Tag Archives: Debi Gliori

It’s Bookbug Week!

For a moment when the email came I was under the impression I was being invited to get into bed with Debi Gliori, but on closer inspection the invitation was ‘only’ to watch school children read books with Debi. In a bed, as you do with bedtime stories. On a farm, which is less common, but why not?

FREE PIC- BookBug Week Launch 03

Sheep next to your bed is handy for when you need to count them, if nothing else. And the children look as if they had fun. I might have gone to watch, had I not been otherwise engaged on Monday morning. But Scottish Book Trust have sent some photos on, so it’s almost as if I was there. ‘Away in a manger…’

As well as photographing reading sheep, Scottish Book Trust are involved in giving books to every Scottish child. Which, as I keep saying, is an excellent idea. They have also looked into the statistics of how many parents read to their children, and at what age. 72% have read to their child before 12 months, which is pretty good. If this Bookbug gifting continues those figures are likely to improve.

Director Marc Lambert says ‘Sharing a book with your child on a regular basis, from as early an age as possible, is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to make a real difference to their future. You might feel silly reading to a tiny newborn, or even to your bump, but your baby will listen closely to the rhythm of your voice and the speech patterns, laying strong foundations for later language development. It’s never too late to get started though – at any age your child will soon realise that books equal cuddles, helping to inspire a love of reading which will last a lifetime.’

I think I was probably of the school of thought that I felt a bit silly to begin with, but your child won’t know that.

As well as the free books, there are lots of events on this week. In Scotland. If you live somewhere else, you might want to consider moving.

FREE PIC- BookBug Week Launch 05

The EIBF schools programme

Do any of you feel like a school at all? I’m asking because the Edinburgh International Book Festival schools programme was released this week, and it’s what Kirkland Ciccone and others were rushing to Edinburgh for on Friday evening, after the Yay! YA+.

The organisers invited (I’m only guessing here) a group of authors, some of whom are part of this year’s programme, to come and meet the teachers and librarians who might be persuaded to book a session for their young charges in August. And as I keep saying every year; it’s the schools events you really want to go to. Except you can’t, unless you’re local enough to travel and can surround yourself with suitably aged children.

But you can treat the programme as a sort of guide as to who could potentially be in the ‘real’ programme, which won’t be released until the 10th of June, and you are forewarned. Or you might be disappointed when you find that your favourite someone is only doing schools this year. But at least they will be there, and you could get a signed book.

Francesca Simon

I’m already excited by the list of great names, even if Kirkland is also on it. I’m no school, though, so won’t be there. 😉 But perhaps this year will be the year when I catch a glimpse of Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve. Or Tim Bowler, David Almond or Ali Sparkes. The list is – almost – endless. I’ve already made a wish list for myself of people to look out for, or whose temporary husband I could be. Perhaps.

Alfie in the bath

Debi Gliori, Alfie in the Bath

A small Easter bunny for you, on this Good Friday. Debi Gliori’s Alfie is back, and this time it’s Alfie in the bath. Splash.

As with the first Alfie book, there are not many words. You have to love this tiny rabbit with the enormous imagination. His bath is not just any old bath. It has the most fantastic creatures in it and Alfie knows how to play with them. Not like his sensible old dad, who simply cleans his teeth.

And mops the floor afterwards…

Debi Gliori, Alfie in the Bath

I’m sure those are catfish, in there with Alfie.

Happy – splashy – Easter!

A Birlinn rendezvous

There is a certain freedom – not to mention a sense of adventure – in standing at a railway station as a train comes in, and you’ve got a trainload of alighting passengers to choose from. Who to go and ‘have coffee’ with. Well, to be truthful, I had already googled Sally from Birlinn, so I had an idea of who to look out for, and she knew to find a short, fat witch. And she did.

Sally was coming all the way to me, to talk about the many good children’s books Birlinn – who are an Edinburgh based publisher – are about to let loose on the world this year. I walked her to the Burgh Coffee House, as she confessed to earlier youthful trips to the Rainbow Slides in Stirling. What’s more, she came here from Linlithgow, and the less said about this lovely place and me, the better. (Actually, Sally has more or less sold me on the town, now. It has a good bookshop just by the station, apparently, so as long as I manage to get off the train in the first place…)

Joan Lennon, Silver Skin and Joe Friedman, The Secret Dog

So, Birlinn. Sally brought me books by Joan Lennon and Joe Friedman, which both look promising. She talked me through their whole 2015 catalogue, and plans include a Peter Pan graphic novel, books by Alexander McCall Smith about the young Precious Ramotswe, history by Allan Burnett, the Polish bear Wojtek, Lynne Rickards and the ever orange Tobermory Cat by Debi Gliori. There will be poetry and there will be naughty young lambs.

The books all have some connection to Scotland, be it setting or author or anything else. I knew it already, really, but it’s worth saying again, that Scotland has books all its own. It’s not just an appendix to England. If Norway can have a publishing industry, then so can Scotland.

There was a bit of gossip, too, and a secret that can’t be mentioned. And after that Sally ran for her train back to the big city, hoping that someone else would have done all the work by the time she got back to the office.

Triggers

Whenever I think of the run-up to my interview with Debi Gliori (almost six years ago!) I feel ashamed. Ashamed, because she wanted to feed Son and me, and I gave her a very long list of what not to give me. In a way it doesn’t matter. As I made clear last week, I can always not eat the chocolate dessert, but it’s easier not to in a restaurant where I won’t worry too much about anyone’s hurt feelings. But I know that if I’ve slaved over a hot stove to cook something for a visitor, and it turns out to be the one exact thing they simply can’t eat, we’d both have been happier if there’d been a list. Even a long list.

Do not feed Bookwitch

(And in the end Debi went for simple and utterly delicious and I can recommend her kitchen to anyone. Which she might not thank me for.)

But you’d think that when I cook my own dinner I’d know what to do. Or not to do. And I do, but sometimes I have my moments. On Monday I could either have put no onion in the soup, or used a little, frozen, onion. I put lots of fresh onion in instead and didn’t cook it enough, and as a result you are now not reading about James Oswald’s visit to the Stirling branch of Waterstones.

C’est la vie. Sleeping off migraines is all right, too. Apart from my date with James I have the time, so it could have been worse. Perhaps I’ll write myself a list to look at in the kitchen, before I start telling others what to do.

I’m reminded by what Asperger guru Tony Attwood told the audience at a long ago conference I attended. Some people have found they get a bit more ‘normal’ by following a fairly strict diet. Or less ‘aspie.’ Tony was having a meal out with aspie child author Luke Jackson and his mother. Luke followed this diet, so his mother asked for various things to be taken into account when ordering his food.

Tony said that after a while they became aware that Luke was behaving unexpectedly badly. They asked the waitress if any of the things they’d mentioned might have ended up in Luke’s meal anyway. It had.

‘We didn’t think you’d notice,’ she said.

We hear you, Gloria

This week I found a rather lovely video by Debi Gliori on her blog, Fiddle and Pins. I clicked on it, expecting a few minutes of something, but what I got was 25 minutes of Debi-history.

Debi Gliori video

She begins with her birth, which Debi draws with surprising accuracy (I assume she really remembers this being born stuff), and then she continues to draw her childhood and school years.

There are drawings of her pet dragon (I just knew that’s what Debi would have had) and the nuns at school, and her own first baby.

It’s all very Debi, and just as she was grateful for the library which supplied her with a lifeline in the shape of books to disappear into, there are some of us who are pretty grateful for all of Debi’s books, and those ‘doodles.’

And unlike that silly nun, I do know Debi isn’t Gloria (although it is quite a nice name).

(My own, now quite ancient, interview with Debi isn’t a patch on this video. I should have asked about her dishwasher-like birth…)

The Tobermory Cat 1 2 3

The Tobermory Cat is back. This time he – and Debi Gliori – teach young readers to count.

Debi Gliori, The Tobermory Cat 1 2 3

He’s such a hungry cat that I was reminded of Six Dinner Sid, although TC appears to have a mere five houses in which to have lunch. How he can possibly have room for snacks before dinner is beyond me. But TC is a clever and capable cat.

Still as orange as ever, TC thinks, and dreams, mainly about food, from breakfast to his bedtime drink. Between meals he fights wasps, sleeps on cars and has his photograph taken by lots of people. Whatever he does, we can count it.

This is a great start to Book Week Scotland. There are one, two, three, four, five, six days left. Isn’t that right, Tobermory Cat?