Book Week Scotland 2018

By Kerry McGuire, Assistant Editor

Book Week Scotland is running from Monday 19th – Sunday 25th November. It’s a week in which people gather in libraries, workplaces and schools to get involved in all sorts of exciting literary events with Scottish authors, illustrators and poets. And this year’s theme is Rebel!

The Scottish Book Trust are asking readers to vote for the most rebellious reads of the 21st century, and have set up a writing campaign in which school children of all ages can create a piece of writing inspired by the theme. We’ve selected some quizzes on rebellious books to get in the spirit! Check them out below.


Lower Years

When a local bookshop is about to be knocked down by the Mayor and turned into a supermarket, Joey, Origami Girl and an army of fictional characters take action and descend on Parliament. With some thought-provoking illustrations, the story introduces young readers to the threat small businesses face  from capitalism. The book also teaches the power of community action.

The Little People, Big Dreams series is a great introduction to some of the most rebellious people in history. There are many inspiring women to choose from, but civil rights activist Rosa Parks was a true rebel. She refused to give her seat to a white passenger on a bus during a time of segregation in the American South. Her courage sparked a city-wide bus boycott that eventually changed the laws in Alabama.

Our Assistant Editor, Krista said “Rosa Parks was a truly incredible woman. The picture book was a great way to learn a little more about her. My jaw was dropped the whole way through! Her story is a great reminder to always stand up for what you believe in.”

In The Promise, a young thief finds herself with a bag of acorns, and soon begins challenging the status quo by planting them everywhere, in turn bringing colour and life back to her previously hard, ugly city.  This picture book is perfect for young readers who enjoy looking at illustrations. The simple message that children will take from it, is that bad situations can be improved by the small actions of everyday people.


Middle Years

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is a rebel many children will have heard of. As a teen, she spoke out publicly against the Taliban’s prohibition of female education, with both devastating and incredible consequences. This edition features photographs and first-hand accounts of the story. It’s perfect for non-fiction lovers who are beginning to move on to longer texts.

 Another non-fiction title featuring powerful female rebels is 25 Women Who Fought Back. This is part of Raintree’s four-part Daring Women series. The women represented, including Emmeline Pankhurst, Pauli Murray, Alison Bechdel and Manal al-Shariff, are from all walks of life. Their stories teach us that barriers are made to be broken. Most school-age girls and boys reading this will take something from it, and commit some of these inspiring stories to memory.

Children interested in historical rebellions may find Brian Gallagher’s fictitious depiction of the Easter Rising in Dublin informative. In Friend or Foe, good friends Jack and Emer find themselves on opposite sides of the struggle, during which a group of Irish nationalists and their followers staged a rebellion against the British government in Ireland.


Upper Years

 In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury tells a powerful and cautionary tale about censorship. This is what our Assistant Editor, Krista had to say about the book: “Firefighter Guy Montage doesn’t put out fires, he starts them. He accepts the reality of his life, living without questioning anything. That is until the day he meets a young girl who challenges everything he thought he knew. He must decide whether to continue his normal life or fight for the freedom of thought. ”

“This was the first book I remember reading as a child that made me feel that rebellious spark. I think it’s a wonderful book that can be great for discussions about the freedom of speech. Bradbury’s ideas are complex, but it’s still accessible.”

Noughts and Crosses describes an alternative history in which African people had previously made slaves of  European people. In the series, segregation still keeps the crosses (blacks) in control of the noughts (whites), despite slavery having been abolished. It’s a love story in which the protagonists Sephy and Callum constantly fight against racial oppression. The book is powerful, featuring complex characters who encourage their teen readers to fight for what they believe in.

Finally, you can’t get much more rebellious than S.E Hinton’s The Outsiders. An original story of teenage angst in which a group of boys in Oklahoma feel as if  their society has no place for them. The Greasers are the lower class gang with the bad reputation. Yet compared to the Socs, they have sincere relationships amongst themselves. The differences in material wealth, behaviour and emotional connection of the two gangs will have Upper Years pupils discussing this book for hours.

As ever, we’d love to see what your school is doing for Book Week Scotland on our @Twitter and Facebook pages.

Happy quizzing, and happy Book Week Scotland!

Kerry McGuire
Assistant Editor

Posted on 16 November 2018 at 3:04 pm
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