Monday, 15 October 2018

Author Visits: Kiveton Park Meadows Junior School

I'd like to say a very big THANK YOU to Jeanette Barber and all the brilliant students at Kiveton Park Meadows Junior School for the fantastic welcome they gave me when I visited them last week!



It was a pleasure to talk to Years 6, 5, 4 & 3 about writing and books, and to hear about their favourites.  There were some terrific young readers and writers in this school, and it was great to see that some had already read Varjak Paw or Phoenix!


There were many great questions – more than we had time to answer on the day!  So if anyone would like to ask me any more questions, or to say anything about the visit or my books – just leave me a comment below!


It was a pleasure to sign books at the end of the day for everyone who wanted one, and to see that people were already reading their books on the way home!  So thank you once again for a fantastic visit – and happy reading to you all!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Author Visits: Christ Church Primary

I'd like to say a big thank you to Arabella Davies, Avis Hawkins and all the staff and students at Christ Church Primary School for the fantastic welcome they gave me when I visited them last week – my first visit of the new school year!


It was a pleasure to talk to Years 6, 5, 4 and 3 about writing and books.  This is a school where they read Varjak Paw in Year 5, so Year 6 had read it last year, and still remembered many of the Seven Skills! There were more questions than we had time to answer, so if anyone at Christ Church would like to ask another question, or to say anything about the visit or my books, just leave me a comment below!


It was also a pleasure to sign books for everyone who wanted one!  But if anyone would like a signed book and didn't get one on the day, you can contact the brilliant booksellers Pea Green Boat Books through their website.  And for anyone who wants to see Dave McKean's amazing Phoenix book trailer again – here it is!


Monday, 27 August 2018

Author Visits: Walton-Le-Dale

I'd like to say a big thank you to Peter Richardson and all the students and staff I met at Walton-Le-Dale Primary School for the wonderful welcome they gave me when I visited them last term!



This is a school where they've been reading my books for a while now, so it was a total pleasure to talk to Years 6, 5, 4 and 3 about reading and books – and then to have sessions with Year 3, and to see the amazing work they've been doing with Varjak Paw!


Here are some T-shirts they've printed with symbols inspired by the Way of Jalal!  I also heard some brilliant stories that they'd written; I was so impressed with their work, I decided to share some of it here.  So here's a link to the full text of a story called 'Life' by Dylan N – this is the first page:



And here's a link to the full text of a story called DJ Doggie, by Zoe L – here's the first page again:


So WELL DONE to everyone at Walton-Le-Dale – I hope you all keep reading, and keep writing!  And thanks again for a fantastic visit!

Friday, 13 July 2018

Author Visits: St John's Walham Green

I'd like to say a big thank you to Emma Richards and everyone I met at St John's Walham Green CE Primary School for the great welcome they gave me when I visited them this week!



I really enjoyed talking to Years 6, 5, 4 & 3 about reading and books.  I was delighted to learn that Year 6 & Year 5 had already read Varjak Paw in when they were in Year 4, and the current Year 4s had done some amazing work with my book.  I was so impressed, I decided to share some of it on my blog!


Here's a brilliant map of the book that one of the students created (above) – and some very accurate gang rules for Varjak's gang and Sally Bones's gang (below)!


It was a pleasure to answer questions and to sign books for everyone at the end of the day.  We didn't quite have enough time for all the questions, so if anyone from St John's has any more questions they'd like to ask, or would like to say anything about the visit or my books, just leave me a comment below!


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Author Visits: Fortismere School

I'd like to say a very big thank you to brilliant librarian Gillian Ward and to everyone at Fortismere School for the fantastic welcome they gave me when I returned to visit them again last week!


I was Patron Of Reading at Fortismere for two years, from 2015-2017 – you can read all my blogs about everything we did here!  So it was a total pleasure to come back and meet the new Year 7s, and to talk to them about writing and books.  And then in the evening, I had the honour of meeting this year's Reading Champions.


Reading Champions involves young readers recommending their favourite books to each other in presentations.  This year, the finalists were championing a wonderful range of books: Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman, Railhead by Philip Reeve, Wonder by RJ Palacio, The Enemy by Charlie Higson, Itch by Simon Mayo, Swallows And Amazons by Arthur Ransome, The Last Wild by Piers Torday, Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – and, amazingly, Phoenix by me!

I was knocked out by these presentations, and by their passion for books and reading.  And I was especially delighted when Zaki's fantastic presentation on Phoenix was voted the winner!  So congratulations to Zaki – and thanks to everyone who made this such a memorable evening!

Friday, 22 June 2018

Author Visits: Rathfern Primary

I'd like to say a very big thank you to Rachel Waddoups and everyone I met at Rathfern Primary  School for the wonderful welcome they gave me when I visited them last week!


It was a pleasure to talk to Years 6, 5 and 4 about writing and books, and to hear all their favourites.  There were many great readers in this school.  Some of them had already been reading Varjak Paw, and they had some terrific questions for me!  We didn't quite have enough time to answer all the questions, so if anyone from Rathfern has any more questions, you can ask them here as a comment at the bottom of this page.


I was delighted to sign books at the end of the day for everyone who wanted one signed.  So I'd just like to end by wishing everyone HAPPY READING – and thanks again for a fantastic visit!




Thursday, 24 May 2018

Author Visits: Burlington Junior School

I'd like to say a big thank you to Natalie Smith, Matthew West, and all the students and staff I met when I visited Burlington Junior School last week!


It was exciting for me to see that many of the students had already come across my work, and that they were currently reading The Outlaw Varjak Paw in Year 4!  So it was a pleasure to talk to Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 about reading and writing, and to hear about their favourite books.  There were many great readers in this school, and it was brilliant to see how many people wanted to have a book signed at the end of the day!


It was a pleasure to sign books for everyone, but if there's anyone who didn't manage to get a book on the day and would like one, you can always order signed books through Pea Green Boat Books, who did the brilliant bookselling.  And if anyone at Burlington would like to ask me any more questions, or to say anything about the visit or my books, just leave me a comment below!

Friday, 18 May 2018

Author Visits: Acorns Primary School / ChipLitFest

I'd like to say a big thank you to Milly Weaver and ChipLitFest, and to everyone at Acorns Primary School for the wonderful welcome they gave me when I visited them last month!


My visit was part of the ChipLitFest schools programme, which takes authors into local schools; I also had the pleasure of being part of it two years ago.  I very much enjoyed meeting Years 3-6 in Acorns, and talking to them about books and writing.  There were some great young readers in this school, with some terrific favourite books!


They had lots of questions about the writing process, and so I told them all about how Varjak Paw, The Outlaw Varjak Paw and Phoenix were really written.  If anyone from Acorns would like any more writing tips, you can find some here; and if anyone has any more questions, or would like to say anything about the visit or my books, just leave me a comment below!


After the visit, this lovely piece appeared in the school's newsletter – you can read it in full here.  Many thanks to Acorns, and thanks to ChipLitFest photographer Jenny Aston for the fantastic photographs!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Author Visits: Willow Brook Primary

I'd like to say a big thank you to Anoara Mughal, Graham Clifford and all the staff and students I met at Willow Brook Primary for the wonderful welcome they gave me when I visited them on World Book Day!


There was a snowstorm raging outside, but it was great to see so many people had still come to school in their costumes!  It was a pleasure to talk to Years 6, 5, 4 and 3, and to celebrate books with them.  I heard about their favourite stories, and I told them about the ones I have written so far: Varjak Paw, The Outlaw Varjak Paw, and Phoenix


They asked me lots of great questions, and we didn't quite have enough time to answer them all, so if anyone from Willow Brook has any more questions, just leave me a comment below!  And in the meantime, I'd just like to thank you all again – and to wish you happy reading!




Thursday, 1 March 2018

World Book Day 2018

I'd like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who braved the snow to spread the love of books on World Book Day this year – and especially to everyone who dressed up as a character from one of my books, or made special artwork and displays!  I know there's been a lot of debate about World Book Day recently, but I have to say, I'm in favour of anything that builds a buzz around reading.  So here are some of the amazing pictures I've seen this year, with huge thanks to all teachers, parents, schools – and most importantly, readers!
































Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Author Visits: Filton Hill

I'd like to say a massive THANK YOU to Laura Walker and everyone I met from Filton Hill Primary, St Michael's Primary, Holy Trinity Primary, Baileys Court Primary and Charborough Road Primary for the amazing welcome they gave me when I visited them all last week!


This was a really special visit, because it brought together around 360 children from five different schools in Bristol.  Many of them had read or were reading Varjak Paw, and the level of excitement around the room was just fantastic.  Some of them could just not stop reading!


I loved talking to them about reading, writing and books, and hearing all their inspiring dreams and ambitions.  They had many brilliant questions too!  We didn't have quite enough time to answer them all, so if anyone would like to ask another question, or to say anything about the visit or my books, just leave me a comment below.


It was a total pleasure to sign books for everyone who wanted them at the end of the day; you could really feel the buzz that the visit had created around reading!  There was even a journalist from the Filton Voice covering it; here's his piece about it.  And finally – THANK YOU again to everyone who made this such a special day!




Sunday, 4 February 2018

Author Visits: Moorlands Primary

I'd like to say a very big THANK YOU to all the staff and students at Moorlands Primary for the wonderful welcome they gave me when I visited last week!  This is a school that really believes in the power of reading for pleasure.  Everywhere you go in Moorlands, you see books being celebrated and talked about; on the door of every classroom, there's an update telling you what the teacher is currently reading.  And in the classrooms, there are amazing displays about books – like this one!


So I really enjoyed talking to Years 6, 5, 4 & 3 about books and reading.  They had a very wide selection of favourite books, which shows just how deep the reading culture is at this school.  It was wonderful to hear some people say Varjak Paw was their favourite – things like that make all the hard work of writing feel worthwhile!


There were lots of excellent questions too, though we didn't have quite enough time to answer them all, so if anyone at Moorlands would like to ask another question, or to say anything about my visit or the books, just leave me a comment below!


At the end of the day, it was a pleasure to sign books for everyone who wanted one.  And it was absolutely amazing to see responses like this one afterwards on Twitter - so thanks again to Mr Lee, Mr Ruddick, Mr Biddle, Miss Eyles, and everyone else who made this such a special and memorable day!



Sunday, 28 January 2018

Author Visits: St John's C of E Primary School

I'd like to say a very big THANK YOU to Siobhan Eastwood and everyone I met at St John's C of E Primary School for the wonderful welcome they gave me when I visited them last week!


It was fantastic to meet students from St Johns and other Ipswich schools including St Mary's and Helen's, and to talk with them about reading and books.  I talked to Years 6, 5, 4 and 3, and was delighted to see that quite a few people in each year had read either Varjak Paw or Phoenix.  Quite a few of them wanted to be writers too, and they asked me some great questions about the writing process.  (For anyone who'd like more writing tips, here's a link to all the writing tips I've done on this blog!)


On school visits, I like to ask people what their favourite books are, and I'm always excited when I hear a range of different responses; it shows that people are reading a lot of books!  Here, I heard one of the widest ranges of responses I've ever come across – everything from old classics like SE Hinton's The Outsiders to recent classics like Polly Ho-Yen's The Boy In The Tower.  This shows what fantastic work the teachers are doing here.


At the end of the day, we had a bookselling and signing session organised by the excellent Pea Green Boat Books.  It was a total pleasure to sign a book for everyone who wanted one.


If there's anyone who didn't get a book on the day but would like one, Pea Green have some signed copies which you can order directly from them through this link.  And if there's anyone who'd like to ask another question, or to say anything about the visit or my books, just leave leave me a comment below!


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Author Visits: Park Hill Junior School & Kenilworth Books

Nearly four years ago, I visited Park Hill Junior School at the invitation of Sally Greenaway, who was the first teacher I ever heard from who was reading Phoenix with a class.  Last month, I had the absolute pleasure of returning to Park Hill and visiting them again, and I'd like to say a very big THANK YOU for the wonderful welcome they gave me!


I love visiting this school, because there are so many brilliant young readers and writers there.  And because they read Varjak Paw in Year 3 and Phoenix in Year 6, they know my books very well, and do fantastic work with them.  Before this visit, I received some amazing letters, like this one:



So it was a total pleasure for me to talk to Years 6, 5, 4 and 3 about writing and books, and I was thrilled to see so much enthusiasm for stories, and to hear so many inspiring dreams.  There were lots of excellent questions – more than we had time to answer, so if anyone at Park Hill would like to ask another question, or to say anything about the visit or my books, just leave me a comment below!


The brilliant Tamsin Rosewell of Kenilworth Books did the bookselling at the school, and then invited me to do a signing in the bookshop, which is one of my very favourite bookshops.  She had made the extraordinary window display that you can see above, with some of the most beautiful artwork I have ever seen!


There were also star-shaped biscuits in honour of Phoenix, and they were delicious!  It was a pleasure to meet and chat with some more of Kenilworth's young readers, and to sign books for all who wanted them!




If there's anyone out there who would like a signed copy of one of my books, but didn't get to the signing – they still have lots in stock at Kenilworth Books, and you can order them directly from the shop!  And I'd just like to say another big THANK YOU again to everyone who made this such a memorable and magical day!



Sunday, 10 December 2017

Author Visits: Westbury on Trym CE Academy

I'd like to say a very big thank you to all the brilliant staff and students I met at Westbury on Trym CE Academy when I visited them last week!


It was a pleasure to talk to Years 6, 5, 4 and 3 about writing and books.  It was clear to me that there were some brilliant young readers and writers in this school.  Quite a few of them had already read Varjak Paw or Phoenix, and there were many excellent questions, especially about the writing process – some of the best I've ever heard!


We had an outdoor signing at the end of the day, which was great fun even on a freezing December afternoon!  It was a pleasure to sign books for everyone who wanted one.


I always love hearing from readers, so if anyone at Westbury on Trim has any more questions, or would like to say anything about the visit or my books, just leave me a comment below!  And for anyone who would like any more of my writing tips, you can find them by clicking this link!