Amazing Authors in August

With many children and parents on holidays, it’s a great time to be promoting reading and the wonderful books available to read.  Children love to find out about behind-the-scenes of an author’s life and how they spend their time!  Through Amazing Authors in August we hope to inspire lots of holiday reading.

Have you ever wondered what authors get up to in the summer?  Do they seek inspiration in far flung, exotic locations? What fantastic, fabulous adventures do they have? Or do they prefer a more sedate summer, surrounded by home comforts?! We asked our fantastic participating authors ten questions about their summer and will be publishing their answers online throughout August.

OUT OF OFFICE written on sand on a beautiful beach, blue waves i

A short break & some summer reading.

I was very much looking forward to taking a summer break from ‘work’, so it was with some irony our first stop was Waterstones in my home town to buy a new book or two…given I spend much of my working life reading, you’d think I’d want a rest! But this was slightly different; I was choosing something for myself rather than the latest children’s fiction.  Don’t get me wrong I love reading children’s books, but it was nice to be choosing something just for me.  I did comment to the bookseller that I spend a lot of time guiding children on how to choose a book – but I myself couldn’t decide between the wonderful plethora of fiction before me!  (Which reminds me why I do what I do – children faced with all that choice sometimes just give up..but that’s another comment for another time). Continue reading

Bookchat at Warden Park Primary

I had a fantastic visit to Warden Park Primary to run bookchat workshops with Year 5 & 6. The children were brilliant and enjoyed sharing their thoughts about reading, as well as participating in the various activities. The aim was to share the joy of reading and enable them to discover the magic of books, with guidance on how to go about choosing the right book, using their own interests as a guide. We looked at the concept of genre and played genre based games, which they loved.  They also loved the travelling bookcase and the fantastic books it contained!

It’s such a joy to talk about books with children and see their excitement and appreciation. Bookchat is such a great opportunity to develop reading skills and empower children to become more confident in their reading choices.   I’m delighted to say the feedback was great; thank you Warden Park Primary!

“The children loved the workshops, they are now so much more motivated to read and explore books – children that used to say that they didn’t like reading are now asking to go to the library so that is great! Also, when I ask them to find book to do some quiet reading I am now met with smiling faces! The activities that you led were engaging and really encouraged the children to think about reading and what it means to them without being too intense! The workshops had an extremely positive impact.”

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Bookchat at Waterstones, Haywards Heath.

When the Manager of Waterstones in Haywards Heath got in touch to ask if I’d like to get involved with a primary school visit to the shop, I jumped at the opportunity.

Lindfield Primary School brought a group of children ranging from Reception to Year 5, to find out about their local bookshop and choose a book for themselves. After an insightful talk about the bookshop from James, one of the fantastic booksellers, I set about delivering a bookchat workshop.  Being in a bookshop was a little different to the usual classroom setting, but was definitely a very appropriate place to be chatting about books! I was able to encourage the children in choosing the right book for themselves, giving them hints & tips along the way.  Being able to share my love of reading, as well as some favourite children’s books was a thoroughly enjoyable task!

The children were brilliant and clearly very excited to have the opportunity to buy a brand new book. It was great to see them put the ideas they came up with during the bookchat straight into action and choose their books.  With so much wonderful choice, there was lots of animated discussion! Finally, decisions made and with the school bus beckoning, there were 25 very happy souls who went back to their classrooms, each clutching a brand new book!

I’m very grateful to Waterstones for inviting me to participate and to the children & teachers from Lindfield Primary for their wonderful response. Thank you!

The Branford Boase Book Awards

What an amazing evening! I was incredibly pleased to have been involved with the Branford Boase Book Awards , so attending the ceremony was the icing on the cake!  With my super supportive husband in tow, we arrived at Walker Books in Vauxhall, London a little early, but a warm welcome greeted us. I was delighted to meet Andrea Reece,  the Award’s Publicist with whom I have been liaising over the last few months.  She immediately introduced me to Ross Welford, author of ‘Time Travelling with a Hamster’.  He was very kind, considering he was being accosted so early in the evening (!) and spent time talking with me about his writing, his characters and also how his editor had supported him with suggestions and advice.  I think that was one of the most heart-warming aspects of the evening – the celebration of the relationship between editor and author.  As was the fond remembrance with which Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase were recalled during the various speeches by the hosts, judges and participating authors. Continue reading