Countdown begins….

Exactly one month from today, the Bookchat Roadshow will be rolling into town!

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The Roadshow brings together a whole host of wonderful people to inspire parents and carers with ideas for supporting their children’s reading for pleasure and creative writing.    Visiting Harlands Primary, in Haywards Heath on 20th July, it’s an event not to be missed!  After the success and positive feedback of the inaugural event last year, it was clear to me that parents and carers welcome this support. We all like to be inspired, especially when it comes to helping our children.

Nikki Sheehan, the Carnegie nominated author, will be sharing her experiences and talking about creative writing.  The team behind Scoop Magazine will be talking all about their love of stories and how they encourage creativity.  I’ll be sharing lots of ideas for encouraging a love of reading. And most exciting of all, Nikki Sheehan will be joined by Jenny McLachlan, Jamie Thomson and A. F.Harrold for an author panel bookchat.  I cannot wait to ask our fabulous panel to share their insight into stories, reading and writing.

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As if this wasn’t enough, there will be a group of brilliant local organisations exhibiting with advice for parents and carers covering a whole range of areas from creativity through nature to dyslexia.  And all parents and carers attending will receive a wonderful goody bag filled with giveaways from children’s publishers.  So what are you waiting for?! Register online now! For more information visit www.thebookactivist.com

 

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Jamie Thomson at the Bookchat Roadshow!

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 Helping parents and carers encourage their children’s reading and creative writing for pleasure.

Completing our fantastic author panel at the Bookchat Roadshow is none other than the Dark Lord’s minion himself, the brilliant Jamie Thomson!  jamie1

Supporter of the Book Activist since it’s launch in 2015, Jamie delighted the audience with his dark humour and tales of boyhood reading at the inaugural Roadshow last year.  I’m so pleased he will be joining us again to inspire – and scare! mmwwahhhhh! – more parents and carers into encouraging their children’s reading and creative writing.

Jamie has a diverse background in writing having created stories in many forms from computer games to gamebooks to comics to novels.  His book The Dark Lord: The Teenage Years won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and his most recent instalment Dark Lord: The Headmaster of Doom was released in February this year.

Jamie’s insight into working as an author and in the creative industries will be hugely helpful to parents and carers looking to encourage their children’s creativity.

The Bookchat Roadshow is an event designed especially for parents and carers bringing together authors, industry experts and people passionate about children’s reading and writing for pleasure.  With inspirational talks and an author panel bookchat, plus a selection of exhibitors, we give parents and carers a huge range of ideas to help them support their children. The next event takes place on 20th July 2017 at Harlands Primary School, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Read all about our last event here.

For more information about the Bookchat Roadshow visit www.thebookactivist.com.

Jenny McLachlan at the Bookchat Roadshow!

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 Helping parents and carers encourage their children’s reading and creative writing for pleasure.

The delightful Jenny McLachlan will be participating in the Bookchat Roadshow!

Jenny is the author of the gorgeous Stargazing for Beginners and the brilliant Ladybirdz series for teens. Her books have been hugely popular for their warmth, wit, romance and fierce friendships.  I am so pleased that she will be sharing her inspiration with parents and carers at the Roadshow! Jenny is well placed to share her experiences with parents and carers having worked as a teacher prior to becoming an author.

Jenny taught English to secondary and sixth form pupils and also as an Advanced Skills Teacher, delivered masterclasses to pupils, parents and teachers throughout the country. She will be participating in the author panel bookchat and sharing her thoughts on reading and creative writing. Jenny says:

“I’m thrilled to be participating in the Roadshow and meeting parents and carers to talk about the wonderful world of reading. When I was a teacher, I saw first hand the hugely positive impact reading has on the lives of children and young people. Reading is empowering, encourages empathy and provides a calm oasis in what can be a chaotic world. A love of reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child which is why I’m so excited to be taking part in the Bookchat Roadshow.”

The Bookchat Roadshow is an event designed especially for parents and carers bringing together authors, industry experts and people passionate about children’s reading and writing for pleasure.  With inspirational talks and an author panel bookchat, plus a selection of exhibitors, we give parents and carers a huge range of ideas to help them support their children. The next event takes place on 20th July 2017 at Harlands Primary School, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Read all about our last event here.

For more information about the Bookchat Roadshow, visit www.thebookactivist.com.

 

A.F. Harrold at the Bookchat Roadshow!

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 Helping parents and carers encourage their children’s reading and creative writing for pleasure.

The brilliant poet, performer and writer of children’s fiction A.F. Harrold is joining the line-up at the Bookchat Roadshow!

This event is especially for parents and carers to help them encourage theirA magnificent beard - AF Harrold by Naomi Woddis children’s reading and creative writing, and I am so excited A. F. Harrold is going to share his amazing imagination with all those attending.

He has written numerous wonderful books for children including the Fizzlebert Stump (illustrated by Sarah Horne) series – a particular favourite of mine to read aloud in the library! The first Fizzlebert Stump book was chosen as 2017’s Young City Reads book in Brighton and Hove. He has also written thought-provoking books such as The Imaginary (illustrated by Emily Gravett, longlisted for both the Carnegie and Greenaway Awards 2016)) and The Song From Somewhere Else (illustrated by Levi Pinfold). His children’s poetry collection, Things You Find In A Poet’s Beard is illustrated by Chris Riddell.  His new book, Greta Zargo and the Death Robots from Outer Space (illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton) comes out in September.

A.F. Harrold will be participating in the author panel bookchat and sharing his experiences as a writer and thoughts on reading and creativity – and maybe even a line of a poem or two!!  He says:

“I’m very pleased to be taking part in the Roadshow, because I like to read and I liked to read when I was younger too, and sometimes it’s nice to share those things that make you happy. In this day and age the empathy and other-person’s-shoe-ness that reading, both fiction and non-fiction, can help nurture and grow inside a human heart cannot be a bad thing to encourage, so let’s encourage it.”  

The Bookchat Roadshow is an event designed especially for parents and carers bringing together authors, industry experts and people passionate about children’s reading and writing for pleasure.  With inspirational talks and an author panel bookchat, plus a selection of exhibitors, we give parents and carers a huge range of ideas to help them support their children. The next event takes place on 20th July 2017 at Harlands Primary School, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Read all about our last event here.

For more information about the Bookchat Roadshow visit www.thebookactivist.com.

Nikki Sheehan at the Bookchat Roadshow!

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 Helping parents and carers encourage their children’s reading and creative writing for pleasure.

I’m so excited to tell you that the wonderful Nikki Sheehan is participating in the Bookchat Roadshow on 20th July 2017!Nikki_Sheehan_res

Nikki is author of Swan Boy, recently nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 and Who Framed Klaris Cliff ?. Her next novel Goodnight Boy, is due to be published in July and is already receiving critical acclaim. (Watch this space for a review – I’ve read it and it’s amazing!).

Nikki will be talking to parents and carers attending the Roadshow about her work as an author and as someone who regularly supports and encourages children’s creative writing through workshops in schools across the region. Nikki has worked with Little Green Pig, a writing and mentoring charity for young people and she will also be participating in the author panel bookchat. Nikki says:

“I’m so excited to be taking part in the Bookchat Roadshow! As a reader, writer and story mentor with Little Green Pig, I’m very aware of the miracles that can happen when you allow children to take ownership of their reading and writing. There’s nothing better than the look on a child’s face when they realise that there really are no limits to the worlds they can explore and create, and as parents, teachers and librarians it really is within our power to help them to access to their own wildest imaginings.”

Nikki took part in our inaugural Roadshow and I’m delighted she is going to be presenting to parents at our latest event. She is always inspiring, great fun and full of ideas and I am sure all those attending the Roadshow will truly benefit from her knowledge.

The Bookchat Roadshow is an event designed especially for parents and carers bringing together authors, industry experts and people passionate about children’s reading and writing for pleasure.  With inspirational talks and an author panel bookchat, plus a selection of exhibitors, we give parents and carers a huge range of ideas to help them support their children. The next event takes place on 20th July 2017 at Harlands Primary School, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Read all about our last event here.

For more information about the Bookchat Roadshow, visit www.thebookactivist.com.

 

One of those days…

We all have them.  Things are just a little busy, a little off kilter and seem a long way from books and reading, but all part and parcel of running a secondary (and sixth form) school library.  I wrote a few verses, a little expression of how my day has been today…..Tomorrow, it’ll be all about the books.  That’s a promise!!!

Today in the library.

The printer’s out of paper miss!

Oh dear the cupboards empty

I’ll have to go and get some

Where did I put that key?

Have you got a stapler miss?

Don’t forget the please.

I need a pen miss,

They don’t grow on trees!

Miss, I’ve spilt my drink!

Well what’s it doing here?

You can use the tissues

I always have them near.

Would you like to buy some books?

I’d love to but have no money

What about for next term?

Here’s hoping if we’re lucky!

I don’t have a classroom

Yes you can bring them in.

Do you mind if I just nip out?

But the lesson’s about to begin?!

I’m doing molecular biology

Of course, I can help

I don’t know where the books are miss

Why don’t you try the shelf?!

Can you put the chairs back?

They don’t go over there!

I’d rather not lift them again

It’s getting hard to bear!

Can I use the stapler please?

I don’t where it’s gone!

How about a paper clip?

I can’t find a single one!

That’s a nice display miss

Thank you, only five more to go!

Now where is that shiny paper?

It will make a good show.

Do you have that book by thingy?

The one with the blue cover?

I think his name begins with H?

Or maybe it’s by another?

I’m sorry I’d love to help you

But I actually cannot hear!

Excuse me can you keep it down,

To a slightly lower roar?!

Sorry miss we’re just excited

We’ve got the highest score

It’s not time for gaming, boys

Don’t do it anymore!

Miss I’ve lost my bag,

Have you seen it anywhere?

Ah yes I just found it

Left behind the chair.

I just need to print something

But it’s closing time you see

Please miss, it won’t take long

Oh alright, but I need a cup of tea.

The printer’s out of paper miss…

Here we go again…

Victoria Dilly © May 2017

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Editor Interview: Hannah Rolls on Bloomsbury High Low Fiction

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I’m delighted to welcome Hannah Rolls, Editor at Bloomsbury who works on the brilliant Bloomsbury High Low books.  Published this spring, the series aims to encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. The High Low series is produced in association with reading experts at CatchUp, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties.

Hopewell High, The Street, Mission Alert and Skate Monkey are four new series in the High Low range offering exciting and dynamic stories. Each title is printed on tinted paper with a dyslexia friendly font and a recommended reading and interest age. Thanks for joining us Hannah!

Tell us a bit about your role at Bloomsbury. I look after the educational fiction list. That means I’m always on the lookout for stories which might be useful in schools – either to help children who are learning to read or to tie into topics they will be covering. My job includes a bit of everything: negotiating contracts, editing manuscripts, writing briefs for illustrators, talking to teachers about what they need, wandering around bookshops to see what is going on in the world of children’s books…

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The High Low series is great! Can you tell us a bit about the series and what makes these books more accessible than standard paperbacks? We know there are loads of children out there who struggle with reading – because English isn’t their first language, because they have dyslexia or another special educational need, or just because they didn’t ‘get’ it when all their peers did. But poor reading skills have a massive impact on children’s chances in life – struggling to read is closely linked with low pay and unemployment.

So, to try and help tackle this problem, the High Low series was developed so that the interest age of the books is higher than the reading age (you can see both printed on the back near the barcode) so that children who are struggling with reading don’t get stuck with books they find babyish or boring. The typeface we use is one that is recommended by the British Dyslexia association so it is really clear, and we also use cream paper to improve things for anyone with Irlen syndrome or other visual problems associated with dyslexia. We look carefully at the plots and the language to make sure they will be readable and engaging to our target audience and we try to keep the books quite short so that everyone can get the satisfaction of finishing a story!

How do you go about commissioning the High Low books? First, I looked at what other children that age would be likely to be reading. I was really keen that we should cover a wide range of different genres and that if their friends were all reading the latest superhero or spy book, that we would be able to give the struggling readers something that looked cool in the same way.  We don’t have every genre covered yet but I hope we will soon.

Then, I talked to some authors (some I had worked with before and some I hadn’t) about what they might want to write about and tried to match that up with things I knew were popular. I also did some research into what can help struggling readers, and had a lot of meetings with the design and production teams about typefaces and paper!

The series was produced in association with CatchUp; what was their role? CatchUp are key in making sure everything is as tailored as it can be for struggling readers. They have experienced teachers who act as language editors for me – they spend a lot of their time working with struggling readers so they can advise on whether a sentence structure is too hard, if a particular word or plot twist will be sensitive in schools, and even a word has gone out of fashion in the playground! They also took a close look at design of the series and the font to help us make sure we got that right.

And finally, what do you think is the key to successful books for children/young people with specific learning needs or who are reluctant readers? I think the key is to remember that they aren’t all the same – some of them will think it is the coolest thing ever that a giant octopus fights an underwater dragon in Skate Monkey: Fear Mountain whereas some of them will be engaging with the emotional struggles of the girls at Hopewell High… Some of them will be struggling because they are newcomers to the English language, some will have specific difficulty and some will just have found books a bit boring! I always try to make our books as … as possible: as funny as possible, as exciting as possible, as dramatic as possible, and so on. When you get right down to it, every child is different but they all deserve the chance to become readers.

Thank you Hannah for sharing some insight into your work and about the High Low Fiction series.

For more information visit www.bloomsbury.com

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