Children’s book author hopes to inspire youngsters to find fitness

A Perth sports fanatic hopes his new book will see fun jumping out of the pages and also children springing into action.

With a character combining the expertise of Indiana Jones and James Bond and a sports ace, Sandy Storm and the Crown Jewels is a children’s story penned by Alasdair Mackintosh, who is a sports and fitness lecturer at Dundee College.

Illustrations have been supplied by his friend, Nicola Massie, who also hails from the Fair City and is a former student at Dundee College.

The debut work, which it is hoped will be out before Christmas, has taken around a year to put together and has been inspired by Alasdair’s 17-month-old son Oliver.

He told the PA: “During lockdown I found myself in front of my laptop and iPad and that’s where I had ideas on writing a book.

“I wanted to work on fitness, getting moving and the idea of using your imagination, which is something that is getting lost and the idea of someone sitting down with their child, going on an adventure with them to help get people reading books.

“It has been a learning curve for me and my illustrator but there are three or four more stories I can work on from this.”

‘Sandy Storm’ illustrator Nicola Massie

Alasdair was a big reader and recalled: “I enjoyed reading a lot of adventure stories, including the 39 Steps by John Buchan.

“I would say the character in the book is a bit of a mix of James Bond and Indiana Jones.

“It’s a children’s fitness adventure story books.

“My idea was to write a story and put some exercises to it, to help children from five to nine to get fit.

“Nicola and I are both based out of Perth and are really passionate about getting children more active, using their imagination, building better family relationships and also developing reading skills.

“We feel this new genre of books could be a positive step forward in attempting to break down a number of social problems.

The main character combines 'the expertise of Indiana Jones and James Bond with a sports ace'
The main character combines ‘the expertise of Indiana Jones and James Bond with a sports ace’

“Nicola was wanting to add something to her portfolio so this will help her.

“I have worked within the health and fitness industry for over a decade, working with children, adults, athletes and sports teams.”

During this time Alasdair has earned a variety of teaching qualifications including a post graduate in Education, a first-class BSc Hons in Sport and Exercise, BA leisure Management, HND in Sports Coaching and Development and multiple fitness and sport qualifications.

Added Alasdair: “Through teaching, coaching and participating in sport and fitness, I have gained a great understanding of the importance of creating a world of adventure and imagination in children.”

Being able to tie these two concepts together has given him the opportunity to create this new live action genre of children’s books.

These ‘exercise adventures’ allow children to follow the exciting storyline and at the same time perform the exercise routines in their home, garden or any safe place.

“The additional significant feature of these books is the potential to develop an online community,” he added.

“Here, book owners can discuss the adventure stories with fellow readers; learning progressions and adaptations to exercises and exchanging thoughts and feelings. They can also post photos and videos, share arts and crafts ideas and develop games and competitions.

“I’ve also had to do a lot more research than I thought I would and have learned from working on the book.

“It started randomly with the character being a golfer and then becoming a secret agent.

“Hopefully Oliver will have something to be proud of when he’s a bit older and can read.”

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