Angus grandmother Gail MacFarlane has proved you’re never too old to enjoy favourite tales from childhood.
On International Children’s Book Day, the Arbroath care home 78-year-old has turned back the years by opening the pages of the storybook she loved as a little girl.
Staff at Balhousie Monkbarns home in the Angus town were able to track down a copy of A Children’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson.
And in a heartwarming video, Gail had recited one of the favourite poems she read to her own family.
Her reading of My Shadow has also been shared with Arbroath primary school pupils in the hope it might inspire them to develop their love of books.
Originally from Aberfeldy in Perthshire, Gail moved to Arbroath with her husband, who worked in the police.
She has three children and five grandchildren, all of whom she has enjoyed reading to.
Previously worked at Arbroath care home
Gail is now resident in the Monkbarns Drive home where she actually worked as a carer more than 20 years ago.
She enjoys keeping staff on their toes and offering advice and wisdom on their daily tasks.
Monkbarns manager, Sarah Jane Patterson said the staff were delighted to be able to find a copy of the Robert Louis Stevenson collection.
On #InternationalChildrensBookDay we’re celebrating Rudyard Kipling, the youngest ever Literature Laureate whose stories, including the Jungle Book, have been entertaining generations of children ever since they were first published in 1893.
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) April 2, 2021
“Books have provided comfort to so many people over the past year and it’s been wonderful to see them celebrated for International Children’s Book Day,” said Sarah Jane.
“It’s lovely to see children’s books transcending the generations.
“I hope many children will get the chance to see Gail’s beautiful reading of one her favourite poems.
“Balhousie’s homes have always had strong community connections and at Monkbarns we look forward to building on those even more as lockdown eases.
“The fact that Gail used to work at the home makes this story even more special,” she said.
Gail said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about the books I read to my own children.
“I hope other children now discover and enjoy my favourite stories and poems through International Children’s Book Day.”
Book Day origins
Since 1967, on or around the April 2 birthday of storyteller Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, International Children’s Book Day is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and children’s books.
The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) chooses a theme and invites a prominent author from a chosen host country to write a message to the world’s children.
This year, Princess Beatrice has narrated the book, Xtraordinary People, to empower those with dyslexia, as part of International Children’s Book Day.
The 32-year-old Royal was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child.
She is an ambassador of global charity Made By Dyslexia, whose founder Kate Griggs wrote the book.
Xtraordinary People encourages those to embrace the strengths they gain from dyslexia.
The book presents it as a form of ‘superpower’ that children can use to excel in life.