An author from Penicuik is using football to get young children more involved in books with his series of stories launching this week.
Former Cornbank Primary and Penicuik High School pupil Danny Scott (36), is releasing the Scotland Stars series through Discover Kelpies Publications.
The first book, Calum’s New Team, is out today (May 19). It follows the adventures of ten-year-old Calum Ferguson as he struggles to settle into a new town whilst fighting for his place on the school football team. The next two instalments are also released the same day, Calum’s New Boots and Calum’s Big Break.
Said Danny: “It’s a series of six. With three released on May 19 and the other three in August. It’s a mixture of illustrations and text, for kids aged six to eight to read on their own for the first time.
“I think there seems to be a gap in the market for children’s books in Scotland about football. It’s quite unique to even have a children’s book based in a Scottish school.
“With girls’ football thriving, thanks to more women’s football on the TV, this is not just for boys, but girls too.
“Yes, the majority of the characters in the series are boys but there are girls in this too, and I think girls would like to read these books.”
The books were born of an idea that Danny first had when he was growing up in Penicuik. There weren’t many books that he could relate to in terms of familiar locations and everyday situations. He wanted to create a story that young children growing up in Scotland could recognise, which is where the idea for Scotland Stars came from.
He said: “I have always wanted to write a book and this opportunity came along to write about football set in a fictional school – Caleytown Primary School.
“I remember myself at that age being completely obsessed with football. Playing it day and night, any chance I got.
“It’s just wonderful to see that captured in a book for children to read. I have drawn a lot from playing for the primary school and Eskmills boys’ team based in Penicuik.
“It’s all about one ten-year-old lad called Calum, who moves to a fictional Scottish central belt town and finds out there is going to be a team for the P6s. He and his friends work hard to get into the team.
“That’s the first book. And the series follows the ups and downs of the season.
“Each book is a self contained story. So you could read each one on its own, but it is a series.”
And, what next for the author? He said: “I played rugby as a kid for Penicuik Rugby Club so I could go into that.
“There is a gap. There is not a lot of books out there on sports for kids.
“And boys tend to fall out of books. So hopefully books like this can help stop that. It’s a very important thing to have, reading for pleasure.”
The Scotland Stars series is available from today (Thursday) at all good book stores and online.