5 Scottish Books to celebrate Burns Night
If all you know of Scotland is whisky, haggis and Outlander then you're missing out on a wild and magical land, with beautiful scenery, history and of course culture. And if you're thinking of culture, one of the first names that spring to mind is the hugely influential poet Robert Burns. Each year on 25th January Scots all across the globe still celebrate their national poet with a traditional Burns Night celebration. It's unlikely your little ones will have a taste for Haggis, neeps and tatties (turnip & potatoes) but they may already be aware of some of Burns' most famous poems and tunes. To celebrate Burns Night tonight, we've found five books to introduce, or reinforce Scottish culture and identity for your children.
1 Rabbie's Rhymes: Robert Burns for Wee Folk
illustrated by Karen Sutherland
Age suitability: 0-3 years
A colourful introduction to the poems of Robert Burns, Rabbie's Rhymes will entertain small children and provide a flavour of his rhythms and songs like Ca the Yowes and Ye Banks and Braes, A Red, Red Rose and, the most famous Auld Lang Syne.
2 A Scottish Year: Twelve Months in the Life of Scotland's Kids
by Tania McCartney
Age suitability: 4-10 years
This is a lovely way to introduce your child's Scottish heritage through the lives of five multicultural Scottish children. Detailing the celebrations and events of a Scottish year, this book also shines a light on the everyday small things that can make a child's life so magical.
3 There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie
by Rebecca Colby, illustrated by Kate McLelland
Age suitability: 3-6 years
A uniquely Scottish twist on the much loved rhyme. From a midge through Scottish seals, puffins and up to the one and only Nessie, surely that midge can be caught? Rebecca Colby’s playful rhymes and tongue twisters are perfect for reading aloud with little ones.
4 Mary, Queen of Scots: Escape from the Castle
by Theresa Breslin, illustrated by Theresa Martinez
Age suitability: 4-7 years
"On a tiny island in the middle of Loch Leven there is a castle. Many years ago, in that castle on the island, a beautiful young queen was held prisoner. Her name was Mary, Queen of Scots."
A daring escape, a brave young Queen and a castle on an island are all guaranteed to thrill and intrigue young readers, and it's all the better for being a true story of one of Scotland's most famous daughters.
5 The Story of Scotland
By Richard Brassey and Stewart Ross
Age suitability: 8 years +
Summing up the history and culture of a country, as rich in true tales and myths alike, is of course impossible in just five books, but Brassey's witty and detail- packed 'The story of Scotland' is a really good start. The book takes children (and adults) from the Ice Age to the Vikings, the Picts and the Romans, to Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Flora Macdonald, Sir Walter Scott, Logie Baird, Keir Hardie and many more famous Scots up to the present day.
For more books for children with a Scottish collection check out the Kelpies which groups Scottish books by age range starting with Wee Kelpies ( 1-3 years), Picture Kelpies (3-6 year olds), Young Kelpies (6-8 years) and Kelpies Edge (12+) which focusses on Scottish books for children everywhere.