It’s been another amazing year for our ‘Neeps & Tatties’ project which uses the Scots Language to help children better understand religious and cultural difference.
The book has now been used in over 1,100 primary schools since its launch in January 2021 and this landmark was recognised at a special event at Linlithgow Primary School attended by the Minister for Victims & Community Safety Siobhian Brown MSP.
Written entirely in Scots, and created by author Carey Morning and illustrator Anna York, ‘Neeps & Tatties’ tells the story of two warring vegetable tribes who are finally encouraged to put the past behind them in the interests of a better future. The book examines issues such as discrimination and prejudice, highlighting how old grievance can be overcome by a new generation asking questions. The charity has devised a series of classroom games and activities based around the story that encourage children to explore different cultures, including looking at the significance of food and festivals in different traditions. It’s offered free to schools in the run up to Burns Night and is now being made available to teaching students at the Universities of Aberdeen and Strathclyde.
During the event the Minister read the book to Primary 3 pupils and joined the Scots Language Centre's Laura Green in a special Burns Night workshop celebrating the everyday Scots words pupils use everyday.
Since its launch ‘Neeps & Tatties’ has been used across all 32 Scottish local authorities and been brought to life by a range of artists visiting schools across the country in conjunction with the charity’s tackling sectarianism workshops. The project is supported by the Scottish Government as part of its ‘Tackling Sectarianism’ programme which funds a range of grassroots and national programmes challenging sectarian attitudes and encouraging more positive relationships across communities.
Minister for Victims and Community Safety Siobhian Brown said:
“Scotland is a diverse, multicultural and multi-faith society and it is vital to inform and educate children about the importance of having respect for religious and cultural differences. It was a pleasure to visit Linlithgow Primary School to help celebrate the success of Nil by Mouth’s ‘Neeps & Tatties’.
Since 2016, the Scottish Government has invested over £4.7 million in work to tackle sectarianism, with a strong focus on working with children, young people and adults, to help consign our differences to the past and build a better future.”
Nil by Mouth Director Dave Scott said:
‘Neeps & Tatties’ was originally launched as a way of maintaining a connection with schools during Covid but it quickly became clear there was a huge appetite for the project with hundreds of teachers and parents downloading the materials and requesting the book. It’s snowballed since and we’ve now had requests for books and resources from more than 1,000 schools right across Scotland. Better still, we’ve seen them take the project in all sorts of directions with the book being used in school assemblies, art projects, inter-faith gatherings and even a project promoting inter-generational reading.
Each term we receive hundreds of tweets and messages from teachers highlighting how pupils are enjoying taking part and there remains an inescapable magic in a teacher capturing the imagination of a child through reading. Neeps & Tatties is a simple, yet effective, way of helping children explore the things that make us different whilst also providing an opportunity to discuss their own culture and beliefs in a positive way. We are very grateful to Carey for allowing us to use her wonderful story and to the Scottish Government for helping us promote it across the country. '