We interviewed Catriona Wallace, Head of Early Years at Scottish Book Trust, about the importance of interfaith dialogue and the upcoming interfaith children’s book ‘Hats of Faith’.

Why do you think SIFW is important?

Any opportunity to bring together people from many faiths, and even those without a faith, to celebrate all the amazing things that make us similar and different is important. These moments not only educate and bond us, but they are a celebration of diverse communities living together in harmony and that is a really essential message. For many, instances like Scottish Interfaith Week are great learning moments, where they have an opportunity to engage with and explore new things and find answers to questions.

Do you have any thoughts on the 2017 theme ‘Creativity and the Arts’

There is no better way to express and celebrate interfaith harmony than through creativity and the arts. They help bring complex concepts and stunning faiths to life visually and make them accessible to a wider audience.

The arts are for everyone and we are passionate about making sure that everyone can engage with, and enjoy, books and stories. Picture books can provide the very first opportunity for young children to understand the world, develop empathy and curiosity.  It is important that all children see themselves reflected in the books they read, and are able to experience the world from other viewpoints.

What events did you plan for SIFW 2017? 

Hats of Faith author Medeia Cohan and Scottish Book Trust joined forces to realise an interactive family friendly workshop tour in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paisley based on the book ‘Hats of Faith’.

Hats of Faith is the world’s first interfaith children’s board book dedicated to the shared custom of head covering. In a climate of ever increasing intolerance and growing racial and faith based hostility, Jewish author Medeia Cohan joined forced with Catholic born illustrator Sarah Walsh and Muslim publisher Hajera Memon to collaborate on a book to accurately inform the next generation about head coverings.

The workshops explore themes of interfaith diversity and inclusion and include a reading and discussion of the book. Children will have the opportunity to decorate their own faith-based head covering using a range of creative materials and take part in other activities, including a Bookbug Session where children and their parents and carers can come together to join in songs and rhymes. Recommended for children from 1-7 and their families.