Wednesday 18 May 2011


School visits don't come along that often (and may come along even less in future) so the one thing I didn't need was more of a coughy, coldy, spluttery, down-in-the chest bugs good for dulling the brain, especially after a 6am alarm call. But it was grumbling away all the same.

Luckily, the Year 6 classes at SETTLE MIDDLE SCHOOL were great and so, helped by several hot cups of coffee from the kind librarian, I survived and think that a good morning was had by all.

Thanks for being such good audiences, everyone (especially a certain person with The Tractor Of Doom tale)and hope the rest of your week goes well. Got home groggily but safely to a restful afternoon.

By the way, there were so many good fiction titles in the school library that I longed to borrow a whole pile of them. What a pleasure it was to see them there!

Monday 16 May 2011


Last Thursday I did a classroom end-of-the-day storytime for some Year 1 children at ALDERSBROOK PRIMARY SCHOOL, Wanstead, which was great fun, especially a certain cheeky puppet I had brought along with me.

Then, on Friday 13th, I visited all three Year 2 classes for a longer morning session about books and stories.

At first I was worried because the children came in with very serious faces . . . but in the space of a single chickaboom, they were smiley and enthusiastic and joined in with the stories and the story sound effects, and I was asked some excellent questions. (Sorry I couldn't answer more questions!) The staff were lovely and smiley too which really helps a session along.

BUT another good thing about the visit was that the hall had the most wonderful acoustics! Inside the ceiling reached right up to the roof, with partial barn-like beams and high-up glass windows so the whole space was light and airy, and sound carried so well in that space.

So often school halls and classrooms absorb and muffle sound so it is hard to hear or even to project one's voice - especially needful when being a King Lion! - and this hall was a joy. A plaque on the wall told me the building was dedicated to AUDREY RACKHAM so - whoever you were, Audrey, and I couldn't find you on google - the hall did you proud. Must be a wonderful hall to sing in!

Anyway, MANY THANKS to everyone who helped to arrange the two visits. I had a happy time and hope you did too.

Now I'm home again, with coffee and cat beside me, and it's head down for an urgent revision of a manuscript. And silence.

Friday 6 May 2011


Two years ago I went to Delhi to tell stories under a banyan tree. I was appearing at Bookaroo, the first Children’s Book Festival in India. The whole trip was so memorable that it only seems a short season ago.

However, I’ve heard that this weekend Jo Williams and the intrepid Bookaroo team have taken their Children’s Book Festival all the way up to Kashmir. What good book news to hear!

Sigh! Wish I was there too! Have fun, Jo and everyone!