A Marathon and a Half

In the world of children's writers and illustrators, March is like December for Santa Claus or July for
ice cream van drivers.

We are flavour of the month!

Reading The Mystery of the Cursed Ruby at Kensingston Community Primary School
March brings World Book Day and schools of every stripe want a real live author to be part of their bookish celebrations.

So we take to the road in a Mad March Marathon. There's much lugging of cases of books (I love books but why do they have to be so heavy?) eating of dodgy sandwiches on stuffy trains and arguing with bossy satnavs in our cars - but it's all worth it; meeting readers is one of the very best parts of the job.

I've spend six days in six primary schools so far this month, and they couldn't be more different - from a small village school still partly housed in the old Victorian schoolhouse (the stairs to the staffroom are so steep you need ropes to climb them!) to a huge, city school (this school has five classes per year and is so big that I would still be wandering the corridors now, if I hadn't had my intrepid Y3 guides with me).

A lovely display at Merdian School, Greenwich. I love the scroll, the Celtic knots and the cabinet for the ruby

But whatever the school, children are children;  they love listening to stories and telling stories, they love to laugh out loud and to gasp with suspense, they are bursting with amazing, sparkling (and often crazy!) ideas, and they all want to know what my dogs are called, where I get my ideas from, and which of my books is my favourite (the hardest question of all!).

That finishing line feeling . . .
So, although I was too tired to speak by the end of my World Book Day tour (a sore throat is lurking!), I loved every minute of it (OK, not the twenty minutes I waited on an overcrowded platform for a delayed Metropolitan Line train to Hampstead or the five when I was being lashed with horizontal rain in Dagenham!) but all the other minutes when I was actually inside the schools.

The day before the first visit I ran a half marathon in Cambridge. This picture sums up howWorld Book Day feels!

Thank you to all the fantastic teachers, librarians and school secretataries who work so hard to organise World Book Day author visits. Not to mention dressing up as mad scienties and astronauts.

Roll call:

Great Chesterford Primary School
Southbank International School, Hampstead
William Bellamy Primary School, Dagenham
North Kidlington Primary School, Oxford
Kensington Community Primary School, Liverpool,
Meridian Primary School, Greenwich