Monday, 26 November 2012

It's a Double Win for How to Grow a Dinosaur!

How to Grow a Dinosaur has won the Early Years categories of BOTH the Oldham Schools Book Awards AND the Stockport Schools Book Awards!

So last week I winged my way over to Oldham for an evening of glitz and glamour at the Oscar-style awards ceremony, held in the stunning Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Ed Eaves and I were up against stiff competition from Ed Vere's brilliant Bedtime for Monsters and  Richard Byrne's charming Millicent and Meer.  So it was with a fluttering tummy and great excitement that I climbed onto the stage to collect my award!

And what an award it is! I was presented with this beautiful mosaic made by children in the Reception class at Whitegate End School.  They made another one for Ed Eaves - with the word Grow set in green with a yellow surround.  Both pieces were made in conjuction with artist Amanda McGran.

Unfortunately, I don't have any decent photos from the evening, because I was too busy smiling.  But head over to the Bookwitch Blog for some lovely photos of the night.

The next morning, I did a workshop at the super-swish Oldham Library, with two classes of Year 3 children, who trudged through the pouring rain to meet me.  Then it was off to The Plaza theatre in Stockport for another night of anticipation and celebration.

At both award evenings, we watched wonderful animated extracts of all the shortlisted books, some of which were presented by children as part of the two councils' Oracy Projects.  The Early Years category was the first to be announced, so Ed and I were delighted for a second time as our names were read out!

This time, we both received a piece of beautifully framed original artwork from children at St Simon's Catholic Primary School.  This colourful dinosaur collage was created and presented by the gorgeous Charlie Thomas.

I spent the following day at Mersey Vale Junior School where we had lots of fun making Dino Chompers and T-Rex masks.  The children in years 4, 5 and 6 made some amazing picture books of their own, featuring our very own Albie in adventures with pirates and dragons.  I was really impressed with the standard of work the children acheived and their amazing enthusiasm for books.

With huge thanks to Oldham Council and Stockport School Library Services, not only for treating us so well and making both evenings super special, but for their amazing dedication to promoting reading. 

Oldham Brilliant Books Awards

Stockport Schools Book Awards

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Princess and the Peas Launch Event

If you have never been to Tales on Moon Lane Bookshop in Herne Hill, GO RIGHT NOW!  It is THE most FABULOUS kids book shop in the world and the perfect place to run a launch event for The Princess and the Peas - my new book with Sarah Warburton, published by the amazing Nosy Crow.

The shop was packed with enthusiastic boys, girls, mums and dads and we had a great time reading the story and watching Sarah draw pictures of Lily Rose May, the star of the story.

We even got a picture of Lily on the Loo! Something that unfortunately did not appear in the book!  

Georgina Hanratty, the shop's manager, was the perfect hostess.  She made us all feel really welcome and even hung Pea-flavoured bunting from the chandeliers for us!

 After all the children had gone, we had some bubbly and snacks with some very important book bloggers, hosted by two very polite young ladies (Camilla from Nosy Crow's daughters).

Big thanks to Georgina and the team, to Kate Wilson, Dominic Kingston, Camilla Reid and her lovely daughters for making this event so special!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Welcome to Alien School Shortlisted for Red House Award!

The people at Red House do an amazing job, getting brilliant quality books to children at a really affordable price.  And that means more kids reading, which HAS to be a good thing!  

So I am VERY excited to announce that Welcome to Alien School has been shortlisted for the Red House Children’s Book Award!

When I write stories, I like to ask, “I wonder what would happen if…?”  In Welcome to Alien School I tried to imagine what would happen if your mum took you to the wrong school one day.  Would the other kids be friendly? Would you do the same lessons? Would you like the school dinners? I hope that Albie’s adventure reassures children that starting a new school is nothing to be afraid of.

How to Vote
You can find details of all the shortlisted books on the Awards Website
You can also VOTE for your favourites! 
Blog Tour
All the shortlisted authors, including me, have written blogs about our writing, about what inspires us and where we get our ideas from.  These are being published during November on a series of book-related blogs.  Have a look at some of these:

Child Led Chaos

Federation of Children's Book Groups Blog


Read it Daddy

Babble About Books

Library Mice

Playing by the Book

Little Wooden Horse

Girls Heart Books

Mr Ripleys Enchanted Books 

Red House Books Blog

The closing date for voting is 27 January 2013 and the winners will be announced at a special ceremony on Saturday 23 February 2013.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Welcome to Alien School in Turkey!

Welcome to Alien School has just been published in Turkey!  

I recieved a copy today and was fascinated to see that Albie has become Baybars and Nogel is called Panpan!

If you would like to win a copy, please leave me a message below explaining why you would like it!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

And the Winners Are...

Thank you for all your entries for my Twitter The Princess and the Peas Competition! It was very hard to choose a winner, so I decided to give First, Second and Third Prizes. Here are the results:

3rd Prize goes to:  Samuel Kent in Alabama USA for this:  "I eat peas while holding my breath, with my eyes shut, pretending they aren't peas."

2nd Prize goes to: Laura Clempson who said: "My 4 year old won't eat her own peas but happily steals her brothers!"

And the best of the bunch:

First Prize goes to  Helen Dineen for this creative entry: "I like to put a pea into each square of my potato waffle."Inspired!

Helen wins a glittering signed hardback copy of the book. Samuel and Laura each win a selection of goodies and a very tiny bar of Green and Blacks chocolate. 

Thanks for all your entries.  Watch out for more competitions and you could be a winner too!

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Princess and the Peas Competition!


To celebrate the publication of my new book, I am launching a Twitter Competition!  If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a signed hardback copy, read on.  Here's what you have to do..

Simply follow me on twitter here: and send me a tweet telling me your favourite way to eat your peas.  That's it.  Simple.

To get you started, here's mine: I like to get some mashed potato on my fork and squash it down onto my peas so that I get green spotty mash. 

At the end of your tweet, please add the hastag  #Princess&PeasComp

Remember, your answer can be up to 140 characters in length,  so make it good!

The Princess and the Peas is illustrated by the magnificent Sarah Warburton and published by the super-amazing crew at Nosy Crow

The competition closing date is Thursday 6 September, which also happens to be Publication Day.  Woo Hoo!

Friday, 6 July 2012

BookARoo Launches Today!

Woo Hoo!

I have set up a new book review blog where I talk about all my favourite children's books.  Each review tells you what the book is about, and gives ideas for activites and discussions based on the story.

I also include details of other great books by the author and links to cool stuff like author websites, book trailers and things.

If you would like to check it out, visit BookARoo

Monday, 21 May 2012

Children Turned into Aliens!

Last week, I visited Codnor and Clay Cross Libraries as part of the Derbyshire Literature Festival.  The festival is organised by Derbyshire Libraries and involves a brilliant program of visits and talks across the county by authors and poets.

To my suprise, after reading of Welcome to Alien School, and some furious cutting, sticking and colouring, all the children turned into Aliens!  Help!

As well as reading stories, I showed the children how a picture book is made, including what the text looks like when I've finished with it, and what the illustrator's rough sketches look like.

Thanks to everyone at Derbyshire Library Services for organising a great day.  I heard later that, after I had gone, one child borrowed ALL my books from the special display that Clay Cross Library had put up in my honour.  That's what we like!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

A Little Albie Fan

This is 2 year old Master Jennings from Hull.  He's such an Albie fan, he knows all the words to Supermarket Zoo and How to Grow a Dinosaur! 

I've sent him some Supermarket Zoo stickers to help enourage him to give up his dummy! What a superstar!

If you would like to see your child featured on my blog, send a picture of them reading their favourite Albie book

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Sneaky Peeks

Want to see some sneaky peaks of my new book with Nosy Crow? 

You do?

Well look no further.  Here they are!

The Princess and the Peas, illustrated by the amazing Sarah Warburton,  is out in September.  You can pre-order it here

New Alien Activities now Online

At last, I've finally managed to upload some Welcome to Alien School activities! 

You can make a mask and colour in your very own Alien School scene.  Click here to have a go!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

It's All About Meeee!

It's amazing what lands in my inbox!  

The other day, I received an email from Carl Loughlin with a link to this mad-crazy book review show he has created.  This episode is all about wolves.  See if you can spot Whiffy Wilson in there anywhere!

Carl is a library manager at Wallasey Village Library on the Wirral.  His mission is to get kids reading and one of the ways he does this is by running character storytimes.  He dresses up as crazy characters who really bring the stories to life!  

Sound entertaining?  Go and have a look at Carl's website to find out more! Take me to CarlOnTV
WARNING: Some of the videos are a little gruesome!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Eek!! Aliens!!!

Look what just arrived!  

My advance copies of Welcome to Alien School!! 

Hands up who would like a copy to review?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Tom McLaughlin's going to illustrate one of my books!

Tom McLaughlin is illustrating one of my texts to create a book called Catch That Rat!  It's coming out next year.  

You can see some of Tom's amazing work on this episode of CBeebies Bedtime Story, in his story with Mark Sperring called Captain Buckleboots on the Naughty Step!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Stockport Awards Shortlist for How to Grow a Dinosaur!!

Wheeeee!! How to Grow a Dinosaur has been shortlisted for the 2012 Stockport Children's Book Awards!!
I don't know which other books are shortlisted yet, but I'll let you know as soon as I find out.  This is my second nomination for this award.  Last year, Rhino? What Rhino? was shortlisted but pipped at the post by the brilliant book: My Mum has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister and Alex T. Smith.
Big thanks go to Ed Eaves for his amazing illustrations, which really bring this book to life! 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

11 Questions from Clara Vulliamy

My lovely friend and fellow author, Clara Vulliamy, has written a cool blog post called 11 Questions, 11 Answers.  The idea is to share 11 things about yourself, answer the 11 questions asked by the previous person, and in turn ask 11 more.  You can read Clara's blog here:

I thought I'd have a go too, so here are my 11s.

 11 Things about Me
 1. I like clothes shopping but can never find anything that suits me
2. I get very cold during the day, so often write wearing thermals, two jumpers, fingerless gloves, woolly hat and dressing gown. 
3. I like to fiddle with a Tangle Toy while I write, it helps me to think
4. When I was small, I had a purple crochet blanket which started life as a dress made by my mum for a neighbour.
5. I still have it.
6. I used to practise my violin at 6am outside my brother's bedroom door
7. I hate walking in crowded streets
8. My favourite flowers are sweet peas
9. I am a tomboy and hardly ever wear skirts or dresses
10.  Sweets make my teeth hurt, but chocolate doesn't
11. I sweep my kitchen floor every morning.

11 Answers to Clara Vulliamy's Questions:
1.Where is your favourite place in the whole world?
Up a mountain in Nepal
2.What is your favourite colour?
Deep Blue
3. What lovely thing you would like to overhear someone saying about you?
She's fun
3. Classical music – do you like it, or are you just pretending?
Lots, but not all.  I hate chamber music as I played loads of it as a child.  I also hate really modern stuff that is full of weird rhythms and discords.
4. Cats or dogs?
5. What’s your perfect night in?
50 First Dates or Employee of the Month, Guillian chocolates, white wine and cuddles
6. Are you squeamish – and if so what about?
No.  Yes.  Bogies Ewww.
7. Cautious, or ‘what the heck, let’s go for it!’ ?
I'm not a big risk-taker.  I like to plan ahead.
8. Camping or luxury hotels?
Self catering in unusual places is for me. Oh, and house-swapping cos its free and you get to see some really cool places.
9. ‘Real’ books, or on screen?
Both.  Book first, then film.
10. Weep at happy endings?
11. Singing in public: a chance to show off, or horribly embarrassing?
A chance to show off AND horribly embarrassing for everyone watching!

And here are my 11 questions for someone else to answer:

1. If you could do ANY job, what would it be?
2. What's your favourite smell?
3. Chocolate or sweets?
4. Name three things you keep in your bag
5. What's your favourite book of all time?
6. Do you still know your best friend from primary school?
7. What is your favourite font?
8. What size notebook do you prefer, A5, A4 or A3?
9. If you had a pet alien, what would you call it?
10.  What object do you hate the most?
11. What is your perfect age?

I'd love to hear your answers, so please do add your comments below.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Princess and the Peas - Caryl-Hart-Style

Wowsers!  Just get a load of this!! It's PINK, it's glittery and it's the cover for my newest book, due out in September!  Sarah Warburton has created some of the best illustrations I've ever seen, she is such an amazing talent!  

I am hoping to be able to bring you a couple of sneak previews of the insides, so keep checking back.

Oh, and if you think you know the story, then think again!  This version is about a little girl who won't eat her peas.  She makes such a fuss that her dad calls the doctor, who diagnoses her with a severe case of Princess-itis and packs her off to live at the palace.  But is pea-free luxury as good as it sounds?  You'll have to read the story to find out!!

The Princess and the Peas is a light-hearted cautionary tale for all princesses and princes who don't like to eat up their greens.  And it's published by Nosy Crow.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Whiffy Wilson Postcards

These F-A-B postcards arrived in a big envelope this morning.  Would you like one?  Tell me what you think of Whiffy Wilson and I'll send you a signed postcard of the cheeky little scamp.

Once you have sent your comment, click here
to send me your address and details of who you would like the postcard sent to. 

You can also follow me on twitter: @carylhart1

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Readers' Comments

I absolutely love it when readers get in touch to tell me what they think of my books.  Especially if their comments are good!  I just had a gorgeous email from a family with a young daughter.  This is what they said: 

"We love ''Whiffy Wilson'' and wanted you to know! C is two and loves it- including calling her Dad ''Whissy Willsun''...which is hilarious. We found your book in our local library... and will buy your collection based upon on have lovely humour and it (will be when it's actually hers) a very treasured book...Thank you for providing a children's book that is funny and above the dross!"

If you would like to tell me what you think about my books, please do get in touch via my website, or write a comment below!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Look what arrived in the post last week!  It's Muffin by the delightful Clara Vulliamy.  Isn't he adorable?  This book is a must for anyone with under fives (and anyone who likes bears!) 

In this story, Muffin takes some buns to his friend's birthday party but he gets a bit peckish on the way and - oh dear!  You might guess what happens next, but you will never guess how the story ends!

And watch out for more Muffin books on the way

Clara also send me a gorgeous Mini-Muffin in a match box bed.  Isn't it lovely?  How about making a matchbox bed for a character of your own?  Visit to find out how.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Whiffy Wilson Nominated for East Midlands Book Award

Hooray, the gorgeously cute and unwholesomely pongy Whiffy Wilson has been nominated for the East Midlands Book Award

This award is open to published authors living in the East Midlands area and has a lovely big prize of £1,000!  That's the same as winning Come Dine With Me!  Although the odds of winning the cash are quite a bit lower, as Whiffy Wilson is one of 41 titles to be nominated!  Ah well.  You never know!

New Activities: How To Grow a Dinosaur

I have just added some new activities to my website.  These have been designed by yours truly, and most have been expertly drawn by the hugely talented Ed Eaves.  Isn't he amazing!
You can create your own fantasy seeds packet, make a terrifying dino-chomper or a T-Rex mask or get busy with some colouring-in. It's all here on my website!  Go on!  Get Busy!!


Monday, 6 February 2012

Rhino? What Rhino? Shortlisted for Portsmouth Book Award!!

Guess what?  The lovely Rhino has been shortlisted for the amazing Portsmouth Book Award!!

Children in 32 primary schools will be reading the shortlisted books and voting for their favourites in time for a ceremony in June. 

I am very very excited to have been chosen for this award, not least because only FOUR picture books have been selected for the shortlist!  That's four out of all the hundreds of picture books published each year.  The other three shortlisted titles are:

So here's a very big thank you to Portsmouth Schools Library Service for picking Rhino? What Rhino?!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Lately, I have been looking at book trailers.  These are short videos that try to give a flavour of what a book is about.  I thought I'd post a few here.  Do let me know what you think of them, and which you like best!

Hairy Bear, by Sam McCullen:

Squish Rabbit by Katherine Battersby:


It's a book, by Lane Smith:


Smile by Leigh Hodgkinson:



Here is a little video of my favourite cat, Maru.  I think he lives in Japan and his owner has made loads of videos about him.  I particularly like this one because I love the song, which is by Brighton-Based band, Hundred Little Reasons.  Hope you enjoy it too!

Go to Hundred Little Reasons for more ukulele music.

And here's another funny video starring Maru.  He is a cat who likes sitting in boxes. 

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Creative Explosion at St. Wilfrid's Primary

Yesterday, I had an amazing time at St.Wilfrid's Primary School in Warrington.  I was there to open the new school library, created with the help of the school's Friends' Committee who had raised a staggering £10,000 for the project.

The children had spent the previous few days reading my books and doing lots of book-related activities in preparation for my visit.  Head Teacher, Glenda Davies, said, "It was a fantastic way to ease back into the new term. The children absolutey LOVE your books!"

 The whole day was an explosion of creativity.  Children immersed themselves in reading, writng and singing stories and poems.  I was completely bowled over at the standard of work they produced.  You can see some of their creations in The Gallery