We found this book, A Hebridean Alphabet, on a display shelf at our local library.
The text and illustrations are by Debi Gliori. It was first published in 2016 by BC Books, an imprint of Birlinn Limited. It’s printed on paper from Livonia Print in Latvia. The type of paper may seem like a detail of no consequence, but handle a few books printed on quality paper and you’ll start to feel the difference. Plus, books printed on quality paper last for decades, often in nearly-new condition.
Let’s talk more about this particular book.
A Hebridean Alphabet Presents A Creative and Original Alphabet Book
Alphabet books are a common category of picture books and I encourage you to include at least one alphabet book in your home library for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. More about the alphabet book category of picture books below.
This particular alphabet book breaks the mold. It’s not your typical alphabet book. As you read alphabet books with your kids you’ll discover what I mean by “typical” alphabet book. The same words are used in book after book for each of the alphabet letters. All that really changes are the illustrations. For example, on the page for the letter “A” the featured word is commonly “apple”. As in “A is for Apple”. B is often for boy, C is for cat, D is for dog. Does this sound familiar?
A Fresh Take on the Alphabet Book
Instead of those typical words, in this book you’ll find all sorts of fun new words to enjoy.
Plus, the book uses a different format that the average “A is for apple” format. Here in these pages you’ll discover phrases like:
“Mind the cows. Cross the cottongrass, past the old croft.” All for the letter C.
I love how the author introduces readers to many words beginning with each letter of the alphabet. She doesn’t choose just one word for each letter.
And she doesn’t choose the typical words so often selected for alphabet books. Instead she chooses many other words that begin with this letter. It feels more authentic to me. More like what we encounter in daily life. Because after all a child will encounter lots of things in their daily life that begin with the letter. If the letter is C they will find more than just the word “cat” when they look for words beginning with that letter.
It’s fun to use this book to explore the Hebrides, a series of islands off the northwestern coast of Scotland. Many have never heard of the Hebrides and it’s not a place on the top of travel lists (although perhaps it should be because it is a beautiful and wild place).
In a short picture book Debi Gliori manages to help us discover the words, customs, flora, and fauna of this region. It’s really quite spectacular. I loved this book so much that I purchased a copy of our very own for our home library.
What the Experts Think About A Hebridean Alphabet
I think the libraries in my local library system agree with me that this is a really nice alphabet book. The system has 13 copies of the book. Which is unusual. Often there is only one copy of a book in the system, or perhaps four or five copies at the most. It appears that nearly every library in our system keeps a copy of this book in their children’s library collection.
GoodReads says “Inspired by the landscape, seascape, weather, animals and birds, this is not simply an exquisite alphabet book, but also a wonderful celebration of some of the most magnificent scenery in Britain.”
This book is a picture book in the alphabet book category.
- children who are learning their letters
- children learning to read
- as a read-aloud to children who are toddlers through those in the 1st and 2nd grades
- learning about Scotland
Want to Read A Hebridean Alphabet?
I really can’t say enough good things about this book.
Check out the book from your local library. If they don’t have a copy in their collection you can always ask them to get you one through Inter Library Loan – a great way to access books from other library system.
To purchase a copy of your very own head on over to Amazon.
What Does “Hebridean” Mean?
Hebridean refers to things from the Hebrides Islands. The Hebrides are a series of islands located off the northwest coast of Scotland. They are part of Scotland and consist of the Outer Hebrides and the Inner Hebrides.
A fun way to expand from the book is to find websites and books with photos of the Hebrides. For example we went searching for photos of the illustrations that are included in the book.
The book can turn into a geography lesson and we loved discovering a place in the world that wasn’t so commonly talked about.
Here are a few resources to get you started
- Outer Hebrides on the Visit Scotland Tourism Website
- Inner Hebrides, part of The Highlands on the Visit Scotland Tourism Website
How to Say the Words
About Alphabet Books
Alphabet books are picture books designed for children who are learning their letters. The books are published as picture books and also frequently come in board book format.
Reading these books to children help them learn their letters. They learn uppercase letters and lowercase letters.
Learn More about Debi Gliori and Her Books
As you may guess from the title of this book, Debi Gliori is a Scottish writer and illustrator of children’s books.
For a list of books she has authored and/or illustrated check out her page at GoodReads.
Find Books Kids Love on Library Display Shelves
Remember that I found this book on a display shelf at our local library?
Those display shelves are a great way to find books kids will love. Children’s librarians are pros at knowing which books are loved by kids. Librarians are forever pulling books off the library shelves and featuring them so that families can discover them.
When I am on the hunt for new books to read to kids one strategy I use is to simply walk through a library and pull the books that have been displayed.
Someone once asked me if it was okay to take these books and check them out. What a great question to ask and the answer is YES! Libraries want you to check out books. Any book you can reach to touch is almost always available to be checked out.
Best of luck enjoying this book that was a library find for our family. I hope it makes its way onto the books on your shelf!
A Few More Alphabet Books I Like
Look for these great titles at your local library or book store. Remember to check consignment stores and book sales!