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      Harris & Scalpay News

Harris-based children’s author Louisa MacDougall is celebrating the launch of her first book with a race-against-the-clock tour of 22 libraries and bookshops in the west of Scotland.

Louisa, whose debut Rory and the Snack Dragons was released earlier this month, hopes that her challenge (accompanied by her children in dragon fancy dress) will be a celebration of reading and stories, which will also raise funds for the Scottish Book Trust.

“I’ve had a wonderful time launching my book locally and meeting children at Sir E Scott School, Leverhulme Memorial School and Stornoway Primary,” said Louisa, who lives in the Bays of Harris “but with a young family, it isn’t easy to get to events on the mainland – so we decided to pack as many visits as we could into one trip – and the Dragon Dash challenge grew from there.”

“There are 22 dragons in the story of Rory and the Snack Dragons, so we are aiming to pop into at least 22 libraries and bookshops. To make it more fun we are adding a timed element.”

Louisa hopes to get to all 22 stops within 22 hours of opening times (with a ‘stop-the-clock’ pause in the middle to allow for sleep and closing times) and will be sharing her progress on social media (#roryandthesnackdragons and #dragondash). Her family have been busy making dragon bookmarks, which they plan to leave in books for young readers to find.

Their ‘Dragon Dash’ begins at Paisley Central Librar today (Friday May 17) with stops at iconic literary destinations in Glasgow including the Mitchell Library and Waterstones in Sauchiehall Street, followed by a late-night visit to Braehead.  

On Saturday, the family head back to the Highlands, starting early in Oban, and stopping in Fort William (the Highland Bookshop and Fort William Library) and Portree (Carmina Gadelica and Portree Community Library) before returning to Tarbert via Uig on the evening ferry.

The challenge has a fundraising element, in support of the Scottish Book Trust, which transforms lives through reading and writing and is marking Bookbug Week this week.

“As a family, we’ve benefited hugely from local Bookbug (song, rhyme and story) sessions and book packs and have really seen the impact the Trust’s work has in communities. The current appeal aims to get books into the hands of children who don’t have any – and we think that is an amazing cause to support through our story-themed silliness,” says Louisa.

Rory and the Snack Dragons (illustrated by Giulia Cregut and published by Little Door Books) is a story about a dragon who likes to eat bicycles and a princess who loves to ride them. It is the first of three books Louisa is releasing this summer. The others are the Highland Cowgirl, a picture book about a Scottish girl who dreams of the Wild West and the Great Auks Great Escape, which is set on St Kilda and based on a true story about the adventures of one of the last of the now-extinct seabirds.  

Donate at this link: Louisa MacDougall is fundraising for Scottish Book Trust ( Or go to and search Dragon Dash.

Find Louisa (and track the Dragon Dash) on social media at: @roaringreads (twitter) Louisa MacDougall Author (Facebook) and louisamacdougall (Instagram).