There must have been a few extra traffic jams last week as legions of intrepid children' authors zoomed around the universe sharing the joys of reading, writing and generally stuffing our brains to
bursting point with ideas in the in brilliant bookish bonanza that is World Book Day.
I spent Tuesday at the wonderful Southbank International School in Hampstead. In the morning I was with Grade 5 talking about the delights of writing about treasure - lost, found, and fought over.
|We've found the treasure!
|We can't hear you, we're reading!
(and, Southbank Grade 5 people, I've looked it up, it's a thing, it has a name, it's called inattentional deafness. I'm going to send you some information about it!).
I spent the afternoon with Grade 3. We had a lovely long chat about the kinds of books we would like to write, and all the ingredients we need for writing mysteries; a good baddie, twists and turns, friends, just the right amount of danger - and preferably a dog too. We thought about story structure; giving our characters goals and then being really mean and throwing obstacles in their way - and we made up a brilliant, if slightly surreal, story about the demon dentist's twin sister (it involved a double-crossing squid and the quest for the wolf crystal.)
All the pupils were so enthusiastic, creative and knowledgeable; it was a joy to spend the day with them, and I could happily have stayed on and chatted about books and writing for weeks. Thank you to brilliant Southbank librarain, Victor Louis for organising the visit, and to everyone for making me so welcome on the day.
|A lovely display at Caldecote Primary School
It was great fun to see the teachers join in too. They had all dressed up as bears from books and performed a quite spectacular dance around the hall to the soundtrack of Bear Necessities.
I worked with the whole school in the course of the day. We looked at shmoooshing ideas together to come up with new ones - for example, supercars based on animals - just like in The Mystery of the Black Salamander. The Camouflage Chameleon, the Golden Unicorn, The Poisoner (scorpion and bat car) The Red Dragon, The Ocptopus Car, The Flying Tiger were just some of the great inventions.
We just had to think of where we wanted to go in our animal-cars, who we'd take with us, and, most importantly of all, what could possibly go wrong, and we were all well on the the way to thinking up a brilliant story. What a talented bunch of creative and enthusiastic children they were!
Just a few days later I was thrilled to receive a bulging envelope of lovely thank you letters from Y3's Orange Class. Here are some of my favourite quotes about the day:
It has inspired me and my friends to write
It inspired me to like books more and make them
We learned a lot about authors and how you write and think
I loved designing my amazing Tiger Car and spending time with you.
You taught me stuff I did not know, like the Cheddar cheese that was the most popular food stolen in EnglandI can't resist sharing a few of those letters to show off the beautiful artwork and great car designs. Aren't they amazing!
Thank you to everyone at Caldecote Primary School for making me so welcome and espeically to Gillian Davison for organising it all and looking after me on the day.
And we can't finish talking about World Book Day without seeing readers dressed up as Adventure Island characters! Here is Imogen, who makes an absolutely fabulous Emily Wild. I love the details - the binnoculous, investigation kit, notebook and S.I.T. badge - and of course, an adorable Drift! Well done, Imogen, you look fabulous!
|Now, where are Scott and Jack? We've got some suspects to investigate!
|Awesome costume, if I say so myself - Jack
Which reminds me, it's time to get back to work. I have a book to write . . .
And don't forget that the World Book Day website is there all year round and is always worth exploring for great writing tips, author news, fun stuff and brilliant competitions. And that reminds me of something else . . . I've got a competition to judge . . . more on that coming very soon!