Hello from a cold and crisp London where, like everyone, we were uplifted by news of progress on a Covid-19 vaccine yesterday. What a great end to a very eventful seven days!
Here in England we’ve just gone into lockdown again for a month although, thankfully, most children can still go to school. With socialising time for all ages cut back, one means of escape we still have is, of course, books! On a personal note, I’m now managing to catch up on 45 minutes of reading each morning while exercising, having recently invested in a fold-flat running machine that we have in our kitchen – seen below 🙂
Updates at a glance…
- Free codes for the new audiobook release of Eeek! The Runaway Alien (US and UK) – I have 20 to give away! 😊
- The Christmas Tree Wish – shortlisted for the UK Selfies Awards earlier this year – is currently discounted on Amazon UK. But not to be missed wherever you are! 🌲
- Record-breaking reviews for The Secret Lake – a huge thank you! ❤️
- Your chance to bid in an online auction of signed children’s books in aid of the BBC’s Children in Need charity.
- Online author events at home – coming your way!
Eeek! The Runaway Alien – free audiobook codes
Scroll down to hear a sample reading on Audible
I’m delighted to say that the audiobook of Eeek! The Runaway Alien is finally live and I have 20 free promo codes to share exclusively with my blog and FB followers – 10 for the US and 10 for the UK. (Unfortunately, they don’t supply them for other territories.)
Described as “Laugh-out-loud funny” by LoveReading4KidsUK, a respected children’s book recommendation site, Eeek! is fun and fast-paced for ages 7-10 and was voted favourite book club read three years in a row by one London primary school.
To request one of the codes for your children please email me by Sunday 15th November. If there are more than 10 requests from each country I’ll ask my husband to draw names out of a hat. I’ll then reply on Monday 16th to everyone who requested a code, whether or not you’re successful. Anyone who doesn’t win – plus those who do – will get a link to free download Eeek! posters 🙂
The Christmas Tree Wish: don’t miss if you have little ones…
Do check out this heartwarming tale if you’re looking for an extra special Christmas gift for ages 3-5+. Shortlisted earlier this year for the Selfies Award for Best UK Independently Published Children’s Book, this gentle story introduces Little Bruce Spruce and his fir tree friends – Cedrick Cypress, Penelope Pine and Douglas Fir.
Little Bruce is excited about finding a home for Christmas Day, until he discovers he has two broken branches from the weight of the snow. Downhearted, he is sure that no one will want him. However, all is not lost as Cedrick, Penelope and Douglas rally round to help and reassure him, showing him that none of them is perfect. (Needless to say, there is a happy ending!)
Anne Swift’s stunning pen and ink illustrations make this a wonderful Christmas gift with a gentle message about friendship, kindness, and that it’s okay to be different. There are also links to free downloadable colouring sheets.
If you live in London, you’ll find signed copies in The Barnes Bookshop (operating click and collect). If you’re farther afield but prefer not to use Amazon you can order it via any other online store globally or bookshop.org which shares a percentage of each sale between the independent bookshops that are signed up with it.
Stop Press for UK readers: The Christmas Tree Wish is currently discounted on Amazon UK. I’m not sure how long the discount will last so grab it while you can. I have no control over Amazon discounting.
Please note: the book is paperback, though the image above implies it’s hardback.
Record-breaking reviews for The Secret Lake – thank you!
I’d like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who have helped your children leave reviews of my books online – and in particular for The Secret Lake, which has been breaking all sorts of sales records recently, not just here in the UK but also in the US and Canada. It has now had over 4,000 reviews globally – and has been dipping in and out of the top 200 books for the UK / US stores and even higher in Canada where it’s inside the top 20 as I write.
Your children’s feedback means a great deal to me and those who post reviews to The Secret Lake’s website (with your help) always receive a personal reply from me. Thank you also for copying so many of those reviews to Amazon or your other preferred online stores – doing so really does help authors’ books get shown more, which means that more children, parents and teachers find them.
Online charity auction: bid for a signed book or illustrated toilet roll tube!
I’m delighted to be part of the ‘Children in Read’ 2020 online charity auction of signed books and other items from authors and Illustrators from around the world. I have donated a signed copy of my latest book The Tell-Me Tree for ages 4-8, which invites children to share how they’re feeling – whether happy, sad or anywhere in between – through writing, drawing or conversation. All funds raised are going to the BBC charity Children in Need which helps disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.
With three days to go – and over £15,000 raised at the time of writing – there are still plenty of small and large bid-price lots available. Besides signed books for children and grown-ups, other items include a range of illustrated toilet roll tubes from ex UK Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell! His work is truly stunning – see above! The auction closes this Friday 13th November at 11pm UK time and UK postage is included if your bid wins an item.
Coming your way! Online author events at home…
Covid-19 has forced all businesses and educational institutions to rethink how they operate. Of course, in-person school visits have been significantly affected, with many authors now moving online. I continue to offer school visits via Skype in the Classroom, Microsoft, Zoom or the school’s other preferred tech, visiting whole classes/year groups at a school or (more recently) a ‘virtual’ US classroom where pupils were individually logging in for the session from home as part of their weekly online classroom schedule. One of the pupils even had his pet rat running around on his lap during that session! 🐀 The wonders of technology mean that I shall shortly be ‘visiting’ 80 Fifth Grade pupils at an elementary school just outside of Chicago. 🇺🇸
Book clubs and family audiences…
I am now looking to extend my virtual visits beyond schools to book clubs, informal reading groups and families. I’m still putting the flesh on the bones of how this might best work, staying mindful of budgets and, of course, the need to comply with the rules to protect the privacy of children. As I firm up my plans I may be in touch to get feedback on different formats and pricing options as I’m keen to make it as affordable as possible for smaller groups or family audiences. In the meantime, if your school would like a virtual visit – wherever in the world – please do ask them to email me 😊 .
Stay safe and remember to reply to me by midnight your time on Sunday 15th November if you’re in the UK or US and would like to request a promo code for Eeek!’s audiobook.
Before I go… Here’s a link again to The Christmas Tree Wish where you can read customer reviews.
You can also view sample excerpts and read more about how I came to write The Christmas Tree wish in my blog post here 🌲