As part of the Outreach Programme, I had the privilege to visit Livingstone Village and Kirkhill primary schools in West Lothian on 25 August. I was invited to discuss with Primary 5,6 and 7 my novelty book ‘How the World Works’, published by Templar. With the help of a clock, a fish tank and a huge rubber duck, the children and I embarked on an amazing journey, discussing the story of the universe, the evolution of life squeezed in 24 hours, the water cycle, how lost rubber ducks are helping scientists to understand ocean currents, whether the climate is changing and what the future of the earth might be.
I was hugely impressed not only by the knowledge the children have about the world, but also by their enquiring mind and ability to discuss complex ideas and scientific concepts. ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ ‘Is the earth really warming?’ ‘Should we try to find another planet or change the way we do things?’ My approach was to explore with them how everything in nature is interconnected and moves in cycles, whether it is the earth orbiting the sun, the water we drink, the ocean currents or the movement of the air above our heads. It didn’t take very long for the sessions to become interactive and for hands to shoot into the air to ask questions or add interesting comments. I was very impressed by the nature of the children’s questions, not only about my books, but also about my journey and source of inspiration as an author. ‘What book inspired you the most?’, ‘Do you consider yourself a scientist or an author?’ and, of course ‘Did you meet famous people at the Edinburgh Festival?’
As an author, I feel privileged to have met the children and enriched by this experience. I would like to thank the schools for inviting me, the Scottish Booktrust for providing me with the opportunity and particularly Chris and Beth for such an enjoyable day. It was truly uplifting to see children as young as 9 so knowledgeable about the world around us and aware of the changes we need to make for a sustainable future.