Award-winning Scottish artist and author Boo Paterson has released a unique “first aid kit for the soul” designed to show how papercraft can help ease the mental health problems linked to the Covid pandemic. The book, First Art Kit: 25 Creative Papercraft Remedies for What Ails You, is styled like a vintage first aid kit and offers papercraft “remedies” to specific problems such as coping with anxiety and insomnia.

Paterson started work on the book before the pandemic, as a form of self-help for her own mental health issues. “I suffer from severe depression and have had 23 years of different types of therapy,” she says. “A few years ago, I was going through another bleak time and began to think, ‘You’ve had loads of therapy – why don’t you make a first aid kit for your brain from the advice you’ve had?’ This is how First Art Kit was born.”

The Herald: One of the papercraft projects in First Art KitOne of the papercraft projects in First Art Kit

A step-by-step guide to creating home-made butterflies designed “to help you soar away from blame” is among 25 absorbing art projects that introduce techniques such as paper-cutting, collage and book sculpture. “Any enjoyable activity that involves deep concentration will alleviate anxiety by allowing the brain to enter a ‘flow’ state, where you don’t notice time passing,” explains Paterson. “It will also give users a sense of mastery as they develop new skills, which is known to improve self-esteem.”

The Herald:

First Art Kit is published by Simon & Schuster, £14.99

Broadcaster John MacKay’s fourth novel, Home, follows one family over 100 years in the Western Isles. Inspired by the house that his great-grandfather built, McKay drew on his interest in family history. ‘History is mostly seen through the eyes of the grand families in their grand houses,’ he says. ‘But it is lived by the ordinary people in their ordinary homes. This is the story of one such family."

The Herald:

MacKay's previous novel, The Road Dance – which was set in the Hebrides during the Second World War – has been adapted for film, starring Morven Christie, Hermione Corfield and Mark Gatiss and is due for release later this year. Home is published by Luath Press, £9.99.


Scottish Borders-based Greg Buchanan had been selected as one of Val McDermid's “Ones To Watch” crime fiction writers for 2021. The Sixteen Horses author will join fellow New Blood panellists Lara Thompson, Patricia Marques and Anna Bailey to discuss their books at next month’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

Buchanan’s literary thriller – which is set for a major TV series adaptation – follows the discovery on farmland of 16 horses’ heads, each buried with a single eye facing the lower winter sun. McDermid has described the story as “a deeply disconcerting ride”. Sixteen Horses is published by Pan Macmillan, £16.99.

The Herald:

For more information about the Old Peculier New Blood event visit harrogateinternationalfestivals.com.


The Herald: Mason Sutherland (9) and Scarlett Shaw (8) from Balornock Primary School, Glasgow, look forward to a summer of reading with #StreamMyStory. Photo: Alan Harvey/SNS Group.Mason Sutherland (9) and Scarlett Shaw (8) from Balornock Primary School, Glasgow, look forward to a summer of reading with #StreamMyStory. Photo: Alan Harvey/SNS Group.

With school holidays underway, parents will welcome a series of book-related digital events for children hosted by Scottish Public Libraries. #StreamMyStory brings together authors, illustrators, storytellers and libraries from across all 32 local authorities.

The online hub offers quality videos designed to encourage young readers' passion for books. Events include Joseph Coelho sharing a reading for early primary-aged children from his much-loved Luna Loves series; Tom Morgan Jones and Mairi Kidd inspiring older primary school children with Strong Brave True: Great Scots who Changed the World.

Secondary-aged children can hear Phil Earle and Michael Wagg discussing the inspiration for their powerful story of an unbreakable friendship, Edgar and Adolf, or listen to writer and illustrator Debi Gliori’s timely discussion about depression, through the metaphor of her dragons. More information from mobile.twitter.com/StreamAStory1


The Herald:

Edinburgh-born illustrator Sara Ogilvie is co-winner of the Indie Book Awards Picture Book Prize for her and writer Julia Donaldson’s The Hospital Dog (Pan Macmillan, £8.99). Judges described the book as “a story of friendship and canine kindness” which “captured the essence of the past year – with children finding warmth and community in challenging moments. The playful rhymes and delightful illustrations make for a winning combination”.

Ogilvie studied illustration and printmaking at Edinburgh College of Art and has illustrated many children’s book since her debut, Dogs Don’t do Ballet, written by Anna Kemp in 2010.