Exhibition & Events

‘Growing Up with Books’ was an exhibition at the Museum of Childhood, Edinburgh, based on the archival and research work of the SELCIE team. Running from 1 June to 9 December, it showcased the hidden heritage of children’s literature contained within the Museum of Childhood’s archives.

A series of exciting events, for young and older alike, also ran alongside our exhibition.

You can find reflections on both the exhibition, and the events, on our blog.

Below you can find a month-by-month list of some of the workshops and storytelling sessions which took place, all inspired by the world of children’s books. Let Growing Up With Books make you creative!  Unless indicated otherwise, all events were free and drop-in, and took place at the Museum of Childhood.



Saturday 9th, 10.30-12.30; 1.30-3.30. Rubber-Stamped Mini-Books. With artist Katie Forrester make a small hand-made book to take home.

Sunday 10th, 1-3; 3.30-4.30. Enchanting Tales.  Join storyteller Alice Fernbank to hear some enchanting stories inspired by the traditional tales we read and loved as children.

Saturday 23rd, 10.30-12.30; 1.30-3.30. Magical Story Books. Join artist Lauren McLaughlin to create a concertina book. Feel free to bring your favourite books for inspiration!


Friday 6th, 1-4. Your Favourite Book Character. Broons and Oor Wullie artist Stephen White draws a special portrait of a favourite character!

Saturday 7th, 10.30-12.30; 1.30-3.30. Bookmark Beasts. Artist Katie Forrester will help you to create beautiful bookmarks from cardboard and wool to create fantastical beasts and creatures!


Sunday 12th, 1pm and 3pm. The Bureau of Untold Stories. Free event but booking essential. In association with Edinburgh Fringe Festival. ‘In sock drawers, notebooks, and the minds of people just like you, are tales of significant importance, waiting for discovery. The inspired inspectors who uncover these fables are members of an elite unit known as the Bureau of Untold Stories, and these are the stories you’ve shared. Unravel the hidden stories of the audience with our inspectors as they utilise live sound effects, improvisation and unconventional storytelling skills…’

Saturday 18th, 10.30-3.30. Tunnel Books: Illusions and Stories. Adult Creative Workshop. Create your very own tunnel book and capture the stories that sparked your childhood imagination in a 3d optical illusion art piece. This workshop aims to explore your experiences and memories of childhood stories and the lasting and unique way in which these experiences can stay with us into adulthood. With artist Rachael Forbes.  £30; Booking essential

Sunday 19th, 1-3pm; 3.30-4.30. Puppets and Prose. Join storyteller Julie Bannatyne to hear some enchanting children’s prose brought to life with puppetry and props.


Saturday 1st, 10.30-3.30pm. Stitching Stories. Adult Creative Workshop. Explore the potential of applique and hand embroidery to create your very own stitched narrative inspired by your childhood memories of characters, places and worlds discovered in stories. Imbue your stitching with personal meanings and create a nostalgic collage of fabrics, paper, embroidery and found objects to create your unique narrative. With artist Rachael Forbes. £30; Booking essential.

Monday 24th, 10.30am. The Hidden Lives of Early Scottish Children’s Books. Lauriston Castle.  Speakers from SELCIE introduce the rich forgotten heritage of the chapbooks, fairy tales, fables, and more in the Museum of Childhood archive, as well as stories about the little readers who once held them in their hands.


We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a one-day conference on Friday, November 23rd to complement the Growing Up With Books exhibition. The conference, Opening Up the Archives: Collections, Collaborations, and Forgotten Histories in Children’s Literature, will explore children’s books in museum and library archives; children’s oral and literary cultures (including Gaelic in Scotland and Ireland); and the role of children as readers and producers of literature. It brings together experts from Scotland, Ireland, and England to discuss and promote collaborative work between literary and cultural historians, museum curators, and archivists.

You can find out more and register here!


A c19th fairytale heroine, plus enchanted frog, whose lineage goes all the way back to c16th Scots folk culture

Our first event was‘Scottish Children’s Literature: Forgotten Histories, New Perspectives, and J.M. Barrie’. On 26th and 27th June 2015, Sarah and Val organised the first extended symposium dedicated to the subject of Scottish children’s literature from the eighteenth century onwards. Hosted by The Solway Centre for Environment & Culture, the University of Edinburgh, and the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, two days of discussion and performance began to stitch together this forgotten history and its contemporary vitality, enriched by insights from contemporary children’s writers, Liz Niven and Tom Pow.

Frontispiece of Barrie's Peter and Wendy - Museum archive

A special event was held at The Minerva Hall, Dumfries Academy, organised by the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, currently developing Scotland’s Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, based in the Dumfries house and garden which inspired J.M. Barrie’s iconic Peter Pan. The Scottish Youth Theatre performed the first, and wonderful, reading of Barrie’s earliest play, Bandelero the Bandit, since he premiered the work whilst still a pupil at the school. It was introduced by the late Professor R.D.S. Jack of Edinburgh University who produced the first published edition of Barrie’s early plays.

RDS Jack, SYT, at Dumfries, June 2015

Professor Ronnie Jack with Dame Barbara Kelly of PPMBT, Cathy Agnew, Chair of PPMBT (left), and members of Scottish Youth Theatre at Dumfries Academy, June 2015. Photo: Valentina Bold

Conference programme: abstracts-notes-on-contributors.