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.