Pupils to be shown the John Muir Way to a Greener Future

John Muir Graphic Novel Front Cover
Category: Press Releases

All S1-S3 Pupils in Scotland to Receive Free Graphic Novel about John Muir 

A graphic novel based upon the life of pioneering conservationist John Muir was launched by Scottish Book Trust today, with free copies going to every secondary school in Scotland, for use by S1, S2 and S3 pupils.

Muir, a Scottish born inventor, naturalist, artist, mountaineer, geologist, glaciologist and writer, spent his life exploring wild places and was the founding father of national parks in America. Through the graphic novel, entitled John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe, Scottish Book Trust hopes to ensure that his legacy is also upheld in Scotland, the land of his birth.

Written by award-winning author Julie Bertagna and illustrated by Glasgow-based artist William Goldsmith, the novel is based on the key moments and life adventures of John Muir and is intended to help children develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the natural environment and the importance of protecting wild places. With the assistance of Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Eco-Schools Scotland programme, a class set of 24 copies will be distributed to every secondary school in Scotland this month to coincide with the opening of the John Muir Way by the First Minister on the 21st of April.

There will also be an accessible pdf version of John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe available for anyone to download from www.scottishbooktrust.com/johnmuir as well as teaching support notes and pupil activities which accompany the book.

The novel was developed in partnership with John Muir Trust, Creative Scotland, Education Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage and in consultation with teachers and school pupils. It combines environmental studies with literacy in an innovative way that hasn’t previously been implemented in Scotland, and is supported by accompanying online resources for teachers. As well as literacy, the novel will cover many other aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence, such as citizenship, outdoor learning and health and well being.

Commenting on the use of graphic novels as a way of engaging pupils in learning, Marc Lambert, Director of Scottish Book Trust,said

“The importance of taking care of the planet for future generations is one of the most vital lessons our children can learn. Telling the story of John Muir’s life and thoughts through the highly accessible and entertaining form of a graphic novel allows us to reclaim a Scottish hero and helps children to develop a deeper understanding of the key environmental issues he campaigned for, in a creative and enjoyable way.”

 John Muir’s great, great grandson, Robert Hanna said:

"John Muir's passion and commitment to protecting and preserving the outdoors continues to inspire so many of us today. Every single one of us can contribute to his vision by protecting and enjoying the places we love and our actions now will speak to all future generations."

Janet Archer, CEO of Creative Scotland commented:

“We’re delighted to work in partnership with Scottish Book Trust, John Muir Trust, Education Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage to bring John Muir’s story to the children of Scotland.  We hope that the graphic novel, created by contemporary artists, about John Muir, an accomplished artist in his own right, will educate and inspire the children on the issues of our natural environment and the importance of protecting wild places.”

Pete Rawcliffe, Scottish Natural Heritage’s People & Places Unit Manager, said:

“The values which John Muir held dear – how much nature gives us and how important it is to protect it – ring as true today as they did in Muir’s day. Outdoor learning and play is important in giving our young people the best start in life and supporting their education. This lively, fun book is a terrific tool to get children thinking and talking about nature, and to encourage them to enjoy the great outdoors. The wonderful stories and drawings certainly made me keen to get out and see more of Scotland’s nature myself!”

PHOTOS: A photograph of children from Dunbar Grammar School reading the book against the backdrop of The John Muir Way, and pdfs of the front cover, are available from helen.croney@scottishbooktrust.com.

For all press queries, please contact Helen Croney, PR Manager: helen.croney@scottishbooktrust.com - 0131 524 0175 – 07751 69 58 54

Notes to Editors:


  • Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers with a range of projects including skills development and awards, funds a variety of literature events and promotes Scottish writing to people worldwide. www.scottishbooktrust.com.
  • Creative Scotland is the national development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries. www.creativescotland.com
  • John Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States.