The Reading Bus: Apardion, A Leopard's Quest!

Pupils at the Reading Bus

Approaching learning through a narrative always delivers a meaningful experience for pupils. Below, Aberdeen's The Reading Bus organisation describe how our Live Literature funding helped them to deliver Apardion: A Leopard's Quest, a wonderful multi-arts project.

The Reading Bus organisation helped pupils and teachers celebrated Burns Day with the launch of a new interactive website on the birthday of Scotland’s best-loved Bard.  The Apardion website celebrates the work of the young people and shares the rich and colourful history of Aberdeen City and complements the Apardion iPhone application that was launched on St Andrews Day.

In October 2011, Apardion, A Leopard’s Quest was launched. This fifth commerical publication from Reading Bus Press tells the story of a gentle leopard spirit from the Northern Lights.  In his quest to discover if Aberdeen should be his place of birth, Apardion visits 14 heritage landmarks and discovers secrets from the past. With a royal foreword by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Rothesay, the book’s author is Sheena Blackhall and the beautiful illustrations are created by Julie Lacome

Pupils from schools across Aberdeen have been tasked with researching the 14 heritage sites and translating their findings into film animations, podcasts and e-pubs to expand the information in the book and communicate the history of the city.  By June 2012, all the landmarks will be populated with these colourful and engaging resources.

Schools in St Machar adopted the landmark of Footdee, the historic fishing village in Aberdeen.  With funding from Live Literature, Primary 6 at St Peter’s RC School enjoyed inspirational workshops with author Sheena and artist Julie.  Using literacy across the curriculum, the class researched the rich history and culture of Footdee and translated their findings through art, writing and song.  The result is a colourful montage that is now featured on the website and the app. On Burns Day, the class visited Footee and sang their very own Doric song, Fittie Hooses, which is now webmounted.

The Reading Bus will continue working with schools over the next few months, delivering rich cross-curricular learning experiences that engage the pupils in real life contexts with tangible outcomes. Their work will be added to the Apardion website and i-Phone app to allow a worldwide audience to share and celebrate their work.  The platforms also allow easy access to the information hub which also contains a dedicated resource section for staff working with young people.

AVC Media Enterprises are the media agency for this project and launched The Apardion iPhone App on St Andrews Day.  Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland was unable to attend the event, however he sent on a special letter of support which was very well received by all at the launch. Within this he said, “As with many of the best children’s books, Apardion: A Leopard’s Quest will appeal to young and old alike. It’s also a wonderfully illustrated and informative guide through the landmarks of the city of Aberdeen and its proud history.

“Of course, Apardion doesn’t stop with the book and I’m extremely impressed by the innovative way in which you are combining new technology and the online environment with more traditional books to enhance the learning experience for the children you work with.”

The Apardion initiative is funded by Heritage Lotterry Fund together with sponorship from Talisman UK Ltd, TAQA Bratani Ltd, Hess Services and other local companies in Aberdeen. Live Literature provided funding for 20 visits from authors and storytellers.


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