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Gill Arbuthnott lives in Edinburgh and has been a published author since 2003. She writes fiction and non-fiction and reckons that being a children's author is probably the best job in the world. Her recent books Dark Spell, Beneath and What Makes You You? have been shortlisted for major UK book awards. A former science teacher, she loves mixing scientific fact with wonderful anecdotes of people and places.
GILL ARBUTHNOTT Q&A:
What is the maddest thing you have ever done?
Nothing very mad… I went once to buy a black kitten and came back with a deaf, one-eyed white adult cat. (It wasn’t my fault though: he chose me.) Oh, and there was the time at the fun fair when I went on a roller coaster even though I knew I hated them. It felt like the longest two minutes of my life.
Which of the mad scientists would you have liked to meet and why?
Rita Levi-Montalcini. Not only did she do important work under very difficult conditions, she lived through amazing times. She alsohad great style in the way she dressed and looked, and she was a fabulous cook. What a woman!
Which discovery would you have liked to have made?
I’d love to have been part of the discovery of the structure of DNA (the chemical that controls most of what we are). It’s so beautiful, and it unlocked so many ideas in Biology. AND I would have to go to work with some incredible people. Maybe I’ll tell you about them in another book!
What do you think is the best discovery made by a scientist?
It’s not an important discovery, but it has made a lot of people very happy… The discovery of how to make chocolate so that it starts to melt at the temperature of the human mouth!
This year sees the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, so interest in space exploration will be particularly high. Handsomely illustrated with Chris Nielsen’s bold retro images, and packed with information, Balloon to the Moon will answer all the questions any potential astronauts might pose. It covers the entire spectrum, from mankind’s first attempts to get off the ground via balloons in the 1700s to the space race as it developed in the 50s, 60s and 70s, with revealing descriptions of the personalities involved as well as the technology. It all makes for a fascinating story, and one that will appeal to readers of all kinds. Concluding with a page on space careers and the future of humankind’s exploration of our universe this is a book to inform and inspire.
A brilliant, engrossing pre-teen fantasy from the author of Winterbringers and The Keeper’s Daughter set in Scotland. Callie Hall has just discovered she's a witch and nothing will ever be the same again. Can Callie control her power and the darkness that threatens to take over her life....and save her friend Josh? A Piece of Passion from Commissioning Editor for Kelpies, Eleanor Collins: Dark Spell is Gill Arbuthnott at her brilliant, page-turning best. Callie and Josh feel like people you know, even though they are dealing with something extraordinary – something spine-shiveringly chilling. I got thrillingly scared sometimes when reading the manuscript for the book. There’s a moment when Callie is woken from deep sleep by her cat hissing at the dense darkness under her desk… I can’t say more.
How to make a birthday special – for a Panda! Sunshine is worried that no-one will remember that tomorrow is his birthday. He is sure it is going to be a very disappointing day. But he didn’t know about Sweetie’s very clever surprise! Sunshine is in for a very happy – and noisy – birthday after all!
Interest Age 9+ Reading Age 8+. A true story that’s stranger than fiction. Find out about the bird that fights by being sick on you, the frog that can kill 1,500 people, the Bee Duvet of Death, plus many more fabulous facts, in this laugh-out-loud collection of amazing animals. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here. A Dyslexia Friendly title.