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The hunt for Puff begins! Scottish Book Week events to take place in the Highlands

By Tom Ramage

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Merryn Glover on the search
Merryn Glover on the search

HIGHLAND children's services charity Care and Learning Alliance is brightening up the windy winter days with a month of fun activities, culminating in an exciting activity week that celebrates storytelling as part of the Scottish Book Trust's Book Week Scotland.

Throughout November, children and families are being encouraged to get involved in the “Hunt for Puff” – the latter being a wee ‘breeze’ or puff of wind who travels around and has all sorts of adventures.

CALA staff have painted special Puff stones which have been hidden – with help from Bookbug – in different locations across Highland so families can take part in the Puff Hunt. If anyone is lucky enough to spot Puff when out and about, they are asked to share a photo on CALA's Facebook or website so everyone can track the travels and adventures.

Then, in celebration of Scottish Book Week , everyone is invited to take part in a Virtual Pyjama party on November 20 when a new Puff Story – ‘A tiny wee Puff’ – will be unveiled, which includes input from children across the region.

Working with local parent and toddler groups, excitement has been building for some weeks as children have sent in drawings and photos of 'windy days'; which have been included as part of the new Puff storybook.

Renowned Highland author Merryn Glover is joining the celebrations at the Pyjama Party, reading parts of the Puff Story as well as sharing her ideas about storytelling.

In advance of the Book Week, CALA's family practitioners have been delivering some special party bags for the virtual pyjama party to parent and toddler groups and all of the resources for the pyjama party and more can also be downloaded for free from the CALA website.

There are also activities for each day of Book Week to build excitement levels in the countdown to the Pyjama Party. A full rundown can be found at www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/bookweek.

Grantown-based CALA chief executive Jaci Douglas said: "This is such a great initiative, encouraging children and families to get involved with storytelling and reading while also being out and about in their local communities – and it’s free! And don’t forget to check out CALA’s website and facebook page as there is a film and some photos to give you some clues of where to find Puff as well!

"We are really grateful to the Scottish Book Trust for funding and also to Merryn Glover for her generous support of the project."

Kincraig-based author Merryn Glover said: "I've had so much fun being part of the CALA virtual Pyjama Party this year and I think the book the team has created about little Puff the Breeze is just wonderful! It was a privilege to read it aloud for the film and to make my own wee videos about how we can all tell the stories of our lives. I really hope the event is an inspiration for children and their families across Highland.

"Winter is coming, so there's never been a better time to pull up a chair and share a tale!”

Nicki Hutchison, who has been part of the CALA team working on the project, said: "Over Covid we have had to find new ways to adapt and work with children and families while staying safe within current restrictions. This project has shown that with a bit of innovation we can still encourage storytelling, reading and lots of play. We are really excited to hear how Puff has got on with the adventures and travels across Highland."

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