Posted by: gillarbuthnott | September 28, 2022

Good News X 2!

It’s always good to come home from holiday and find there’s something to distract you from the pile of washing, but it’s usually something very minor. Not this time… I’ve come home to news of listings for not one, but two book awards!

From Shore to Ocean Floor, illustrated by the wonderful Christopher Nielsen and published by Big Picture Press, has been longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards. I’m particularly chuffed to be on this list as it’s judged by teachers and I’ve always been keen to champion the use of science books in the classroom.

Microbe Wars, illustrated by the amazing Marianna Madriz and published by Templar Books, has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize. The shortlisted books now go out to judging schools all over the country. It’s a very exciting prospect to think of pupils having the final say about which book wins!

Posted by: gillarbuthnott | November 22, 2021

Teen Queen – Just Imagine…

Gill Arbuthnott; Illustrated by Mike Phillips - The Amazing Life of Mary, Queen of Scots: Fact-tastic Stories from Scotland's History

A very belated welcome to my latest book, The Amazing Life of Mary, Queen of Scots. (My laptop has been in computer hospital and I’m too useless to do things like this on my phone.) She did indeed have an amazing life: Queen of Scots at six days old, married to the heir to the French throne at fifteen, Queen of France at sixteen, widowed at seventeen, returned to rule Scotland at eighteen, forced to abdicate at twenty four, imprisoned for nineteen years and executed at forty four. Phew!

An amazing life, but certainly not a happy one. I knew the bare facts when I started to write, but it took a while for it to really sink in just how young she was – I kept looking at my own children and imagining them in those circumstances. So if you pick up this book – and I hope you will – sneak the occasional look at the nearest teenager, before you condemn her for the poor choices she undoubtedly made at times.

The Amazing Life of Mary, Queen of Scots tells Mary’s story through the eyes of Alec and Janet, two young servants in Holyrood Palace who become personally involved in her story as they grow up. It’s illustrated by the wonderful Mike Phillips and is part of the Factastic Stories series published by Floris Books.

Posted by: gillarbuthnott | September 30, 2021

Dive Right In…

September has been a vintage month: not one, but two books hitting the shelves. Today I’m celebrating the publication of From Shore to Ocean Floor, another gorgeous title from Big Picture Press, illustrated by Christopher Nielsen.

We know more about the surface of Mars then we do about Earth’s oceans. What’s really down there, and how did we find out?

Dive in to find out about shipwrecks, submarines and the weird and wonderful creatures of the abyss…

Posted by: gillarbuthnott | September 2, 2021

Happy Publication Day!

I want to introduce you all to my latest ink-and-paper offspring: Microbe Wars. This is a book I’ve wanted to write for some time, and in June 2020 Templar Books decided that they would like to publish it. It’s been a whirlwind of writing, editing, design and illustration since then, and I’m immensely proud of the result. It takes a lot of people to turn an idea into a finished book and I’ve been very lucky to work with editors Katie Haworth and Samuel Fern and designer Nathalie Eyraud. Above all though, it’s been the wonderful illustrator Mariana Madriz who has brought my words to life with her detailed – and frequently funny – illustrations.

So what’s Microbe Wars about, I hear you ask? It’s about the immense world of tiny microbes, the good, the bad and the very ugly indeed; about the ones who have been our deadly enemies through the centuries and the ones who have helped us survive, feeding us and producing life-saving drugs. It’s about the scientists and medics who discovered the part microbes play in our health and illnesses. It’s about the Black Death and Covid, antibiotics and immunisation, wine and cheese and much, much more.

Happy publication day, Microbe Wars!

Posted by: gillarbuthnott | November 15, 2020

Best Review Ever – The Real One!

A Beginner's Guide to the Periodic Table: Gill Arbuthnott:  9781472908858: Books

You may be thinking ‘I’ve already seen this post’, but don’t go – this is an entirely different sort of ‘best review ever’, sent to me by an 8 year old reader in the USA…

“My dad bought your science books for me when I was 4 – The Beginner’s Guide to Periodic Table, What Makes You You, What makes Your Body Work, A Beginner’s Guide to Electricity and Magnetism and Your Guide to Life on Earth and I loved reading them. They were probably the first books I read by myself and I have read them a million times by now. My parents tell me that I used to call my grandma and recite passages from the periodic table book to her. I lost that book just before we were moving to US and I was so upset that my parent bought me a new copy.

I wanted to thank you for writing about science in such a fun way. I have always wanted to thank you but did not know how.I discovered your website when I googled for you.I am doing a course in physics and chemistry meant for middle school grades and my instructor asked me what first attracted me to science and I told him – ‘ books by Ms Gill Arbuthnott’. I still love periodic table ( I know all the elements and their symbols now) and electricity and magnetism and genes and I still love going back and reading your books.”

Seriously, as an author, there is nothing that could have made me happier than this email. All I want to do when I write about science is make other people feel the same way about it that I do – to find it thrilling. At least I know I’ve succeeded with one reader! Deep joy.

Posted by: gillarbuthnott | November 14, 2020

Dipping my toes in the virtual water

Book Week Scotland programme launched – The NEN – North Edinburgh News

I’m a bit late to the party, but I am at last engaging with the idea of online events. My first one was last week, when I talked to the senior Reading Force book group about my novels The Keepers’ Daughter and Beneath. Actually, the conversation ranged over all sorts of things, from Netflix to snakes (memorably described by one participant as ‘giant worms covered in fingernails’!). Next week I’ll be having a conversation with the junior Reading Force group in an event that – uniquely – will be combining The Chaos Clock with What Makes Your Body Work… So we’ll be doing experiments on ourselves while discussing the novel! Possibly. Who knows?

Also coming up, as part of Book Week Scotland, is a chance to see a film of me prattling on as part of Leisure and Culture Dundee’s A View of my Favourite Things strand. The film goes live on November 19th and you can click through on the link above.

Posted by: gillarbuthnott | August 6, 2020

The Best Review Ever?

Fainting and Swooning – the Degrees of Syncope in the Victorian ...I hardly ever look at my books on, but yesterday I did and I found the most amazing review:

‘This book appears to be targeted at young children. It has bright and cheerful pictures and advertises it is ‘wacky’. Unfortunately it was not age appropriate (for any child). It contains dark and unnecessary subject matter.
There is nothing ‘amazing and wacky” about this book.
The nonchalant reference to the loss of human lives is morbid. This book talks A LOT about murder, assassination, death, war, disease, and witches. It is not fun and cheerful as the pictures and bright colors suggest.
I am appalled that the author and publisher thinks this is written for a child.
Towards the end of the book it looks as if the author got bored and threw numerous elements on one page with a short sentence for each. Some information was completely false, such as the dinosaurs and how they became extinct.

Science can be an enjoyable subject for children and it would be great to have resources to expose young minds to the fascinating parts without exposing them to darker parts of life and humanity.
The author has failed to write toward the innocent young audience this book was intended for.’ 

You won’t be surprised to find it was awarded 1 star, presumably only because 0 stars wasn’t an option…
My intention here is not to disparage the reviewer: everyone has the right to  think and say anything they want about a book they read: but I had no idea I’d written such a thrillingly transgressive book!
So if you want a disturbing read, A Beginner’s Guide to the Periodic Table may be just the volume for you…
Posted by: gillarbuthnott | July 3, 2020

Oh Happy Day #2: The Adventure Continues.

Use your contactless card on Lothian's bus services from today ... My emergence from hibernation continues. Remember these? Today I was on a bus for the first time in 100+ days. I rode that bus into Princes Street, to go non-essential shopping and there were other people there. The walks I took along Princes Street during lockdown were weird, post-apocalyptic affairs, as if  I’d been teleported into I Am Legend, but today there were normal people, just moseying around in a normal way.

Reader, I visited Marks and Spencer and bought clothes! New Clothes! I am wearing a new dress and some shoes as I type this. Call me superficial if you wish, but I swear I can feel evolution beginning again. Perhaps in a few days my knuckles will no longer brush the pavement as I walk…

Posted by: gillarbuthnott | July 2, 2020

Oh Happy Day #1

Independent Bookshops You Have to Visit in Edinburgh - DickinsA red-letter today, on the slow road out of Covid-19 hibernation. I was able to go, in person, to a bookshop, an actual, physical bookshop. Better still, it was my wonderful local independent The Edinburgh Bookshop. They’ve done a great job during lockdown providing sanity via click and collect, but it’s not the same – of course it’s not the same – as being able to chat to the staff and inhale the aroma of book. For the first time in 100 days, I was able to look at, touch and buy real ink and paper books, feel the weight of them in my bag and carry them home to the sofa where I now live. Heaven.

Posted by: gillarbuthnott | May 13, 2020

Lockdown Children’s LitFest

Sugar Rushed: Best Chocolate Cake Ever! #Tutorial #RecipeJust a quickie… I’m delighted to say that on Thursday 14th May at 2pm, I’m being interviewed online by Catherine Millar as part of her splendid Lockdown Children’s LitFest. You can send a question before or during the interview and you can join us here. I just hope Len the cat doesn’t decide to join in too. He’s turned into a bit of a diva since he got his own Instagram account…

The cake? It’s got nothing at all to do with the interview, but (almost) everyone likes a chocolate cake picture…

Older Posts »