Thursday, 13 March 2014

World Book Day (better late than never!)

Yikes! A whole week has passed and here I am writing my World Book Day post!
It's a post of two halves . . .

Part One: School Visit

I was lucky enough to be spending the day at St Faith's in Cambridge. Things got off to a slightly wobbly start - and I'm not just talking about my jelly-kneed jet-lag from returning from China the day before. My trusty school visit memory stick which holds all my Powerpoint pictures for a day of assemblies and workshops decided that the perfect time to retire from active duty was two minutes before I was due to address a hall full of lovely, enthusiastic pupils.  Even the valiant efforts of Dave, the heroic IT man, couldn't bring it back to life. It seems the data had been well and truly scrambled - almost certainly due to its passage through numerous security scanners on the China trip.

But all was not lost!

St Faith's pupils are a remarkable bunch with extraordinary powers of imagination. They were able to "see" all the images on the blank screen in their minds' eye, from purple unicorns to Scooby Doo and the gang, to Cruella de Ville. It was almost an anti-climax when Dave managed to recover the files and the real pictures came up! In fact, I'm thinking of making the what-can-you-see-on-the-blank-screen activity a regular part of my school assembly talks from now on.

I've even got a name for it:  The Emperor's New Powerpoint.
The book sale queue. I love these gorgeous stripey blazers.

I really enjoyed spending the day talking about reading and writing with Year 3, 4 and 5 at St Faith's (including undercover stick insects, the new Range Rover Asparagus and Iron Man's Adventures in Toiletland - no wonder I love my job so much!). Thank you all for making me so welcome. Special thanks to St Faith's amazing librarian, Kate Johnson for organising everything - including the book sale at break time.

I had so many books to sign that I got a bit carried away and accidentally wrote Happy Birthday instead of Happy Reading not once, but twice!

Just a few books to sign!

Part 2

The other big excitement for me on World Book Day was receiving an email from Adventure Island reader Antsha, with some spectacular photos of her and her little sister, dressed up as Mrs Loveday and Emily Wild. And is that Drift I see there too?

Mrs Loveday gives Emily a very stern look!
How cool is that? Antsha has thought of everything;  the bike helmet, the grey curls, the hi-vis jacket, the flowery dress, the trainers and, of course, the mop! And Tonisha looks just like Emily with those long brown curls. This photo was my favourite.  I love how you can really see the action here - Mrs Loveday is shaking her mop at Emily (no doubt telling her off for something!), while Emily looks as if she's about to dash off and solve another mystery, with Drift running along behind.

Thank you, Antsha, for sending me this picture. I hope you both had a lovely World Book Day!

Sadly, World Book Day is now over for another year.  Don't forget to spend those £1 tokens. There are some great books to chose from but my personal recommendation would be The Midnight Picnic by Lauren St John.

And it's not too late to win a brilliant prize of Book Tokens for your school - all you have to do is send in a photo of your class all dressed up for World Book Day  - not to me, but to the World Book Day people - all the details (and loads more fun stuff) on their website here.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Here Be Dragons!

I'm sure you already know that yesterday was World Book Day. I'll be posting some pictures from my visit to the wonderful St Faiths School in Cambridge soon. But in the meantime, there's another important day going on TODAY!

It's National Doodle Day. 

It's great fun. And it's all in support of Epilepsy Action.

My publisher Orion are getting involved and asked some of their authors to send in pictures of themselves holding up their doodles for the National Doodle Day twitter feed.

Here's my attempt - a Chinese dragon I doodled while waiting in the car for my son to finish his drum lesson. The only pencil in my bag was rather blunt and I couldn't find a sharpener so he looks a little blurry round the edges! Let's just say that he's a dragon seen through a cloud of smoke!

All My Own Work!

But why a Chinese dragon you may be wondering?

Here's a clue. I've just got back from a trip to do some research for the next book in the Secrets of the Tombs series. It involved a some very long flights, eating lots of yummy noodles and climbing to the top of pagodas. Not to mention looking at tombs. I'm always looking at tombs! 

There will be dragons in the new book too!

If you would like to see lots more doodles, have a look at the National Doodle Day website. There's a gallery of celebrity doodles. You can also help to raise funds for Epilepsy Action by bidding to to buy a doodle by one of your favourite celebs.

I've just discovered a website where you can find out what official "DAY" it is for every day of the year.  Turns out that today is not only Doodle Day, but also, amongst others, Middle Name Pride Day* and Crown Roast of Pork Day**!

I am now going to put the "day" website into my UTTERLY BANNED FOR ALL TIME file. Otherwise I could fritter away entire weeks - weeks when when I should be working - on browsing its fascinating contents. But before I lock it away for ever, I couldn't help noticing that tomorrow is National Proof Reading Day. 

Which is mighty uncanny because sitting on my desk is a big fat envelope full of the proofs of The Phoenix Code . . . and the job right at the top of my mega To-Do list for tomorrow is to check through them. 

It's going to make it so much more fun, knowing that I am doing it on the designated day of the year!

* FYI. My middle name is Elizabeth and yay, I'm proud of it!

** Oh no, too late, I've just got mince out of the freezer for a chilli con carne!