Stole the Stars.

Young children in your life will adore Nairn-based Corrina Campbell’s debut picture book The Girl Who Stole the Stars.

I’m calling it as a prize winner now: the depth of illustrations, the cheery festive message, the quirky hand-created font and the Santa cameo. Gorgeous!


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