Giglets: Publisher of the Month
Giglets Limited is a fresh young business of six entrepreneurial students based in Ayrshire, which writes, illustrates and publishes its own series of educational books and other materials for children. These are based on the adventures of their loveable little character “Tam O’Haggis”, who has helped Giglets make the teaching and learning of Robert Burns much more fun and understandable. However it does not stop there...
"A must for anyone wishing to introduce children of all ages to our national bard. Every once in a while someone comes up with a gem - this book published by Giglets is indeed one of those rare finds. It's been a long time coming." Linda Calderwood – Book Buyer at Borders, Glasgow
Giglets Limited is a publishing company which endeavours to educate young children whilst encompassing all aspects of Scottish history, culture and literature. This is done through the creation of materials such as books, audio CDs and software and all comes together in the hope of our loveable character Tam O’Haggis “opening a learning gateway to Scotland”.
The company was started as the basis of a Young Enterprise Scotland project in our 6th year at secondary school, finally finishing as a close runner-up in the YES National Awards.
Even in those early days, we knew that we did not want to create another “run of the mill” product. We also knew that we wanted to give something back to the young people of Scotland as well as to our local community.
We felt it was important that the poetic works of one of Scotland’s national icons, Robert Burns, were made more accessible and attractive to young children. We knew from our own experiences at school that exploring Burns’ works in the classroom was often a confusing and relatively mundane experience and furthermore we found that, to our surprise, the teaching of Burns’ works to children is not compulsory in Scottish education, but is instead merely an optional topic area.
And so we created our first title, Tam O'Haggis. This is an adaptation of the Robert Burns epic "Tam O'Shanter", features Tam as the main protagonist, just like the original. The tale follows the similar storyline of Tam leaving an Ayrshire pub late one night and witnessing a witches' dance in a nearby church, whereupon he encounters "Cutty Sark" who chases him and his horse Meg through Alloway and over the Brig O'Doon. However this Tam happens to be a loveable wee haggis, complete with tartan bonnet and a thirst for adventure!
The book is colourfully illustrated and includes a read-along CD for very young or visually impaired readers. An interactive whiteboard software package based on the story is also available, including the software and a photocopiable teachers' workbook, for particular use within education.
Each book also includes a read-along CD, featuring a narration of the story over Scottish music. Furthermore, to accompany Tam O’Haggis, Giglets works in conjunction with a local company EDpaX to create and distribute an interactive whiteboard software package which really brings the story to life in the classroom.
Giglets' latest book, Tam O’Haggis: The Life and Times of Robert Burns, has been written to celebrate the Homecoming Scotland year. Tam O'Haggis takes a trip to Burns cottage in Alloway to learn about his favourite poet, Robert Burns. As Tam steps into the cottage, he travels back 250 years to the birth of the poet and follows Burns' life; from working on the farm to writing his classic poems and through to his final days battling against ill-health.
The book contains a glossary and a read-along CD to help younger readers, a timeline of events and a map of the important places in Burns' life. Each chapter also has a summarising verse which can be read as a complete poem at the end of the book.
Because of the nature of our business and the content in our materials, we are in the fortunate position whereby we can sell both into education and commercially. Within education, we aim for our products to be used in primary school classrooms and as such to date we have sold around 3000 books to various schools around Scotland, as well as to Local Education Authorities and other educationalists.
Commercially, we sell very successfully through all Borders Books stores in Scotland, the two WH Smith Stores at Glasgow Prestwick International Airport, as well as in the Burns Heritage Centre in Alloway. Giglets can sell directly to the high street retailer or as on many occasions we supply them by going through the UK’s largest book wholesalers, and have altogether sold around 1300 books commercially.
However it does not stop here. In the future, Giglets would like to create many more books featuring Tam O’Haggis, which cover more topical and societal issues facing Scotland, such as teaching children about the benefits of healthy eating and environmental awareness. Aside from that, there is potential for creating a ‘children’s branded’ line of tinned haggis, merchandising, animation of the story and international expansion.
So look out for this small company, as we have a lot more untold potential!