The Marathon Storytelling Cycle Challenge

As part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, Tam Dean Burn endeavours to read all 195 of Julia Donaldson's books to children
across Scotland.

The tour begins on 14 June in Tam’s hame toun of Edinburgh with readings and songs in Craigmillar Library (Craigmillar Books for Babies) at 11am, Leith Festival (Leith Links) from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and Princes St Gardens from 4 to 5pm.

The tour then continues to Linlithgow, Armadale, Livingston, Dalkeith and Mayfield.

On June 14 Tam Dean Burn and friends will set off an adventure across Scotland, as part of the Glasgow 2014 Culture programme. Following the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR), Tam will endeavour to read all 195 books and plays, and sing all the songs written by former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson to children along the route, travelling as much as possible by bicycle. Tam will continue his challenge throughout Glasgow during Festival 2014, until 03 August.

Tam Dean Burn says “This is a fantastic unique opportunity for me to engage with the extraordinary range of work by one the most important authors of recent times. To have the chance to tour the length and breadth of Scotland at this unprecedented moment in its history, reaching out to its bairns everywhere, with such wonderful stories and songs, is truly amazing”

Julia Donaldson is one of the UK's most successful authors and her books for children - including The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom - have won many prizes and are perennial bestsellers around the world.

Julia Donaldson says “I feel really honoured that my stories, songs and plays are going to be performed as part of the cultural celebrations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I'm full of admiration for Tam Dean Burn's enterprise and energy, and hope to catch up with him at some point along the story trail”

The Marathon Storytelling Cycle Challenge has gigs for families and children across Scotland and Glasgow including in libraries, on a boat, in schools, woods, village halls, sports grounds, shopping centres, at Live Zones during Festival 2014, and surprise pop-up readings by Tam along the route. The storytelling tour will travel from Stirling to Sumburgh, from Greenock to Gretna, Kirkwall to Kircudbright and from Stranraer to Stornoway, visiting all local authorities across Scotland.

All events are free with a complimentary copy of one of Julia Donaldson’s books, generously supplied by her publishers and certificate for groups, and stickers for children along the way.

Accompanying Tam Dean Burn, on the journey, and musically, is Andy Alston from the band Del Amitri on accordion and Emma Schad on flute. There will be many opportunities for local young musicians to play along to her songs and for young people to join Tam in taking part in readings of Julia’s plays, written to aid reading.

Julia has written 195 original books for toddlers, children and young people, including picture books, poems, plays, phonic books and songs. Much loved and best-selling stories include, Stick Man, The Paper Dolls, The Snail and the Whale, What the Ladybird Heard and Jack and The Flumflum Tree. Other highlights of the tour will involve Tam reading rare Julia Donaldson titles; brand new stories published this summer, and two new musicals.

Tam Dean Burn is a celebrated Scottish actor and performer on stage and screen. He will be seen in Sky Atlantic's new drama series, Fortitude, later this year. He has a passion for reading out loud and has voiced many of Irvine Welsh's audio books as well as the complete works of William Blake for ResonanceFM, the London Art Radio Station.

Julia Donaldson’s characters are vividly brought to life in her books by a host of leading illustrators, creating extraordinary worlds for her stories to inhabit. These illustrators include Axel Scheffler, Rebecca Cobb, Lydia Monks and David Roberts.

The Marathon Storytelling Cycle Challenge is produced by Books on a Bike with the support of all Julia Donaldson’s publishers including: Macmillan, Scholastic, Harper Collins, Oxford University Press, Pearson, Egmont Press, Hodder, Hachette Children’s Books, Little Gems, Puffin and A &C Black, as well as Julia Donaldson’s illustrators including: ©Rebecca Cobb, ©Lydia Monks, ©David Roberts and ©Axel Scheffler.

Details of the challenge and information on all Julia Donaldson’s books and can be found at

For Live event listings and updates please visit during the tour.
Follow the tour: @booksonabike and on
Tour dates: June 14th to August 03rd 2014

14 June Edinburgh Craigmillar Library (11am), Leith Links (1.30 to 2.30) and Princes St Gardens (4 to 5pm). 15 June West Lothian Far from the Madding Crowd Bookshop (at 10am), Linlithgow
Palace (from 11am), Armadale Community Centre, (at 2pm)
Howden Park, Livingston (from 4pm)
16 June Midlothian St Luke's and Mayfield Schools (11am to 12am) and Dalkeith
Country Park (4.30pm)
17 June East Lothian Prestonpans Library at 9am & Haddington Library at 3.30pm