Wednesday, 21 November 2018

School Visit Round-up

I've had some lovely school visits this term, including a return visit to the fantastic Park Hall Junior Academy in Walsall, where I spent a lovely day talking about Ancient Egypt and creating new long-lost artefacts with Y5. Thank you to everyone for making me so welcome, and especially to Ms Ragdale for organising the visit.


I've also been back to the wonderful Litcham School where I'm lucky enough to be Author in Residence. In the morning, several groups of Y2, Y3 and Y4 students from some of the surrounding primary schools came in for a combined creative workshop.  We invented supervehicles with animal powers and made up stories about them. In the afternoon it was back to Ancient Egypt with the fantastic Golden Eagles class - venturing into the tomb of Phraraoh Smenkhkare. As always a special thank you to librarian extraordinaire Cathy Berry for organising it all and looking after me.

Here are just a few of the amazing animal supervehicles we invented.

Beatrice's Bee Bike won the prize book
The Meg-Lab

The Super Snail Car
The Octodragon



Wednesday, 3 October 2018

October 4th is National Poetry Day . . .

Which makes it the perfect day to share some brilliant poems by students at Litcham School in Norfolk
Thinking about home

I'm not a poet, but I love poetry, so I was delighted to be asked to spend a day creating poems with a Y7/8 group at Litcham - where I've been lucky enough to be Author in Residence for the last two years.

I had lots of discussions with the wonderful Litcham librarian, Cathy Berry, about the content of the workshop. We wanted to tie in with the theme of homelessness that the students had been focusing on. Around the same time I saw an announcement for the Betjeman Poetry Prize - a national competition for young people, with the theme of PLACE. There's no place like home, I thought . . . and we went from there.

Friday, 31 August 2018

The Writer's Map

I love maps - faded old maps, shiny new maps, everyday street maps, maps of extraordinary expeditions, maps of imaginary worlds in the pages of books . . . 


So, I was very excited to be asked to contribute an essay to a fantastic and beautiful new book, The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands. It's edited by Huw Lewis-Jones, and it includes pieces by the most incredible line-up of authors - some you might just recognize! I can hardly believe that my name is casually hanging out in such an illustrious list!




It's all down to the lovely maps of Castle Key that appear in all the Adventure Island, of course. They are drawn by Leo Hartas, and I can't tell you how much I love them. In The Writer's Map, you can see my original scrappy sketch of Castle Key - the one that Leo had to work from to produce the lovely final version. You can also find out what maps mean to me and why I love them so much.

The Writers' Map will be published in October by Thames & Hudson and by the University of Chicago Press in America

I can't wait to read the articles by all the other writers - and to pore over all the maps, of course! I think I'll be buying extra copies for Christmas presents for all my map-loving family and friends too.

Monday, 28 May 2018

If you like Adventure Island you'll love . . .

The other day I had some fantastic book post (the best kind of post!) when the lovely people at Laurence King publishers sent me a copy of a brilliant new book they've just bought out.
Thank you for the brilliant adventure kit too - I'll try to stop Emily pinching it all!

They thought Adventure Island readers might like to hear about Hoakes Island.

I'm pretty sure they're right!

If you enjoy Adventure Island (and/or Secrets of the Tombs) it's a safe bet that you are a big fan of mysteries. I'm guessing you really like maps, and brilliant illustrations and working out clues.  Like me, you probably love animals too.

Well, Hoakes Island has ALL THESE THINGS!