More than 14,000 primary school children will be able to lose themselves in a book as they receive a copy of a new short story written by multi-award-winning children’s author Ross MacKenzie.
Ross has penned ‘The Clumps’ Big Mess’ which will be given to every primary and additional support needs school pupil in Renfrewshire with the aim of educating the younger generation on the damage littering can do to the environment, part of the highly successful Team Up to Clean Up campaign.
The book is designed to be read by older primary pupils, with younger pupils able to read the story with their family or through in-class activities.
Interactive versions have been created to allow teachers to use the story as a teaching accessory and an audio version is also available to help bring the story to life for young people.
Ross visited his old school Kirklandneuk Primary in Renfrew to read his creation to the pupils there, two of which share the names of the main characters and just happen to be his daughters, Selina and Molly.
Ross said: “It was great fun to write this book and especially one with such an important message.
“Two of the characters are named after my own kids and when I write a book I try and look at it from a child’s point of view, so how would they look at it if the world was full of litter?
“So I hope the book achieves the message that we should look after the amazing surroundings we have and if it plays a small part in that then we’ve done our job.”
Commissioned by Renfrewshire Council as part of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, the story focuses on the Clump family who deliberately fail to pick up after themselves and their pet dog Murphy.
Twists and turns occur as Selina and Molly learn more about the damage that can be done if people don’t take pride in where they live, and their carefree attitude leads to a world covered in litter, can they reverse it or is it too late?
Selina and Molly said: “It’s really fun having a dad as an author because we’re the first ones to hear his stories.”
The Clumps’ Big Mess has been illustrated by renowned illustrator Neil Slorance and his creations have been brought to life as cardboard cut outs which will tour the schools throughout Renfrewshire.
Neil said: “It was an absolute pleasure working with the Renfrewshire Council team and Ross on the Clumps’ Big Mess.
“It’s such a great story with a really important message and I hope all the pupils around Renfrewshire enjoy it!”
The new book forms part of a drive to educate pupils further on the aims of the campaign in a fun and inspiring way, with pupils having already been involved in litter picks since the campaign began in 2017.
The book is the latest strand of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, a five-year, £2.5million investment in Renfrewshire’s local environment, which includes an increased programme of road sweeping, drain clearing, litter picking and an enhanced Rapid Response Team.
Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted that every primary pupil in Renfrewshire will have the opportunity to lose themselves in a book and learn the important message that Team Up to Clean Up promotes.
“While we want to make an immediate impact to the cleanliness of the area, we know that educating the next generation is just as important and we’re aiming to make binning their rubbish second nature for our young people.
“They are learning all the time in their younger years so it’s vitally important that we ensure they recognise the damage littering can do and let them lead from the front in the future.
“We’ve already seen their enthusiasm to take part in litter picks with their schools and I hope this fantastic new book will further keep the message at the forefront of their minds.”
The investment in the campaign has also facilitated local communities to undertake litter picks by providing them with gloves, litter pickers, bags and hoops, as well as the support of the council’s Wardens Service and StreetScene team who remove all rubbish following the completion of the community clean up.
For more information on the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup.