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Book festival

Sunshine on a gala day

Once again this year, the EIS offered its support to the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The EIS is one of the sponsors of the Children’s programme of the EIBF through our Sponsorship of the Arts programme. Here the SEJ reports on the experiences of parties of pupils from two schools – Lochearnhead primary school in Perthshire and Sanderson High school in East Kilbride - who took the bus through to Edinburgh to visit the Schools Gala Day at the end of August.

"My favourite thing was listening to Heather Dyer." Ryan, Lochearnhead PS

Heather Dyer with pupils from Lochearnhead primary school.

“I had a wonderful time at the schools gala day - it was an honour to have been invited to speak. Writing is a solitary process, and meeting the children who have enjoyed my books makes it all worthwhile. I love hearing their questions, and talking to them about other books that they have enjoyed, and seeing their enthusiasm. Children love stories, and good fiction teaches truths. If children can, through good stories, be turned into avid readers, then the whole world is open to them. The best praise I ever heard about a book was a quote by a nine year old girl. She said she had enjoyed a book 'so much, that she was always searching for another'. I can only hope that my books are enjoyed 'so much' that they inspire children to search for others.” – Heather Dyer Heather Dyer’s book The Fish in Room 11 has been studied in Midlothian schools as part of their curriculum. Heather’s second book, The Girl with the Broken Wing, is due out in paperback this October, and the third book for the same age range, The Boy in the Biscuit Tin, is due out next year. More info on Heather’s books is available from

14 Scottish Educational Journal October 06


he hugely successful Edinburgh International Book Festival Schools programme once again featured a special day set aside entirely for pupils from Scottish Schools this year. The Schools Gala Day, held on 29 August and sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland, attracted schools from across the country to Charlotte Square in Edinburgh to allow pupils to meet some of their favourite authors and hear them reading excerpts from their works. And, once again this year, the Book Festival managed to bring out the best weather on the gala day to allow the authors, pupils and teachers to enjoy the sunshine.

Among the pupils who attended this year’s Schools Gala Day was a party of pupils from Lochearnhead primary school, under the supervision of headteacher Nancy McGrandles. Also attending this year was a group of pupils from Sanderson High school, which caters for pupils with special needs, under the supervision of modern languages teacher Susan Anderson. Both schools were able to take advantage of the dedicated Book Festival Bus Fund which aims to provide greater access to the Festival for schools outwith the Edinburgh area.

The pupils took full advantage of the facilities available and the Schools Gala Day and between them attended readings and signing sessions by some renowned children’s authors including Louise Arnold and Heather Dyer.

Louise Arnold’s talk centred around the process of writing her popular novel The Invisible Friend and its sequel Ghost School. Louise began by describing how a short story she wrote when she was just nine years old eventually evolved into a fully developed manuscript some sixteen years later. She also discussed where her ideas come from, the benefits

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