I love meeting young readers at my school visits!
Recommended age groups for my books are as follows:
- Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep – Nursery or Reception & /or younger Year 1
- Henry Haynes and The Great Escape – age 6-8, so Year 1 or 2
- The Secret Lake – reading age 8-10 years, but enjoyed by younger and older! I normally present to Years 3 & 4, but sometimes Year 2 also
- Eeek! The Runaway Alien – reading age 7-10 yrs, therefore suitable for Years 2 & 3.
- Walter Brown and the Magician’s Hat – 7-9+ years (Yrs 2-4)
Depending on class sizes and how many year groups I am seeing I can present to one or more classes together – or to several year groups in the hall.
In addition to or as an alternative to the format outlined below, I can also, by arrangement, tailor workshop activities that tie in with the curriculum for use during or after my visit. For Years 5 and 6 I can also offer a more general talk on writing and publishing in the digital age, showing ‘how books get made’.
For Eeek! The Secret Lake and/or Walter Brown and the Magician’s Hat I talk about the inspiration for the book, then do a reading for 15 minutes, then take questions about the story and about being an author in general. I then show the children my book websites and author blog as well as slides or A3 print-outs showing how I work with my illustrator in Bosnia – the ‘before and after’ illustrations go down very well! With the older groups I also have slides showing how I worked with my editor on Walter Brown and the Magician’s Hat. The session normally lasts 45 -50 mins.
For Henry Haynes and The Great Escape I ask the children about visiting the library – and we talk about how librarians can help you find good books. We also talk about how much fun children’s writers can have making magic things happen – including children falling into books! I then read an excerpt from the book, holding up black and white illustrations from the interior. I then take questions. The session lasts around 35 minutes.
For Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep attention spans are clearly shorter, so the whole session normally only lasts about half an hour. I bring along A3 pages of each of the colour illustrations which I hold up as I read the book. I also ask the children about local foxes they have seen. Before the reading we play a few simple rhyming games – and afterwards I show them the interactive book app of the story. This goes down extremely well!
I am able either to sign books there or – popular with most schools – can supply advance order slips a week or so before my visit then bring in books pre-signed for the children . This method saves time for everyone on the day, and minimises disappointment due to forgotten money! It also helps me plan required book numbers. (The order slip instructions are set up to minimise office administration beyond compiling a list of names!)
Reluctant readers love Eeek!
Eeek! The Runaway Alien has been singled out as being a great book for boys and reluctant readers– and is included on the LoveReading4KidsUK website’s Reluctant Readers’ list, curated by Julia Eccleshare of The Guardian and The Literacy Trust.
A number of teachers have contacted me to say they have used Eeek! very successfully in class for Year 3 Literacy or for Book Clubs.
Past schools visits
- The Harrodian, SW13
- Colet Court, SW13
- The Lowther School, SW13
- Tower House School, SW14
- East Sheen Primary, SW14 (whole school – World Book Day)
- St Joseph’s, Hanwell Middlesex (Yrs 2,3, & 4)
- Graceland Nursery School, SW13
- Kew College (whole school)
- Holy Cross, Kingston-upon-Thames (Yrs 3 & 4)
- Tower House, East Sheen, SW14 (Reception/Year 1)
- Welwyn St Mary’s, Herts (whole school)
- Holy Cross, Kingston-upon-Thames (Reception /Yr 1)
- St Gabriel’s Primary, Westminster (Yrs 4/5)
- St Elizabeth’s Primary, Richmond (whole school – World Book day week)
- Barnes Primary (Reception – Year 3 – World Book Day week)
- King’s House School, Richmond (Reception – Year 3)
- Norland Place School, Notting Hill (whole school)
- The Study Prep, Wimbledon (Reception – Year 3)
- Milverton Primary, Leamington Spa (Reception – Year 4)
- St Anthony’s School, Hampstead (Reception – Year 6)
- The Old Vicarage, Richmond (whole school)
- Lowther School, Barnes (whole school) – World Book Day
- Sheen Mount, East Sheen (whole school – poetry recital judge)
- Sheen Mount, East Sheen (World Book Day – whole school)
- Latymer Prep School, Hammersmith (Years 3 & 4)
- St Anthony’s Prep -Islington (Years 3 & 4 – Walter Brown book launch)
- St Osmond’s, Barnes (whole school) – November 10th/11th
World Book Day week Feb/March – various
- Newton Prep, Battersea – early Feb (Years 2 & 3)
- Ashton House, Iselworth – mid Feb (whole of school)
- Martin Primary, East Finchley (WBD week celebrations – whole of school)
- Christ Church Primary, Brondesbury (WBD week celebrations – whole of school)
- East Sheen Primary, East Sheen (WBD week celebrations – whole of school)
- St Mary Magdalen’s, Mortlake (WBD week celebrations – Yrs 1-4)
- Rokeby School, Kingston (WBD week celebrations – Yrs 1-4)
Please do get in touch if you’d like to book a visit. I’m currently arranging booking for the 2016-17 academic year. Early summer term works really well for The Secret Lake and Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep as both are set around that time of year – though all books go down very well at any time, of course 🙂
Here’s a lovely post from The Study Prep in Wimbledon following my visit there in the summer term of 2014 🙂
And here’s an interview with the librarian of St Elizabeth’s Primary, Richmond, about Eeek! The Runaway Alien after I was invited there on World Book Day a couple of years ago.