Gruffalo author brings stories to life for school kids at special Dundee event

Author Julia Donaldson with some of the schoolchildren following the story-telling session at Dundee Central Library.

Pupils from five city primary schools brought their favourite stories to life in front of the creator of some of the world’s best-loved children’s characters.

Julia Donaldson, author of the best-selling Gruffalo series, visited Dundee Central Library for an interactive story-telling session featuring costumes, music and nursery rhymes.

She was making her first stop on the Children’s Book Tour, which will also visit libraries in Stirling, Glasgow, the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

It is the second time Julia has taken part in the book tour, after first hitting the road in 2012 when she was children’s laureate.

Julia spoke to the Tele about her love of libraries — and her fondness for Dundee.

“My son lives in Broughty Ferry with his family, so that’s where we stay when we visit,” she said.

“They’re very close to the waterfront just overlooking the Tay. It’s a lovely place to walk and go beachcombing.”

Julia said she approved of plans for a £1.8 million extension to Broughty Ferry Library to create a new community space for the area.

“They can perform all sorts of functions, she said.

“But, as a writer and a lover of books, libraries are the place that gets books into children’s hands. I think that’s more important now than ever.

“So many book shops are closing, some children don’t have books at home and some schools have limited selections.

“So a good library and a good librarian might just be the only place where a child gets the reading bug.”

Julia and Malcolm at the event.

P3 and P4 pupils from Our Lady’s, St Pius, Fintry, Ballumbie and St Fergus primary schools performed adaptations of their favourite children’s stories on Monday, before Julia and her husband Malcolm acted out some of her best-known stories, including What the Ladybird Heard and a Squash and a Squeeze.

As well as inspiring children, Julia said her visits to libraries and schools also inspired some of her own stories.

“I got the idea for The Everywhere Bear on a school visit in Scotland,” she said. “The school had a little mascot and a boy had dropped it on the way in. Somebody else picked it up and handed it in to a shop.

“Then another child at the school went into the shop and found it. I thought it was a lovely story but it wasn’t until years later at a book signing a little girl showed me her favourite teddy called The Everywhere Bear. So sometimes ideas develop over time, from all sorts of places.”

The Children’s Book Tour is sponsored by Scottish Friendly, one of the UK’s leading financial mutuals, and is organised by the Scottish Book Trust.