Exciting children’s craft activities from Edinburgh Book Festival

Cinderella of the Nile Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me

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Buy Cinderella of the Nile 

Buy Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me 

If you want some creative bookish activities to do with your children, then we have you covered. The Baillie Gifford Schools Programme have created some amazing resources for Cinderella of the Nile and Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me based on events at Edinburgh International Book Festival. They’re perfect for either teachers who want to bring some fun into the classroom, or parents to whip out on a rainy afternoon. Not only do they encourage reading, they also allow children to out their own creative spin on things.  Check them out below:

1) Putting a spin on a classic tale with Cinderella of the Nile. Create your own version of the Cinderella tale. It could be set in your school, community, or somewhere more fantastical. Will you set your story in the past, present or future? Write your tale down and don’t forget to illustrate it with colourful drawings.

2) Perfecting pet pictures with Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me. Bring in a picture of your pet, or a pet you wish you had, and use the picture to help create a collage of your chosen animal. You can use lots of different materials – from recycled magazines and newspaper, to old fabrics. Then think about what kind of poems your pet might compose and add this to your creation.

Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me

An illustration from Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me

  •  Check out some children’s craft activities based on The New Baby and Me 
  • Read Eloise Greenfield, author of Thinker, explain how it began
  • Look at this wonderful introduction to the One Story, Many Voices series by Tiny Owl publisher Delaram Ghanimifard

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Removing the blinkers: Beverley Naidoo on discovering Cinderella of the Nile

Buy Cinderella of the Nile 

Read a wonderful article by author Beverley Naidoo explaining about her recent book Cinderella of the Nile for Book Trust:

Beverley Naidoo

Like many children growing up after the Second World War, I learned of the world’s great fairy tales, including Cinderella, through the retellings of Andrew Lang. I still treasure my childhood copy of his Blue Fairy Book in a Longmans, Green & Co first edition from 1949. It has a little orange label: People’s Bookshop, 45 Kerk Street, Johannesburg.

The directors of this little bookshop were deeply opposed to the apartheid government that came to power in 1948 with ideas aligned to Nazism. They included Bram Fischer QC, from an eminent Afrikaner family, who defended Nelson Mandela and who, two years later, was himself sentenced to life imprisonment. My Blue Fairy Book must have been shipped from England along with much weightier matter intended to stir debate and political resistance.

While the foreword in my book says that Andrew Lang and his helpers collected stories ‘from the four corners of the earth’, their world was essentially confined to the northern hemisphere. They ranged widely across Europe, occasionally straying eastwards to the Middle East and beyond.

The pen and ink illustrations in my edition were by Ben Kutcher, born in Kiev around 1895 but whose family emigrated to the USA in 1902. My mother’s grandparents had also emigrated from the Russian Empire but came to England. From there her parents made the colonial journey to Johannesburg where she was born… and where I would be born during the Second World War.

6000 miles away from Europe, the word ‘Race’ appears on my birth certificate, next to which someone wrote ‘European’. Growing up in that colonial South African society, it was as if a direct link whitewashed out the rest of the continent of Africa and its indigenous peoples.

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Like children in the ‘mother country’ Britain, I grew up with books in which the roles of black Africans were generally limited to being savages, comic buffoons or faithful servants.

But when I was at university, I was fortunate to have my colonial ways of seeing challenged. I began the life-long process of questioning ‘truths’, whether presented by governments, political parties or individuals. I began to understand how our perceptions, feelings and indeed fears are shaped.

Removing blinkers and widening vision is an ongoing journey for me and one in which literature has played an important role.

In Cinderella of the Nile, I retell our earliest known version of the tale, recorded by ancient Greek historians. A girl called Rhodopis, in 6th century BC, is captured in northern Greece and sold into slavery. Herodotus writes about her friendship with a fellow slave Aesop in Samos.

I feel sure this great African storyteller’s wisdom would have helped develop her resilience for when she is sold again in Egypt… before her rose-red slipper leads her to the Pharaoh.

Cinderella of the Nile is stunningly illustrated by Marjan Vafaeian, an artist working in Iran. How fascinating, I think, that the illustrator who first introduced me to Cinderella was born on one side of the Caucasus Mountains and now Marjan has worked her magic on the other!

  • The Telegraph calls Cinderella of the Nile a story of triumph over adversity
  • Cinderella of the Nile selected by The Bookseller as a ‘One to Watch’
  • Introducing the ‘One Story, Many Voices’ series by Tiny Owl publisher Delaram Ghanimifard


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Download book posters

Limited edition prints

Subscribe to Tiny Owl on YouTube!


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