Discovering Island Life during Book Week Scotland

What, more Book Week Scotland celebrations? Yup, but the host of these festivities was none other than Mairi Hedderwick and her famous fiery haired friend, Katie Morag.

Authors Live marked Book Week Scotland by inviting Mairi along to the BBC studios in Glasgow to share some of her favourite Katie Morag adventures on the fictional Scottish Island of Struay.

As the programme went out live across schools in Scotland we thought it only apt to partake in a viewing and so, on this fine crisp winter morning in the midst of Book Week Scotland, I set off for Golfhill Primary School in Glasgow to watch Katie come to life on the big screen.

Bottom on floor, settled in the cosy classroom I suddenly regressed to my five year old self. Do you remember when you were at school, the sudden feeling of joy when the TV trolley was rolled into your classroom and you thought, ‘hold on! Something different is happening here, something fun, this is not my ‘normal’ lesson and yes, I’m getting to watch TV.’? Yeah, that’s how the children were: excited, eager and infectious with enjoyment.  

We counted down to the live kick-off. It was lovely to see the children’s familiarity with Mairi Hedderwick's loveable creation. They listened avidly to the story of Tiresome Ted; a comforting story with a moral that gently discourages children (and adults) from kicking off in unnecessary tantrums.

The children were well identified with all the characters in the book and happily contributed to the audience participation and discussion. I later discovered that they had recently read this story in their classroom and that they enjoyed the new alternative of seeing their books brought to life.

I thoroughly enjoyed the viewing and I was quite shocked to discover that the first ever Katie Morag story was published in 1984, although she was first illustrated in 1980. Mairi confirmed that the character would now be 33 years old! What a youthful complexion. If that’s what island life does for you, I’m booking my ticket to Lewis.

Watch Authors Live: The Making of Katie Morag with Mairi Hedderwick here