Glitter, Tutus and Twirls at the Cloudberry Castle Ballet Book Party

We had a wonderful day at the Cloudberry Castle Ballet Book Party in Edinburgh last weekend! Dance Base on the Grassmarket was alive with glitter, tinsel and tutus on Sunday as the Discover Kelpies team and Janey Louise Jones were joined by girls in their ballet finery celebrating the launch of Cloudberry Castle: Ballerina Dreams.


Craft Table

Lots of creativity at the craft table

There were lots of ballet-themed activities to keep everyone busy! Janey’s guests could enjoy their very own decorated cupcake, make bright, sparkly drawings at the craft table, and even take part in a very special ballet lesson!



A lovely decorated cupcake

To top it all off, there was even a performance by ballet students from Angela Watson School of Dance, who did a lovely dance to The Waltz of the Flowers from the ballet Sleeping Beauty, and swooshed and twirled away in front of us!

The Cloudberry Castle books follows ballet-mad Katie, who dreams of being a ballerina. In the newest book, Cloudberry Castle: Ballerina Dreams, Katie is given the chance to audition for a place in New York City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker! But can she balance her dream ballet role with helping her old friend Mallie and taking her ballet exams? Janey treated her guests to a storytime with all three books in the series, finishing with a reading from Cloudberry Castle: Ballerina Dreams.

Janey Louise Jones

Janey reading from all three books in her series

Well done to all our competition winners on the day! There were many beautifully decorated tutus, tiaras, nutcrackers and ballet shoes and we wished that we could have chosen all of them. And a special congratulations to the winner of the raffle who won tickets to go and see the Scottish Ballet perform the Nutcracker ballet.

Competition Entries

The many wonderful competition entries

Posted by: Claire at Discover Kelpies

P.S — Thanks to all the lovely students from Stirling and Napier Universities who helped out on the day!

Kelpies get ready for Edinburgh International Book Festival

Have you heard of Edinburgh International Book Festival? Every August, authors, poets and illustrator (to name a few) from all over the world can be found in tents in Edinburgh for a few weeks packed with book events.

Kelpies authors are doing lots of exciting events at the festival this year. Lynne Rickards will be entertaining with her picture book Lewis Clowns Around, about Lewis the puffin who flies off to join the circus, and has lots of adventures as a clown. We can’t promise that Lynne will do any cartwheels, but Lewis and his circus friends are sure to be entertaining for little ones.

Calling all cat lovers: Margaret Forrester will introduce Mac the stripy cat from her books The Cat Who Decided and My Cat Mac. Mac is looking for a new home and a family to love him, will he find it in a tall house in Edinburgh?

If you’re a ballet dancer, or any kind of dancer, we know the perfect event for you! Enter the world of Cloudberry Castle, an old castle made into a ballet school, where you can dance all day. Katie Mackenzie is delighted when her parents open Cloudberry School of Ballet, and with ghosts, auditions and ponies, there’s never a dull moment! The Cloudberry Castle books are written by Janey Louise Jones who writes Princess Poppy.

If it’s adventure you’re after, we’ve got just the ticket. Lari Don will be giving a taste of the last adventure in her First Aid for Fairies series: Maze Running and Other Magical Missions. Helen and the fabled beasts must race against time to find magical healing tokens to save the life of one of their friends. Come and hear Lari talk about the series in an event full of twists, turns, and a dragon or two. Lari will also be reading her latest picture book Orange Juice Peas to P1s, 2s and 3s in a fun-filled event packed with surprises.

Is your class visiting the festival? Some authors, like Gill Arbuthnott, will be part of the Schools Programme. Gill takes a trip to Edinburgh Zoo with her new picture book Lost at the Zoo. Wee mouse Rory is lost and asks the animals for help to find his owner. Will he ever be found? Gill promises a lively event full of great animal surprises!

Go back in time with James Killgore as he talks about football, friendship and war. His book Soldier’s Game tells the story of football mad Ross, who discovers that his grandfather Jack played for Heart of Midlothian FC before going off to war in 1914.

And last, but by no means least, Theresa Breslin promises an enchanting event, with her new book An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales. Theresa will read some of Scotland’s best-loved folk tales about selkies, kelpies, stoorworms and brownies.

Maybe we’ll see you in August!

Posted by Benedicte at Discover Kelpies.


Twirls and Tiaras with Janey Louise Jones

The Scottish Youth Theatre in Glasgow was alive with glitter, tutus and ballet shoes yesterday as Janey Louise Jones, author of Princess Poppy celebrated the second book in her Cloudberry Castle series.

The fabulously girly Cloudberry Castle series follows the adventures of Katie Mackenzie, who dreams of becoming a real ballerina. In Janey’s newest book, Cloudberry Castle: Ballet School Secrets, Katie’s family has finally opened the Cloudberry School of Dance, but with dance rivals and mysterious figures, all is not plain sailing for Katie.

Hard at work designing tutus

Janey’s fans were greeted with an array of ballet-themed activities: craft competitions for designing the best ballet shoe, tutu and tiara, cupcake decoration (yum yum), storytelling from Cloudberry Castle: Ballet School Secrets and a dance lesson with real-life ballerinas (who looked amazing in their tutus and tiaras). There were some brilliantly colourful ballet drawings to be seen and the cupcakes all looked delicious (but vanished pretty quickly)!

Janey and the ballerinas giving a dance lesson

On top of the craft competitions, everyone who bought a Cloudberry Castle book were entered into a raffle. The lucky winners received tickets to see the magical Sleeping Beauty at Scottish Ballet just in time for Christmas. Sleeping Beauty is the ballet Katie and her friends perform as the Cloudberry School of Dance Christmas show, and it was therefore very exciting to have tickets for a real performance as the raffle prize.

Craft competition entries

Janey was busy signing books and chatting with her readers. She was dressed head to toe in pink, looking the part of a ballet-mad author. Which is a good thing, as she is now talking about a third Cloudberry Castle book, full of glitter and sparkles.

A snapshot before this lovely cake was eaten

Posted by: Benedicte at DiscoverKelpies

PS: For more photos from the ballet party, visit our Facebook page.


Janey Louise Jones — Cloudberry Castle: Ballet School Secrets — Author Interview

In case you missed it, here is the Book of the Month author interview with Janey Louise Jones. Janey released her book Cloudberry Castle: Ballet School Secrets earlier this year.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an author?
Janey Louise Jones [JJ]: Yes, I wrote stories as soon as I could write. The harder thing is making it happen as an adult, and sticking with the dream when it is tough to get started.

Q: What inspired you to write the Cloudberry Castle books?
JJ: I love Scottish castles and ballet, plus I wanted to write for my niece who also loves ballet.

Q: Why is the ballet special to you?
JJ: I find ballet looks graceful and elegant, but it is also the product of hard work and determination, so it is a good training ground for life.

Q: Did you ever want to become a ballerina yourself?
JJ: Yes, definitely. I danced for years until academic work got in the way.

Q: In Cloudberry Ballet: Ballet School Secrets Katie and the other ballerinas perform Sleeping Beauty. What’s your favourite ballet?

JJ: I love Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake (the ballet in the first Cloudberry Castle book) too as it is so beautiful on stage, and very emotional. But I also love The Nutcracker, by the same composer, Tchaikovsky.

Q: Cloudberry Castle: Ballet School Secrets introduces a new character, Leo, who is spoiled and difficult. What do you like about writing characters like Leo?
JJ: Well, the baddies are always more fun, as they can be more daring. And the really fascinating bit is finding out why they are unpleasant, and helping them to change throughout the story.

Q: Katie and her friends eat a lot of cake. What is your favourite cake?
JJ: Chocolate cake, though carrot cake with really good icing is a close second.

Q: As well as the Cloudberry Castle books you have also written the Princess Poppy books. What is the best thing about writing novels?
JJ: It is fun to write at greater length and develop a more intricate plot. I recall the pleasure of moving onto reading chapter books as a child and I get the same sort of enjoyment in writing them — you inhabit that world during the writing process.

Q: How do you feel when you finish writing a new book?
JJ: It is bittersweet as you leave the characters behind, but in a practical sense, you are relieved that the job is done.

Q: Do you plan your stories before you start writing?
JJ: Yes, a chapter plan is important for this sort of book as it has to follow a shape, but it is also fun to go off plan occasionally. Sometimes you think of new plot twists as you go along.

Q: Do your characters ever do anything you didn’t expect them to do?
JJ: Not exactly, because as a children’s writer, I feel my characters have to behave ‘in character’ so that the readers can get to know and trust them.

Q: What books, other than the Cloudberry Castle books, would you advice children to read before they grow up?
JJ: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and the classic Dickens novels, such as Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.

Q: Will you be writing another book about Katie and Cloudberry Castle?
JJ: I hope so; girls are starting to follow Katie’s adventures, so it might lead to more stories.

Thanks Janey!

Posted by: Benedicte at Discover Kelpies

5ft Ballerina Takes Over the Office!

We’ve got a bit of an unusual visitor staying in the office at the moment. She is 5ft high, wears a lot of pink, doesn’t eat and is made of cardboard! She’s a life-size cut out of Katie Mackenzie, the lead character from our new book Cloudberry Castle (in shops at the end of September). Did I mention that she is a ballerina?

Katie is currently standing behind Helena’s (our Production Manager) desk and it is a good thing that Helena is on holiday at the moment because I think that Katie staring at her all day was beginning to give her the creeps!

Katie and Chani in the Floris garden

We got Katie so that she could come to the Cloudberry Castle Launch Party and she is also going with author Janey Louise Jones (she also wrote the Princess Poppy books) to bookshops and festivals throughout Scotland.

If you want to meet Katie why not come along to the party at Dance Base in Edinburgh. You can click here for free a ticket.

Posted by: Chani at Discover Kelpies