Book of the Week: Wee Bessie

Join Wee Bessie Townsley on her travels as she lives her unconventional life with her family and faithful dog Ricky, while longing for the herald of spring. 

Wee Bessie is inspired by the childhood of Scottish Traveller Betsy Whyte, one of the travelling communities most celebrated storytellers, who recalled extraordinary real-life tales in her autobiography ‘The Yellow on the Broom’.

This little piece of Scotland’s heritage was created as part of a project from Scottish Traveller charity HOTT (Heart of the Travellers) and was funded by the national lottery. Written by David G Pullar and illustrated by Ruthie Redden the book is aimed towards children aged 3-6 and its release marks the centenary of the birth of Scotland’s beloved Bessie. 

Copies of the book will be sent to every library and Traveller site in Scotland with a tour of schools across the county will be made in 2020

Isaac Blake Director of the Romani Cultural & Arts Company says: “This is a very sweet tale about Betsy Whyte, painting a delightful picture of Scottish Traveller life. The artwork is stunning and really brings the story to life.”

Damian le bas, Writer and Journalist says: Wee Bessie is a wonderful book. David Pullar’s rhyming tale of his great-granny Betsy’s childhood and Ruthie Redden’s beautiful illustrations make a perfect combination. There’s the magic of nature, the call of adventure, the challenges of school, the love of family, and a tricky lesson for little ones: the need to be patient! It’s a story that will chime with children from all walks of life, and it’ll be extra special for young Travellers. How I wish I’d had this book when I was little.”

Richard O’Neill, Children’s Author and Storyteller says: This is a groundbreaking joyful book based on the life of a woman who exemplified the true spirit, intelligence, hard work and storytelling skills of Scottish Travelling people.”

Jess Smith, Author says: “It will be 100 years  since Betsy Whyte (Wee Bessie) was born, what better way to celebrate our lovely Traveller historian than with a children’s picture book. She opened doors into a very special place and invited the curious world to journey with her and see the beauty of the Scottish countryside despite the persecution.  As Charles Dickens and his ilk are remembered for their books, this is how Betsy is remembered.”

Wee Bessie Pre-Order