Books for Schools Initiative: Craigroyston Primary School

Last Monday, our group had the exciting opportunity to provide new titles to Craigroyston Primary School for our Books for Schools Initiative.

Craigroyston is known for encouraging their pupils to enhance their literacy skills, and supply this initiative by participating in book festivals all year-round. Such events include the Edinburgh International Book Festival, World Book Day, and Book Week Scotland. The age of their pupils ranges from four to twelve, with those in Primary 7 receiving a book of their choice upon leaving.

In 2017, the Deputy Minister and Education Secretary of Scotland, John Swinney, described the school as: ‘A shining example of innovative practice for how we take forward our literacy agenda.’

Craigroyston is situated in Muirhouse, an area of Edinburgh currently in redevelopment after a 2016 report revealed it to be the sixth most deprived ‘datazone’. That hasn’t stopped … Continue reading “Books for Schools Initiative: Craigroyston Primary School”

New Adventure Book for Boys

The team at Merchiston Publishing are back, bringing you adventures on the high seas and deep in the Amazon!

Perfect for boys aged 9–12, our latest project is a newly re-vamped edition of Martin Rattler, written by classic Scottish author R.M. Ballantyne.

Meet the team…. from the head of editorial, Jules, and her colleagues working hard on the manuscript, to Barbara developing layouts in production. Meanwhile, Rachel in marketing is looking for local schools who want to get involved and get their hands on this thrilling new text.

We are also on Facebook and Twitter, come visit us at:

https://www.facebook.com/martinrattlerbook

https://twitter.com/Martin_Rattler

 

 

 

 

Wester Hailes Education Centre receives Merchiston Publishing donation of library books

From left to right: Msc Publishing students Alessia De Gaspari, Susan Kemp, Rhiannon Tate and Keigh-Lee Paroz with Wester Hailes Education Centre Librarian, Anne Brownlee. Anne is holding her favourite title, Sunset Song. She was very pleased to see this Scottish classic revived in such a beautiful way.
From left to right: MSc Publishing students Alessia De Gaspari, Susan Kemp, Rhiannon Tate and Keigh-Lee Paroz with Wester Hailes Education Centre Librarian, Anne Brownlee. Anne is holding her favourite title, Sunset Song. She was very pleased to see this Scottish classic revived in such a beautiful way.

Wester Hailes Education Centre’s library is an example of how passion can overcome financial difficulties.

Despite budget cuts that have resulted in a lack of funding for the past two years, the Library has been transformed into a bright, open space entirely by in-house staff. Library stocks have been replenished through donations and borrowing from the area’s school library services warehouse.

A sign of good things to come - poster outside Wester Hailes Education Centre's library.
A sign of good things to come – poster outside Wester Hailes Education Centre’s library.

The school’s commitment to improving literacy and encouraging reading for pleasure is apparent in the numerous literacy initiatives they put in place. An exciting example is Continue reading “Wester Hailes Education Centre receives Merchiston Publishing donation of library books”

Books for Schools Initiative – Team Aqua

Handing over copies of Peter and Wendy at the school reception
Handing over copies of Peter and Wendy at the school reception

The Books for Schools initiative gives MSc publishing students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in our field whilst providing young readers with exciting new resources for their classrooms. To start, our class was divided into teams and then allocated an area of Edinburgh. Team Aqua, made up of our MSc’s loyal band of commuters; Megan, Mairi, Lauren, and Louise, was up for the challenge and set off to explore the wonders of Edinburgh’s Oxgangs.

After some research, we found that Oxgangs Primary School would be a great match for Merchiston Publishing’s books. Having decided on our school we then liaised with our tutors about stock availability. Due to the focus on Scots texts in the Curriculum for Excellence we decided that Merchiston Publishing’s centenary edition of J.M Barrie’s Peter and Wendy would be a useful resource that the pupils would enjoy.

Oxgangs Primary SchoolAfter authorising the release of stock with our programme leader, we boxed up our books ready for delivery. We decided to distribute thirty copies allowing each child in a class to have an individual copy and thus ensuring that the children will be able to fully engage with the text. Books in hand, we headed for the bus, which the team were delighted to see after the long walk to university that morning.

 photo of students and books
The team at the end of our journey: Megan Reid, Mairi McKay, Louise McGlynn & Lauren Waterman. Our books have found a happy new home.

After getting slightly lost, we arrived at the school and were greeted by beautiful grounds and a very helpful receptionist. The books were greatly received and after a few photos, our task was complete and we could begin our long journey home … back down the road.

Edinburgh Napier’s Books for Schools Initiative Challenge: Team Black

IMG_0535Edinburgh Napier’s Books for Schools Initiative took place this week, mobilising the new class of MSc Publishing students to distribute books to students all over the city. This initiative promotes not only literacy, but also the amazing publications produced by previous students for Merchiston Publishing. Our group (Team Black), made up of Claire Cunningham, Franzi Heydrich, Imogen McBean and Shelly Neal, were assigned the areas of Muirhouse and Pilton. We were asked to choose one school to present with books published by Merchiston Publishing. Team Black decided upon Ferryhill Primary School after researching the schools’ size and we were then reassured in our decision after hearing about their winter module focusing on Scottish authorship. Merchiston’s 2011 live project of the Scottish classic The Kelpie’s Pearls, by Mollie Hunter, was the publishing house’s first children’s book.

When Deputy Head Teacher Susan Reid heard of the initiative, she stated, “It ties in perfectly with the lessons on Scottish culture and language that we’re going to have after Christmas this year. It is a great opportunity for the children to experience Scottish literature first hand.”

Student Imogen McBean and Deputy Head Teacher Susan Reid
Student Imogen McBean presenting Deputy Head Teacher Susan Reid with the books.

Early Monday afternoon, our team bussed down to Ferryhill and had the joy of presenting a class set of The Kelpie’s Pearls to Mrs Reid, who graciously accepted them. We also had the chance to chat to her about the value of books and she said that these days in education books were like gold dust. Mrs Reid also suggested that Edinburgh Napier and Merchiston Publishing develop a stamp to advertise their donations and allow for all readers to know exactly where the books had come from. Team Black left Ferryhill happy, knowing that we contributed to promoting literacy in the local community, as well as spreading Merchiston Publishing’s works for the benefit of children.

Leith Academy receives Merchiston Publishing titles as part of the Books for Schools Initiative

As the first formal assignment of Edinburgh Napier’s MSc Publishing curriculum, the Books for Schools Initiative challenged groups of new students to connect with the wider community of Edinburgh through a book-driven outreach project. Acting as representatives of Merchiston Publishing, students were assigned a local area and asked to deliver a box of books to a school within that zone.

We had an extremely positive experience cooperating with Leith Academy in our allocated region of Leith, Edinburgh. Initially, we had considered multiple schools in the area in order to determine which would benefit greater from participating in the initiative. While researching potential recipients, we were very impressed by a series of student-written book reviews on Leith Academy’s website. We decided that this school’s emphasis on student engagement in literacy seemed particularly in line with the Books for Schools Initiative’s objectives.

A look at the books Leith Academy received from Merchiston Publishing via the Books for Schools Initiative
A look at the books Leith Academy received from Merchiston Publishing via the Books for Schools Initiative

Our point of contact at Leith Academy was Christine Boal, the school librarian. She was happy to receive the books for the school library, and even told us that some of the titles in Merchiston Publishing’s catalogue, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, are part of the English department curriculum. Unfortunately, we were not in a position to offer any copies of this particular book, but Christine was enthusiastic about the possibility of obtaining a class set of curriculum books from Merchiston Publishing should this become viable in the future.

The titles that we hand-selected for Leith Academy’s library were The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, Detective McLevy’s Casebook by James McLevy, Imagined Corners by Willa Muir, and Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon (Christine has plans to campaign for this particular book to be integrated into the school’s English curriculum in future terms). We were excited by the idea of bringing modern editions of classic Scottish literature into the school and offered two copies of each.

On Tuesday, we journeyed to Leith (although this was not so much of an expedition for two of our members, who are originally from Leith and made the trip from campus by bicycle) to deliver the books. We finally met face-to-face with Christine, who was very admiring of the books’ updated, original cover art. We were very interested in the possibility of having students review the books for the Leith Academy website, and she planned to encourage students to do this. Christine also mentioned another student-focused project in which she hopes to incorporate the donated books, and we truly look forward to seeing how this pans out. We agreed to keep in contact regarding future developments and possibilities of further collaboration.

Rebecca, Donna, Danielle, and Paula with Leith Academy school librarian Christine Boal, who is featuring some of the donated books
Rebecca, Donna, Danielle, and Paula with Leith Academy school librarian Christine Boal, who is featuring some of the donated books

We took a lot away from this assignment in terms of becoming somewhat familiar with the various roles that people fill in the publishing industry, as well as the importance of deadline-oriented planning. Additionally, we gained an appreciation of the demanding nature of group work, something that will certainly be relevant throughout the course of our degrees and careers.

Thanks again Christine and Leith Academy for your cooperation and enthusiasm! We look forward to hearing how your students benefited from the Books for Schools Initiative.

– Rebecca Riordon, Paula Russell, Danielle Watt, and Donna Kean, MSc Publishing 2014/2015