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November 28, 2017

Book Week Scotland: Best Scottish Stories For Children

We are a big ol’ bunch of book worms here at One Day. That means whenever Book Weeks roll around, we are positively chomping at the bit to visit schools and share in their literary celebrations!

This week is Book Week Scotland, offering an opportunity to share Scottish authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and more! Scotland has a wonderfully rich literary history. Did you know that famous authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island), J. M. Barrie (Peter Pan) and Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows) all hail from this beautiful country?

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To celebrate, we are going to share some of our favourite Scottish stories for children. Not just by Scottish authors, these tales also take in the wonderful scenery, people and language that makes Scottish storytelling so special.

Greyfriars Bobby, Eleanor Atkinson

This true story of a loyal wee Skye terrier, who refuses to leave his adored master’s grave in Edinburgh, is truly touching. It is said that young Bobby was so famous that even Queen Victoria paid him a visit! This book brings the heart-warming tale to life, sensitively touching on the big themes of mourning, faithfulness and bravery. Told often from the wee doggie’s point of view, it’s a wonderful tale for children and also includes local Edinburgh dialect and vivid descriptions of the city during the mid-19th century. Click through to view on Amazon.

Hamish the Hairy Haggis, A. K. Peterson

An undoubted modern classic, Hamish the Hairy Haggis is fun, colourful and a great story to help understand Scottish Burns Night (albeit from a rather different angle!). Hamish, as the title suggests, is a hairy haggis. He lives in the Scottish highlands, but once a year it becomes hairy haggis-hunting season and he must escape those pesky Haggis Bashers to avoid becoming dinner! Illustrations make this book perfect for reading aloud to a class. Click through to view on Amazon.

Katie Morag series, Mairi Hedderwick 

Katie Morag is the perfect protagonist for these books-turned-tv show. Feisty, independent and full of personality, Katie lives on the (fictional) Isle of Struay, off the west coast of Scotland. It is this location, beautifully imagined and captured by author Mairi Hedderwick, that make this series so very special. Her depiction of rural Scottish life is nostalgic for anyone who knows it first hand, and enticing for those who don’t. There is much to explore in both the story and the illustrations and it is a true delight to follow Katie’s adventures on this remote island community. Click through to view on Amazon.

Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson

First published in 1886, this adventure novel is set around real 18th century Scottish events and is a thrilling tale for young adults. Concerned with history and justice, the story follows orphaned David Balfour on a quest to find his last living relative. But when Uncle Ebenezer is far from welcoming, David finds himself escaping murder, kidnap and shipwrecks on a quest for justice that takes him across treacherous Highland terrain. Author Elizabeth Laird writes that “the scenery is so vividly portrayed that you can smell the heather and feel the roughness of rock underfoot”. Click through to view on Amazon.

The Adventures of Hamish and Mirren, Moira Miller

Recently brought together in a single book, this delightful collection of short stories follows Hamish and Mirren, and their life together in a quiet farmhouse on the shores of a loch in Scotland. Illustrations comes courtesy of Mairi Hedderwick (author and illustrator of the Katie Morag series), giving these funny, charming characters the visuals they deserve. With talking sea urchins, hungry fairies and grumpy witches, this is a taste of folkloric Scotland, full of magic and lyricism. Click through to view on Amazon.

No Such Thing As Nessie!, Chani McBain

It may be a mythical legend, but the fact remains that the Loch Ness Monster springs to many people’s minds upon hearing the word ‘Scotland’. So its transformation into a fun, monster-hunting children’s tale is ideal for young adventurers who have been captivated by the idea of a giant beastie that lives beneath the water’s surface. Playing on the suspension of belief, Finlay is determined to get proof that Nessie does exist, while his older sister Sarah is far from sure. The bright illustrations keep the tale light and fun rather than daunting, and keep us guessing right until the last moment. Click through to view on Amazon.

Scots translations, James Robertson

A recent census showed that over 1.5 million people are able to speak Scots. That is why we are huge fans of favourite stories finding a Scots translation. The man behind many of these is novelist James Robertson, who as well as producing his own novels, has also provided Scots translations for tales such as The Gruffalo (our personal favourite!), Winnie-the-Pooh, Fantastic Mr. Fox (or The Sleekit Mr Tod) and more.

Honourable mentions also go to Hairy Maclary, The Boy and the Bunnet and The Tobermory Cat. And of course if it’s Scottish poetry you’re after, then it has to be Robert Burns.

We hope this list of Scottish stories for children inspires you, and if you have any of your own recommendations please do let us know! Don’t forget we do offer some of these titles (Greyfriars Bobby, Hamish the Hairy Haggis, No Such Thing As Nessie) as drama workshops for your school! Wishing you a happy and magical Book Week, Scotland.

Lots of love from the One Day Creative team x

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