Media Release: Tam Dean Burn’s marathon storytelling cycle challenge to travel across Scotland

Tam Books on bike

Tam Dean Burn endeavours to read all 195 of Julia Donaldson’s books to children across Scotland. Part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme

ON June 14 Tam Dean Burn and friends will set off an adventure across Scotland, as part of the Glasgow 2014 Culture programme. Following the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR), Tam will endeavour to read all 195 books and plays, and sing all the songs written by former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson to children along the route, travelling as much as possible by bicycle.

Tam will continue his challenge throughout Glasgow during Festival 2014, until 03 August.

Tam Dean Burn says: “This is a fantastic unique opportunity for me to engage with the extraordinary range of work by one the most important authors of recent times. To have the chance to tour the length and breadth of Scotland at this unprecedented moment in its history, reaching out to its bairns everywhere, with such wonderful stories and songs, is truly amazing.”

Julia Donaldson is one of the UK’s most successful authors and her books for children – including The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom – have won many prizes and are perennial bestsellers around the world.

Julia Donaldson says: “I feel really honoured that my stories, songs and plays are going to be performed as part of the cultural celebrations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I’m full of admiration for Tam Dean Burn’s enterprise and energy, and hope to catch up with him at some point along the story trail.”

The Marathon Storytelling Cycle Challenge has gigs for families and children across Scotland and Glasgow including in libraries, on a boat, in schools, woods, village halls, sports grounds, shopping centres, at Live Zones during Festival 2014, and surprise pop-up readings by Tam along the route.

The storytelling tour will travel from Stirling to Sumburgh, from Greenock to Gretna , Kirkwall to Kircudbright and from Stranraer to Stornoway; visiting all local authorities across Scotland.

All events are free with a complimentary  copy of one of Julia Donaldson’s books, generously supplied by her publishers and certificate for groups, and stickers for children along the way.

There will also be an outdoor resource park made available in June, inspired by Julia Donaldson’s books, free for download, and aimed at nursery and primary school teachers and community groups.

This pack has been created in association with the Children’s Wood Education Committee.

There is a send-off event as part of the West End Festival on 13 June, in the Children’s Wood,  North Kelvin Meadow, Glasgow, at the Worm Carnival at which Tam will be reading Superworm.

Accompanying Tam Dean Burn, on the journey, and musically, is Andy Alston (from the band Del Amitri) on accordion and Emma Schad on flute. There will be many opportunities for local young musicians to play along to her songs and  for young people to join Tam in taking part in readings of Julia’s plays, written to aid reading.

Julia has written 195 original books for toddlers, children and young people, including picture books, poems, plays, phonic books and songs. Much loved and best-selling stories include, Stick Man, The Paper Dolls, The Snail and the Whale, What the Ladybird Heard and Jack and The Flumflum Tree.

Other highlights of the tour will involve Tam reading rare Julia Donaldson titles; brand new stories published this summer, and two new musicals.

Tam Dean Burn is a celebrated Scottish actor and performer on stage and screen.

He will be seen in Sky Atlantic’s new drama series, Fortitude, later this year. He has a passion for reading out loud and has voiced many of Irvine Welsh’s audio books as well as the complete works of William Blake for ResonanceFM, the London Art Radio Station.

Julia Donaldson’s characters are vividly brought to life in her books by a host of leading illustrators, creating extraordinary worlds for her stories to inhabit. These illustrators include Axel Scheffler, Rebecca Cobb, Lydia Monks and David Roberts.

The Marathon Storytelling Cycle Challenge is produced by Books on a Bike with the support of all Julia Donaldson’s publishers including: Macmillan, Scholastic, Harper Collins, Oxford University Press, Pearson, Egmont Press, Hodder, Hachette Children’s Books, Little Gems, Puffin and A &C Black, as well as Julia Donaldson’s illustrators including:  ©Rebecca Cobb, ©Lydia Monks, ©David Roberts and ©Axel Scheffler.

Details of the challenge and information on all Julia Donaldson’s books and can be found at The site will be live from 01 June 2014.

For further information please contact Emma Schad –   / 07930308108

Tour dates:                         June 14th to August 03rd 2014

Event listings:         

Follow the tour:               @booksonabike and (from 1 June)



For Live event listings and updates please visit during the tour.

 13 June   Glasgow                  Launch event – Children’s Wood, Worm Carnival at 11am

14 June   Edinburgh              Craigmillar Library (am) and Princes St Gardens (pm)             

15 June 2014   West Lothian   Linlithgow Palace (from 11am),                                                                                                                            Armadale Community Centre, Howden Park, Livingston

16 June 2014      Midlothian        Dalkeith Country Park and St Luke’s and Mayfield

17 June 2014      East Lothian        locations tbc

18 June 2014      Scottish Borders    locations tbc

19 June 2014      Dumfries & Galloway    Agnew Park, Stanraer, Gretna, Kirkcudbright

20 June 2014      South Ayrshire                  locations tbc

21 June 2014      East Ayrshire            Galston, Crosshouse Hospital, The Dick Institute,                                                                                       The Cross, Kilmarnock Town Centre

22 June 2014      South Lanarkshire      Rutherglen, East Kilbride Arts Centre, Hamilton,                                                                                 Rutherglen Library, Hamilton Palace Sports Grounds

23 June 2014      North Lanarkshire   Airdrie, Mavisbank School                                                                                                                                    and Newmains Primary School

24 June 2014      Falkirk                             Callendar Park (lunch) and The Helix (early eve)

25 June 2014      Clackmannanshire     locations tbc                                                                       

26 June 2014      Fife                                        locations tbc

27 June 2014      Dundee, Dundee City       locations tbc                                                                   

28 June 2014      Angus                                   locations tbc

29 June 2014      Aberdeenshire                 locations tbc

30 June 2014      Aberdeen City                  locations tbc

01 July 2014        Shetland Islands          Scalloway School, Brae School and Lerwick Library

02 July 2014        Aberdeenshire                 locations tbc

03 July 2014        Moray                                   Milnes Primary School, Fochabers, Buckie,                                                                                                    Lhanbryde, Lossiemouth, Hopeman,Elgin Library, Cooper Park Marquee tent, Cooper Park

04 July 2014        Perth and Kinross            Perth Town Centre

05 July 2014        Perth and Kinross            locations tbc

06 July 2014        Stirling                                 The Peak (leisure complex)

07 July 2014   Argyll and Bute                     Stirling                                                                         

08 July 2014         Eilean Siar                           Tarbet and Stornoway

09 July 2014        Highland                             Ullapool, the Macphail Centre, Lairg and                                                                                                         Thurso

10 July 2014        Highlands and Islands   Orkney – Stromness  and Pickaquoy Centre,                                                                                                 Kirkwall                                                                             

11 July 2014        Highlands and Islands   Wick, Brora, Dingwall, Pefferside Park and                                                                                                       Jubilee Parks

12 July 2014        Highlands                           locations tbc

13 July 2014        Argyll and Bute                 Dunoon

14 July 2014        Inverclyde                          Greenock

15 July 2014        Inverclyde                          Coronation Park, Port Glasgow, Battery Park,                                                                                                Greenock

16 July 2014        East Renfrewshire           Newton Mearns Library, Clarkston Library,                                                                                                  Eastwood Park Theatre, Isobel Mairi Special Needs School                                                                      

17 July 2014        East Renfrewshire           Busby Library and Paisley

18 July 2014        West Dunbartonshire    locations tbc

19 July 2014        East Dunbartonshire      Kilmardinny Loch, Milngavie Libary and                                                                                                        Mugdock Country Park, Kirkintilloch, William Patrick Libary, Bishopriggs Leisure Drome


26 July 2014        Kelvingrove Bandstand Glasgow, Live Zone at 10.30am

29 July 2014        Kelvingrove Bandstand Glasgow, Live Zone at 10.30am

31 July 2014        The Tall Ship, from 11am to 1pm

Full dates in Glasgow to be announced including sessions at Live at the Quay, the Riverside Museum, the Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre, the Children’s Wood amongst others. Additional listings to be announced.


The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme is a key part of the Games experience for spectators and visitors. Running until the end of August 2014, it will showcase the best of Scottish culture alongside creative work from across the Commonwealth and be a nationwide celebration of the Games, reaching its peak as Glasgow bursts into life at Games time.

There are two strands: a Scotland-wide programme called Culture 2014; and a Games-time celebration in Glasgow running alongside the sporting action called Festival 2014. The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme is a partnership between the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life, and Creative Scotland through National Lottery funding.

Julia Donaldson is one of the UK’s most successful authors and her books for children – including The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom – have won many prizes and are perennial bestsellers around the world.

She is also the author of many songs, plays and novels including the award-winning Running on the Cracks for teenagers and the Princess Mirabelle stories. In 2011 Julia was appointed Children’s Laureate. During her laureateship she undertook a tour performing in libraries from John O’Groats to Lands End to publicise the current plight of libraries in the UK, and launched a website to help teachers act out stories with children.

The National Portrait Gallery commissioned Peter Monkman to paint Julia, and this portrait of her in her ‘props room’ now hangs in the gallery. She received an MBE for her services to literature.


MEDIA RELEASE issued by Books on a Bike. You too can post your story ideas for journalists (aka Press or media releases), on Email for more information.

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Contact: Emma Schad
Phone: 07930308018
Website: http://www.booksonabike (live from 1 June)