Pupils go nuts over author’s ‘visit’

One of Clachan Primary School's pupils, right, with a copy of the book from which author Emily Dodd, left, read.

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Bookworms from Clachan, Tarbert and Achahoish primary schools were treated to a virtual visit from a children’s author passionate about science, wildlife and storytelling.

Earlier this month, students and staff from all three schools tuned in from their own classrooms to an online event with Emily Dodd, a writer who had been planning to visit Kintyre to take part in Tarbert Book Festival.

However, as this year’s book festival was cancelled due to Covid restrictions, Emily joined the pupils virtually instead, all the way from her home in Skye.

As well as writing a host of fiction and non-fiction books for children, Emily is a screenwriter for CBeebies science show Nina and the Neurons. With more than 10 years’ experience of delivering workshops in schools, museums and other venues, her events are a mixture of learning and fun, great for engaging children.

Emily read her book Crime Squirrel Investigators: The Naughty Nut Thief to the children and asked them to try and solve the mystery of the eaten hazelnuts by noticing clues and typing in answers.

She also shared interesting facts about nature and taught everyone dance moves and actions so they could join in with her songs.

Ahead of the event, the children were given a chance to purchase signed copies of the book, and The Grouse and the Mouse, another of Emily’s books.

Pupils from Achahoish Primary School tuned in to the online event.
Pupils from Achahoish Primary School tuned in to the online event.

One of the children who took part in the virtual event said afterwards: ‘Emily read us the book and sang us songs with actions we had to follow. She also told us some facts about how different animals eat nuts and how she researched the animals in each book. At the end of the session we got to ask questions about what it’s like to be an author.’

Another student added: ‘It was good fun because Emily was so interactive and she also taught us interesting facts about the way animals eat nuts. We also found out that a woodpecker’s tongue wraps round its skull!

‘I was interested to find out how much money she earned as an author because I thought it would have been more than she said.’

A schools spokesperson said: ‘It was great to have an author ‘visit’ our school and answer all our questions during this time when travel and visiting is so tricky. It was also lovely to see all the children in the different schools dancing and joining in together.

‘Emily said that she hopes she can return next year to the Tarbert Book Festival and meet us all in person.’