Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Competition Results

Thank you very much to everyone who entered the Drift in Action competition with a story or picture showing Drift busy being a canine-super-agent.

Drift has helped me to pick out our two favourites - one story and one picture.

Second Prize goes to Tierney Hodgkinson for her excellent pencil drawing of Drift, carefully keeping an eye on Scott's food outside Dotty's cafe. Drift thought Tierney had made him look very handsome, and we liked the way all the characters are shown in the picture. (It's come out a little faint in the photo so hope you can see it!)

First prize goes to Jorge Araujo for his fantastic story, Drift, My Dog Agent. Jorge's story picks up where The Mystery of the Whistling Caves finishes. It seems that not all of the Saxon treasure has been found, and Emily, Scott, Jack - and, of course, Drift - have to race to search Roshendra Farm before the sceptre is stolen. Jorge's story is really exciting and brilliantly written and captures the essence of Adventure Island. It cleverly highlights Drift's role in solving the crime, and makes him the hero of the story. Jorge's story is all the more impressive as he is Portuguese, and had to translate it into English (he very honestly admits he had some help with the translation, but even so!)
Here are some quotes to give a flavour of Jorge's story. You can read it in full on the Young Writer's Page here.
"Drift followed everything, turned to the window, wanting to tell everything he thought and felt . . . but he was a dog. Not a dog like everyone else, but still a dog that couldn't speak."

"Drift skirted the hill and climbed carefully to the top where he saw the thief raise his hand. He clenched his teeth, and with the anger and the fear for his friend's health in his chest, he leapt and snatched the neck of the man, who moaned and fell in pain."

Congratulations to both Jorge and to Tierney. Your signed book prizes will be on their way to you soon.

Both winners were kind enough to answer a few questions about themselves.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Drift in Action Competition

Are you taking part in the brilliant Summer Reading Challenge. This year's theme is Animal Agents, which I think is fantastic,  because animals and secret agents (and the mysteries they solve) are two of my favourite things to read about - and also to write about.

Drift escapes from the circus lorry in The Mystery of the Cursed Ruby
In Adventure Island, Drift is Emily's Right Hand Dog. He's an 'animal agent' - helping Emily and Jack and Scott to solve mysteries in all kinds of ways, by sniffing out clues, finding escape routes, raising the alarm and causing distractions (l had great fun writing about the sausage distraction in The Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece!)

In Secrets of the Tombs, Cleo and Ryan don't have pets because they are traveling all over the world, but Ryan loves animals. In each book he makes friends with a different stray animal - a cat in The Phoenix Code, a stray dog and her puppies in The Dragon Path, and Shadow, the mischievous orphaned anteater, in The Serpent King.

As well as encouraging everyone to read loads of great books, the Summer Reading Challenge Website is packed with exciting games, puzzles, creative writing tips and competitions. To join in the fun, I've come up with a competition of my own you might like to try.

Drift In Action Competition

All you have to do is draw a picture or write a short story about Drift. It can be based on a scene from one of the Adventure Island books or a completely new adventure that you've made up for him. Emily, Scott and Jack can be in your story as well, of course, but make sure that Drift is centre stage as your main character. You could even do both - a story with a picture to go with it.

Entries will be displayed on the Art Gallery and Young Writers' Story Showcase pages of this website and on the Adventure Island website. Our three favourites will receive a prize of two signed Adventure Island books of your choice, some dog-hero goodies, a poster and a certificate signed by Drift.

Entrants must be 13 years old or under. Send your pictures and stories as e-mail attachments (for example, as a word document or a photo of your artwork) to helen@castlekey.org.uk by September 10th, 2017. Please make sure you have an adult's permission to send your entry in by e-mail.

 Good luck! Happy reading, writing and drawing.

You can find out more about Adventure Island here and Secrets of the Tombs here, and about the Summer Reading Challenge here.

"Every year, thousands of families all over the country take part in the UK’s biggest reading event for children in libraries, the Summer Reading Challenge, run by the charity The Reading Agency.
The aim of the challenge is to get children to read any six books of their choice from their library during the summer holidays.
Every year there’s a different theme; this year it’s Animal Agents, illustrated by the UK’s best-selling children’s illustrator Tony Ross."

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A Thread Running Through

One of the best parts of my job is getting involved with schools and helping to spread the buzz of reading and writing for pleasure.I'm especially proud of having been Author in Residence at Litcham School in Norfolk this year, where we've been working together to produce A Thread Running Through, a fantastic anthology of student's creative writing and illustrations.

A great deal of work over the year culminated in a truly beautiful book (with a cover brilliant designed by one of the students, Fred Foulkes), which we launched with a special assembly and a party in June. It was a wonderful day and really exciting to see the students enjoying that magical feeling of seeing their work in print and holding an actual copy of their actual book in their hands.

Huge congratulations to everyone who contributed, and a big thank you to all the school staff who were so helpful, to Swaffham Rotary Club for supporting the project, and most of all to Cathy Berry, Litcham School librarian, who make the whole thing happen and worked so hard to see it through.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Empathy Day


I'm delighted to be one of the many authors supporting Empathy Day on June 13th

 
What is Empathy Day?
Empathy Day is a platform to emphasise  the importance of empathy in our divided world and raise awareness of the power of stories to develop  it.

The Day  is  being  launched  by  EmpathyLab, a  new  organisation  with  a mission to  use  stories  to  help  us  understand each other better, led by Miranda  McKearney OBE, founder of The Reading Agency. 

On June 13th schools all over the country will be focussing on empathy and stories. Many will be having special assemblies.  Some will be giving out empathy awards or inviting in authors to talk about and read stories.

I'll be headung off to the lovely Spinney Primary School in Cambridge to join in their activities. I can't wait!

What is Empathy?


I was lucky enough to attend the EmpathyLab training day for authors in April and found out about all the great work that they have been doing.

Here are six important things I learned about empathy.