Programme of Events for Primary Schools

Wednesday 7th of November

Emily Dodd: Powerful Forces

Author: Emily Dodd

Books you will receive a copy of: Tsunamis, Volcanoes and Wind Power by Emily Dodd.

Session 1: Wednesday 7th of November 9.00 – 10.00 am. Venue: Craigmillar Library

Session 2: Wednesday 7th of November 13.00 – 14.00 pm. Venue: School visit.

Prepare to be blown away in this fun and fact-filled event with author of Tsunamis, Volcanoes and Wind Power, Emily Dodd. Emily teaches you the basics of three of the world’s most powerful forces, combining thrilling scientific facts with intriguing information, to give you a better understanding of the earth’s amazing capabilities. Leave erupting with anticipation to find out more.

Kasia Matyjaszek: Molly Rogers Pirate Girl

Illustrator: Kasia Matyjaszek

Venue: Your school.

Age group: P1

Session 1: Wednesday 7th of November 9.00 -10.00 am. Venue: School visit.

Session 2: Wednesday 7th of November 13.00 -14.00 pm. Venue: School visit.

Books your class will receive: Molly Rogers Pirate Girl

Illustrator Kasia Matyjaszek will read from her book about ferocious pirate Captain Firebeard and his crew who meet their match when they kidnap a small, feisty girl named Molly!


Scotland Stars FC with author Danny Scott

Author: Danny Scott

Session 1: Thursday 8th of November 10.00 – 11.00 am

Session 2: Thursday 8th of November 13.00 – 14.00pm.  

Age group: P3 – P5

Venue: Your school’s gym hall or any other large room for pupils to move around in!

Books your class will receive a copy of: Scotland Stars FC Series by Daniel Scott

Session 1: Thursday 8th of November 10.00 – 11.00 am  

Session 2: Thursday 8th of November 13.00 – 14.00pm

Explore football, friendship and the power of teamwork with Danny Scott, the author of the Scotland Stars FC series. In an action-packed hour, Danny will tell you all about the hero of Scotland Stars Calum Ferguson, and his footballing friends. You might even get to take a penalty against the author!

Alan Dapré- Porridge the Tartan Cat

Author: Alan Dapré

Books your class will receive a copy of: Porridge the Tartan Cat Series.

Venue: In your school

Age group: P3-P5

Session 1: Monday 12th of November 10.00 – 11.00 am.

Session 2: Monday 12th of November 13.00 – 14.00 pm.

Choose from an hour-long assembly style session, wordplay session or character-building session:

  1. Hour-long ‘Assembly Style’ Session

Typical content: We start by investigating the ‘Porridge’ book covers and the ‘blurb’ on the back. We discover how Porridge became tartan and compare Cat fact and fiction using Gadget Grandad’s brawsome tripewriter. The children explore the zany word-play in the series, e.g., quirky band names, crazy world championships, silly similes & terrific tongue-twisters.

Alan introduce settings, characters & other elements from my Porridge the Tartan Cat series. Involves lots of ‘joining in’ & volunteering! [Usually for P3 to P5 pupils]

Plus, we look at what makes an exciting plot! Such as saving the planet from a giant Clootie Dumpling, putting on a Big Gig, rescuing Porridge from a pesky pet shop, turning Dad back from being a dinosaur. Or escaping from hairy Scarewolves! Me-howl! [Followed by a short Q & A activity + optional book signing].

The interactive sessions encourage the audience to ask & respond to questions. LIT 1-07a
The author uses a greater range of question types with older children. LIT 2-07a
The author refers to life as a professional writer & explore how my own experiences influence my books. HWB 0-20a / HWB 1-20a 
2.     Hour-long ‘Wordplay’ Workshop

‘Porridge the Tartan Cat’ based Workshop (max 35 children) where we investigate the wordplay in the Tartan books. [Followed by a short Q & A activity + optional book signing].


Alan start with a short presentation on the Porridge the Tartan Cat series of books and explore the wordplay, using props and volunteers. Then it’s a hands-on experience with wordplay related CATivities. There’s some crafty fun making ‘tongue twisters wheels’, ‘character creation cards’ and an ‘impossible flip-flap knock knock joke maker’. The tasks are all open ended so allow for a level of differentiation.

Further things to do include a spooky Unfair Funfair board game activity, plus a ‘Fold Your Own Tartan Cat’ origami task!

Listening and Talking: LIT 1&2-02a, 1&2-03a, 1&2-04a, 1&2-05a, 1&2-10a
Reading: LIT 1&2-11a, 1&2-16a, ENG 1&2-19a
Writing: LIT 1&2-20a), 1&2-23a, 12&2-24a, 1&2-26a, ENG 1&2-28a
Expressive Arts: Art and Design – EXA 1&2-02a, 1&2-03a, 1&2-04a, 1&2-06a



3. Hour-long ‘Character Creation’ Workshop

‘Porridge the Tartan Cat’ based workshop (max 35) where children investigate & create incredible characters.

Children study the characteristics of key characters: Super-spy Gadget Grandad. Reluctant hero Porridge. Adventurous twins Isla & Ross. Mysteriously musical Groovy Gran. Shrinking scientist Mini Mum and Monster sized Dino Dad.

We explore how expressions, moods and props are used to build a character. Then investigate the ways illustrator Yuliya Somina uses broad quick strokes to convey personality. Next, we look at how characters communicate, pulling inferences from the quirky text & pictures. After that, we each create and sketch out a suPURR-cool colourful animal character – using words and pencils! Suitable for P3 upwards.

Listening and Talking: LIT 1&2-02a, 1&2-03a, 1&2-06a, 1&2-10a
Reading: LIT 1&2-14a, ENG 1&2-19a
Expressive Arts: Drama – EXA 1&2-01a, 1&2-12a, 1&2-13a, 1&2-14a, 1&2-15a


Gill Arbuthnott: The Boy who Went to War

Author: Gill Arbuthnott

Age group: P5 – P7

Venue: Craigmillar Library

Session 1: Monday 12th of November 9.00 -10.00 am.

Session 2: Monday 12th of November 11.00 -12.00 am.

Books your class will receive a copy of: A Secret Diary of The First World War

Step into the boots of real-life boy soldier James Marchbank and experience the most important and incredible bits of the First World War. Mixes fascinating facts and an engaging story with brilliant illustrations.

In November 1914, at the age of just 14, James Marchbank from Dalkeith went to the Western Front as a bugler in the Royal Scots Regiment. Throughout the war, he kept a diary detailing his experiences and luckily survived to bring it home with him. Discover the amazing true story of the boy who went to war with author Gill Arbuthnott, who has adapted James’s diaries into a fascinating book.

Author visit with Mike Nicholson

Choose from two different options 1. Mysterious Museums event or 2. Write a Story in 60 mins:



  1. Mysterious Museums with Mike Nicholson

Author: Mike Nicholson

Venue: Craigmillar Library, East Rooms

Age group: P3 – P4

Session time: Tuesday 13th of November 10.00 – 11.00 am

Books your class will receive a copy of: Museum Mystery Squad Series by Mike Nicholson

Spend an hour in the company of mammoths, mummies and Mike Nicholson as he introduces his magnificent Museum Mystery Squad series. Did you think a museum was just a building with objects in it? Well think again – pick any exhibit, give it a twist and you have a mystery on your hands! Join Mike to investigate the strange goings-on and watch his stories come to life.

  1. Write a Story in 60 mins with Mike Nicholson

Author: Mike Nicholson

Books your class will receive a copy of: Museum Mystery Squad Series by Mike Nicholson

Venue: Craigmillar Library, East Rooms

Age group: P5 – P7

Session time:  Tuesday 13th of November 12.00 – 13.00 pm

A highly interactive session for children to create their own story. Mike Nicholson works with a class to create storylines, characters, beginnings and endings and descriptions from scratch. In 60minutes the class turns a giant blank sheet of paper into a scribbled story. Then Mike writes up the story overnight, and the class receive an ‘author-written’ story the next day entirely based on their ideas. The session is fun and a challenge to those who say that they ‘don’t have ideas’ or that ‘writing is boring’. It also produces material which schools can then use afterwards and which can be a prompt to Literacy outcomes in the Curriculum for Excellence.

Craigmillar Stories with Heather Henderson

Venue: Craigmillar Library, East Rooms.

Age group: P4 – P5

Session Time: Tuesday 13th of November 10.00 – 11.00 am

Session Time:  Tuesday 13th of November 12.00 – 13.00 pm

Heather Henderson has been a storyteller since 1996 and loves telling stories from all over the world. She enlivens her stories by encouraging listeners to join in with words, actions and voices.

With years of experience of telling stories in school and community settings, Heather’s comfortable with nursery and primary age audiences, but happy to offer her talents to older groups and adults. Her warm and down to earth style ensures a lasting rapport with her listeners, spiced with a good measure of humour.


The Spellchaser’s Trilogy with author Lari Don

Author: Lari Don

Books your class will receive a copy of: Spellchasers The Beginners Guide to Curses.

Venue: In your classroom

Age group: P6 –P7

Session Time:  Wednesday 14th of November 10.00 – 11.00 am  

Session Time: Wednesday 14th of November 12.00 – 13.00 pm

Chases, cliffhangers and curses! Award-winning author and storyteller Lari Don is passionate about sharing stories. She loves discussing how stories work, retelling the traditional tales that inspire her fiction, and encouraging young writers to explore their own imaginations. Join her as she reads from The Beginner’s Guide to Curses – the first book in her Spellchasers trilogy – discusses how she writes action scenes, helps you imagine an adventure of your own, and shares one of the monster-defeating legends that inspire her writing.

Chae Strathie – Dear Dinosaur.

Author: Chae Strathie

Books your class will receive a copy of: Dear Dinosaur On Tour by Chae Strathie. 

Venue: Craigmillar Library

Age group: P1

Session 1: 10.00 – 11.00 am

Session 2: 13.00 – 14.00 pm

Chae Strathie’s book Dear Dinosaur is the transition book for the Craigmillar Cluster 2018, so many of the P1 pupils will know the story well:

Max writes a letter to his favourite dinosaur, the mighty T Rex – and the T Rex writes back! As they learn about each other’s lives, a very unusual friendship develops. Chae Strathie talks about his beautiful interactive picture book, which has real letters to open.

Warning: this event contains some monster dinosaur facts!

Andy Briggs: Drone Wars

Author: Andy Briggs

Session: 27th of November, 1.17-2.15PM

Venue: Castlebrae High School Library

Age group: P7, S1.

Your class will receive a copy of: Drone Wars by Andy Briggs.

Meet the author behind the actioned packed novel that brings drone racing  to life!

Carson and his friends love racing drones, and they can’t believe their luck when they stumble across a discarded one at a junkyard. But this new find is full of surprises. When they power the drone up, it starts talking! And it’s fast. Really fast. Carson’s team could win big prizes in the racing leagues. Trouble is, someone wants their incredible drone back, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it. How can three kids protect their new friend?

Andy is a screenwriter, graphic novelist, author and conservationist – writing on movie projects such as “JUDGE DREDD” and “FREDDY VS JASON” and “FOREVERMAN” for Paramount Pictures, Spiderman creator Stan Lee and legendary producer Robert Evans. He has worked on TV projects for Syfy, Netflix, ITV and Amazon.

His latest series of middle grade novels – THE INVENTORY – is published by Scholastic. In September his new Middle Grade book, DRONE RACER marks his 31st publication.


Creative residencies:



Creative Residency with cartoonist and author John Fardell.

This is a great opportunity for any class that would like to hone their story writing and drawing skills. Over a series of three sessions the class will work with cartoonist and writer of Manfred the Baddie and The Day Louis Got Eaten, John Fardell to make a piece of work to be proud of. Tell us, in a couple of sentences, why your class would benefit from the Creative Residency and you might find yourself making a book with John Fardell.

Age Group: P4, 5, 6 or 7.



Wednesday 7th of November

Who is Kirkland Ciccone?

Author: Kirkland Ciccone

Your class will receive a copy of: Glowglass by Kirkland Ciccone.

Venue: Castlebrae High School

Session Time: Period 4: 12.02-1.00PM

Kirkland Tiberius Syntherius Moany Pony Ciccone’s punk fuelled storytelling events and his idiosyncratic take on the YA genre have both helped him take the Teen Reads Scene by storm since his first novel in 2013. He is now highly in demand for live appearances at libraries/festivals/schools. His books appeal to the freaks, geeks, punks, skaters, weirdos, and wacky folk as well as their parents.  But who is Kirkland Ciccone?

Prize winning young adult author, renowned speaker, and general all-round character Kirkland Ciccone will be at Castlebrae Community High School as part of the Craigmillar Book Festival celebrations to talk about his own writing and what it takes to be an author, and why reading is important.


Starrsha Glowglass’ face is on the front page of every newspaper. She isn’t a model, Vlogger, or reality TV show contestant. Starrsha is famous for something darker: she survived a massacre that claimed her Brothers and Sisters. Hers was no ordinary family. They were The Family Glowglass – a religious order set up by an eccentric businessman as a tax dodge. One morning the parishioners sat down to breakfast…Most didn’t get back up. Only Starrsha and her mute Brother, Simon, survived. Both now have a chance to lead an ordinary life. For Starrsha that means high school. Can a videotape bring back the dead? What s behind the red door? Why won’t Starrsha s best friend reveal her true sexuality? When is a poster on a wall actually a trap? Will My Chemical Romance reform? Why is Father obsessed with vintage technology? Why does Barbie freak out Starrsha? How many rich husbands has Aunt Imelda bumped off? And why is God crank-calling Starrsha? All will be revealed when someone presses PLAY…

Tuesday 13th of November


Spoken word poet: Leyla Josephine

Venue: Castlebrae High School

Session Time:

Show: P4 (11.37am-12.35pm)

Lunch – 12.35-1.17

Workshop P5 (1.17-2.15)

Workshop P6 (2.15-3.12)

Award winning poet Leyla Josephine presents Hopeless. Through quick-fire poetry and dark comedy, Leyla asks whether we can really make a difference or, if in fact, everything is broken beyond repair.

Hopeless examines millennials’ apathetic attitudes to the world and audiences can expect a fiery collision of theatre and spoken word all tied together with a powerhouse performance. The show follows Leyla, as she realises the news brings nothing but despair, causing her to feel hopeless. She stays in bed all day, eating full Vienettas and asking ‘what is the point of starting the day when things are so bleak?’ Hopeless shines light on these miserable times and will try to stir up hope even in the most cynical of audience members.

Shortlisted for Saboteur Awards ‘Best Spoken Word Show’ and longlisted for Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

Author: Claire McFall

Session: 20th of November, 9.27-10.25am.

Your class will receive a copy of: Ferryman by Claire McFall

Venue: Castlebrae High School

We are delighted to welcome the winner of the inaugural Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2017, Claire McFall, to Castlebrae Community High School.

Claire is a writer and a teacher who lives and works in the Scottish Borders.   Her first book, Ferryman, was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards, long-listed for the Branford Boase Award and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. The novel is a best-seller in China, selling just under a million copies since June 2015 – and a film deal is in the offing!

Her second novel, Bombmaker​, is a YA dystopian thriller in which the main character Lizzie struggles to survive in a London dominated by gangs and plagued by terrorism. Black Cairn Point, Claire’s third novel, is a paranormal thriller about a camping trip gone wrong.  When all of her friends suffer the wrath of a mysterious entity, only Heather is left to take the blame! Black Cairn Point won the first Scottish Teenage Book Prize with the Scotsman newspaper singling Claire out as “one of the most fearless voices for Young Adult fiction in Scotland”, which they described as “expertly handled … never less than gripping, constantly surprising, and with a truly shocking finale”. This is the novel that netted Claire the top prize and which has had her fans hooked. Claire will be talking about her books. There are books for sale and these will be signed by Claire during her visit.