Photographs from the celebration

Thank you Stacey Russell, Karen Fleming and all the others who helped make the celebration such a fun event. Get in touch if you would like to share your photos or post them on our FB page.

Help to keep reading over summer

My name is Caroline Messer and I am the librarian at Musselburgh Library. We’ve loved welcoming lots of families into the library over the course of Reading is Braw and I want to send a huge congratulations to all of the children, families, businesses and other members of the community who have helped make the challenge such a success. Hopefully many of you will have seen what a difference regularly reading for pleasure has had on your children and we would like to help you to help them to keep it up over the summer holidays.Reading is braw at the beach

The summer reading challenge happens in libraries across the UK every year and this year’s theme is one of the best yet: The Big Friendly Read, celebrating 100 years of the world’s favourite storyteller, Roald Dahl. The challenge for children is to read at least 6 library books over the summer holiday and they can be any library book so novels, joke books, eBooks, audio books, fact books, graphic novels – they all count. We’ve actually started a little early just in case anyone was going on holiday early and wanted to get a head start.

Children should come into the library to register for the challenge and a member of staff will take their photograph and give them their Big Friendly Read collector’s folder. Photographs will be used on a display in the children’s section of the library to show progress through the challenge. Each time your child has read 2 books they should come back to the library to add another photo to our display, collect special Roald Dahl cards to add to their folder and receive rewards like bookmarks, lucky dip prizes and more. Once your child has read 6 books they will be given an invitation to a party being held at the library in September where they will receive a medal. Certificates for each child completing the challenge will be awarded at school.

We know that lots of children will want to read more than 6 books and we want to reward that enthusiasm so for every library book read over the holidays children will receive 1 entry into a prize draw being held throughout East Lothian.

As part of the challenge we have lots of events happening in the library to keep children busy over the holidays. All of our events are free and there’s no need to book so if you’re at a loose end just come along.

Regular Events

Mondays at 11am: Storytimes for under 7s

Tuesdays at 2.30pm: Big Friendly Read Challenge Hour – a craft and challenges related to one of Roald Dahl’s famous novels – most suitable for primary age children

Thursdays at 10.30am: Bookbug session for babies and preschool children

Fridays at 2.30pm: Read Write Count Story Hour for P1-3

Saturdays at 10.30am: Bookbug session for babies and preschool children

Saturdays at 2pm: Lego Club for ages 7-11 and a parent/carer

Saturdays at 2pm: Big Friendly Read Challenge Hour

Other Events

Monday 4th July at 3pm: Join us for a Bear Hunt – suitable from walking/toddling

Wednesday 6th July at 11am: French Storytelling for ages 4-7

Saturday 23rd July: Big Friendly Read Family Quiz – join us as a family to compete in a quiz of children’s stories old and new

Monday 25th July at 3pm: Teddy Bear’s Picnic Story time

Monday 8th August at 3pm: Join us for a Bear Hunt – suitable from walking/toddling

We’ve not forgotten the adults either – we have lots of eResources these days so if you haven’t been in for a while but are concerned about taking books on holiday with you why not check out our eBooks or other online resources. Just ask for more information in the library or check out the libraries section of the council website.big friendly read logo

No Gruffalos were harmed in the making of this crumble

Kids at the Burgh Primary School were inspired to do some baking by one of their favourite book characters – the Gruffalo.

As you will probably know only too well, the Gruffalo isn’t the hero of his own story; that’s the little brown mouse who scares him off by threatening to turn him into Gruffalo Crumble. Cue much slicing, mixing and munching.

Reading recipes is a wonderful way to practice reading for kids who prefer to  be active. It’s also a fabulous way of encouraging them to try different foods.

If you want to try Gruffalo crumble there’s a main meal version on the Julia Donaldson website and a pudding on this smashing blog.

Here are some pics of the kids enjoying the cooking.

Switch off and Read Week.


It’s time to Soar – Switch off and read. Fear not, we are not suggesting you throw away your television or dispatch your ipad. Just spend less time with the tech and more time with a book, magazine or newspaper. To make things easier we’ve got some places you can go and things you can do while you enjoy reading – all of them unplugged!

School time sessions are pupils only – others are open to the wider community.

Calendar covers Tuesday 31 May to Sunday 5th June


There’s a book breakfast at Stoneyhill Primary School.

Author Barry Hutchison is visiting Loretto R.C. Primary School.

Wallyford Library Bookbug session takes place at 2pm.

Between 2 and 5pm the Burgh Cafe are offering free cake with a drink if you go in for a read.


The Tolbooth Cafe is offering a free biscuit for readers Wednesday and Thursday.


10.30 Musselburgh library bookbug session.

Musselburgh Burgh Primary will be reading in the playground.

3.50 at Wallyford Library there are ‘stories for big yins.

4pm at Musselburgh Library ‘make a book mark’.

There’s a pop up library at Lewisvale Park 3-4.30pm


11.00-1.00 it’s story time at Musselburgh Burgh School Fair

12.30-2.30 bring your own picnic and a book to Lewisvale and visit our Pop up library and take part in a ‘word hunt’.


10.30 Musselburgh library bookbug

4.00pm Musselburgh Library stories


12.30 to 2.30 Fisherrow Harbour Beach – you bring a book and a picnic and The Quayside will provide light refreshments.

All this week until Sunday 5th if you buy a drink at Costa they will upgrade it to the next size up if you show them a lanyard.  Lanyards are available via schools and other participating groups.

Now: take off!


Have you found one of our books?

We’ve been giving away books throughout Musselburgh, Wallyford and Whitecraig and we’d be delighted to hear from you if you’ve read one.

Our pop up libraries have been giving children and adults books to take away and share by passing them on to a friend.

Inside the books we have put stickers with the address of this blog; so if you’ve recently been given one of our books (by us or someone else) then please leave a comment and let us know which book, where you found it and what you thought of it.

The books have been donated by the library service, schools and members of the public. You can donate at libraries, at the council service point at the Brunton and at East Lothian Council HQ in Haddington. We really welcome children’s books for all ages and all types. Giving children a choice of what to read is one of the best things for encouraging them to spend time with the printed word.

Thanks to everyone who has donated books, volunteered on our pop up libraries and visited us.

How to encourage a reluctant reader

We are two thirds of the way through our campaign and the children have been reading here,  there and everywhere. We’ve had children Dropping Everything and Reading, writers visiting and literary lunches. It would be silly to pretend however, that everyone has been bitten by the book bug. What if your child just isn’t in to it? What do you do? The Scottish Book Trust has some ideas on their blog. Have a read and if you’ve got a trick that works for you then please share in our comments section.

At the Reading is Braw communications nerve centre (so it’s my laptop on my kitchen table) we like to read on long bus journeys and the bedtime story has always been part of our routine. I know a family (naming no names) who set ‘reading traps’ with books and magazines for their children to stumble over in the loo or on the stairs or in the garden. It’s good to remember that not all reading has to be from a book and that the choice of reading material doesn’t have to be something you personally would take to a desert island. This is why my house is littered with tattered but treasured copies of the My Little Pony magazine and why our kitchen table chat is about cutie marks. I might be able to feel my brain cells rotting but she’s reading so that’s probably ok.

Happy reading.

Where to find our pop up libraries

Our pop up libraries are a chance to browse, read and even take away a new story. They are staffed by volunteers and books have been donated by people like you. You can drop off books at the libraries or at the Musselburgh East Community Centre, John Muir House in Haddington, Brunton Hall customer services or Wallyford and Musselburgh libraries.

Here are places where you can find us in the coming weeks

30 March and 1 April The Brunton Puppet Festival at 1pm

17 April at the Quayside restaurant during lunchtime.

24 April at Family Day at Musselburgh Racecourse

29 April at Whitecraig community centre stay and play 9.30 – 11.30

30 April at Wallyford community centre family learning day 1.00 – 12.30

What, no green eggs and ham?

Thankfully there was no green eggs and ham on the menu when pupils at Musselburgh’s Burgh Primary School joined a literary lunch to celebrate Reading is Braw, the local initiative to get children reading more.

Burgh Primary School dinner hall taken over by the cat in the hat x 3!
Burgh Primary School dinner hall taken over by the cat in the hat x 3!

lit lunch cats in hats fb thu glassCatering staff decided to treat the children to a special menu on the last day of term. Around 160 pupils tucked into Cat in the Hat Sandwiches, Matilda Paninis and Charlie and the Chocolate factory cakes. The literary lunch was a huge success thanks to Gillian, Sylvia and Mary who also made fantastic cats in hats.
Pupils from eight schools across Musselburgh, Wallyford and Whitecraig are taking part in Reading is Braw which has the support of East Lothian Council, Support from the Start and numerous local businesses which have stocked publicity posters and postcards.

The initiative will run until the week before the summer holidays when there will be a big celebration for children who have tried their best to practice reading out of school. Details of the celebration will be announced after the Easter holidays when pupils who have done well with their reading will receive lanyards to wear. The lanyards are designed to help spark conversations with each other and others in the community about the magic of reading.  

Guest post – Jane Shepherd community champion at Tesco

tesco trio
Jane and colleagues prove Reading is Braw

My name is Jane Shepherd and I work part time as Community Champion and Farm to Fork Trail Guide at Tesco Extra Musselburgh. I also work part time for Midlothian Council as Adult Education Tutor.
In my spare time I volunteer with a local Lifesaving Club and as Secretary for the Royal Lifesaving Society Scottish Region.
I have two boys aged 19 and 14 and have always encouraged them to be interested in reading anything, from fiction and non fiction to magazines and news articles. We always have books and magazines laying around the house to just pick up and browse through and often chat about what we have been reading around the dinner table.
I think that Reading Is Braw is a really valuable community project. I believe that it is important for the whole family to be involved in reading. Reading helps to give people an understanding of the world around us and helps us to develop ideas and thoughts of our own.
I was given The Life of Pi book for World Book Night four years ago and I initially found it a real chore to read. I was so pleased with myself that I persevered and finished the book, it was a fabulously inspiring story in the end.
Ever since then, I have volunteered as a book giver for World Book Night, where I have had the opportunity to give books to adults who are reluctant readers. Often citing that they are too busy and don’t have time to pick up a book.
I find that picking up a book is the ideal stress reliever – and can’t wait for some ‘Me Time’ with a good book.
I am currently reading The Hairy Bikers – Blood Sweat and Tyres. The next book I plan to read is The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (the next in the Millenium Series of books by Stieg Larsson).

New guess the teacher comp at Loretto RC

Loretto RC primary school in Musselburgh has launched a competition for pupils that calls for the finest detective skills.

As part of Reading is Braw, members of staff have chosen their favourite book. Miss O’ Regan has mixed them all up and wants pupils to match the book to the teacher. How will they solve the puzzle? Will they grill their teachers on what they like to read? Will friends team up like “The Famous Five” to solve it together? The competition closes on 21st March and the winner receives 50 house points!

This is the second of two activities started at Loretto for the reading initiative. The first, a “Non Fiction Book Drive” has seen children from across the school bring in some non fiction books. Over the next few weeks, various competitions will be held. It is hoped that some children will participate in a non fiction scavenger hunt. There’s still time to bring in a non fiction book so pupils who haven’t yet done so needn’t worry. loretto rc march 9 loretto rc non fic book drive mar 9

Children do better when they read more and reluctant readers often just haven’t found the right writing yet. Non fiction, comics and magazines are all great ways to practice reading which helps children get more out of school.