School Event with Dion Leonard

In October Scottish Book Trust took author Dion Leonard and the amazing dog Gobi to Edinburgh for an inspirational day of school events!

Whilst running an ultramarathon through the Gobi desert in China, Dion found he had an unexpected companion. Two days into the trek, Dion was joined by a stray dog who continued to run with him for 77 miles. As the days passed, Dion knew that he found a friend for life. Dion’s book Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey, published in 2017, tells the extraordinary story of the courageous dog who followed Dion through the Gobi desert, and the bond that formed between Dion and Gobi during the ultramarathon race. At the end of the race, Dion knew that he wanted Gobi to return with him to Scotland. But when Gobi went missing in Urumqi, a city of 3 million people, Dion wasn’t sure if he would ever see his race companion again.

During the event, Dion discussed his life and career as an ultramarathon runner. Classes from St Peter's RC Primary School researched different ultramarathon races before the visit, and created some wonderful, colourful leaflets giving details on each race. Dion was thoroughly impressed by these, as was Scottish Book Trust's Touring Team! Dion has competed all over the world as an ultramarathon runner, but meeting Gobi in China changed his life. The children were captivated by Dion's inspirational story, but Gobi was the star of the show (even though she was thoroughly enjoying napping during Dion's talk!). Classes were on the edge of their seat when they heard that Gobi had gone missing for 10 days and were delighted to see photographs of the pair as they were reuinted. Equally popular was the photograph of Gobi's first trip to the beach here in Edinburgh after her long journey to Scotland- the children loved seeing her leaping for joy across a beach they knew! At the end of the session, pupils enjoyed giving Gobi a pat and got books signed by Dion and stamped with a paw print from Gobi! Check out our photo gallery below to see more highlights from the event and some of the pupil leaflets. 

To find out more about Dion and Gobi's story, visit their website.

Learning Resources

Learning resources full of cross-curricular activities to help your pupils engage with the themes explored in Finding Gobi are available to download here.

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