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P1 children to be offered new book as part of NI centenary programme

P1 children to be offered new book as part of NI centenary programme
Our Wee Place has been commissioned by the Northern Ireland Office and will be delivered to schools, Sure Start centres and libraries.

Every child who started P1 in 2021 is to be offered a new book as part of a programme marking the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland.

Our Wee Place has been commissioned by the Northern Ireland Office and will be delivered to schools, Sure Start centres and libraries.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the illustrated book reflects positively and engages young children on the experience of growing up in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the new book was a celebration of Northern Ireland (Steve Parsons/PA)

The book has been produced by children’s author Sophie Kirtley and illustrator Ellan Rankin

It draws on cultural touchpoints, landmarks and traditions as it follows Emily and her Granda as they journey around Northern Ireland.

The book also touches on the ideas of resolving conflict and promoting understanding and tolerance.

Mr Lewis said: “Our Wee Place is a celebration of Northern Ireland, and I’m extremely proud that we have been able to produce this wonderful book, which tells the story of growing up in Northern Ireland.

“With tens of thousands of books being delivered to schools, Sure Start centres and libraries in time for Christmas, children will be able to read and learn about their home.

“I want to thank Sophie Kirtley and Ellan Rankin for creating this beautifully well written and illustrated book, which I hope Northern Ireland children and families will really enjoy.”

A page from the Our Wee Place book (NIO/PA)

Kirtley said: “I was utterly delighted when I was asked to write this book for the children of Northern Ireland; it has been a real honour and a privilege.

“As a wee girl growing up in Northern Ireland I never really saw places I knew or voices I recognised in any of the books that I read or had read to me.

“It felt very important to me to address this when I took on the project, and to make sure that the children who read Our Wee Place can see themselves and hear themselves represented in these pages.”

Rankin added: “I was so excited to be a part of this project. To be able to draw all the places I love and grew up with.

“I’ve tried to make something really inclusive that captures our landmarks and the spots we hold dear, while throwing in lots of wee nods to our culture in the process.

“It was really important to me to create something that all of our community would love and relate to, and I hope I’ve done that.”