Interview with The Children’s Book Spectacular

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Fantastic news for those of you need who need a big children’s book fix! The Children’s Book Spectacular, a group of librarians, editors, literacy agents, teachers and authors, have launched an incredible channel on You Tube so they can bring a whole host of all things children’s books! Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

They very kindly asked ME to launch their channel with their very first video. Have a watch, listen to me jabber on about books and remember to subscribe to this brilliant channel.

Dave Pigeon World Book Day Inspiration

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World Book Day lands on Thursday 7th March and it’s a double celebration because Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!) publishes on that very same day!

Every year we love seeing your Dave Pigeon costumes so please do send in or tweet your pictures. Here are some pigeontastic costumes from previous years to inspire your own creations:

And if you need a Dave Pigeon mask, use this handy activity sheet to create your very own:

Have fun creating your costumes and get in touch with pictures of your masterpieces because Dave Pigeon fans always have the best costumes.

Dave Pigeon Competition Time!

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Faber & Faber are offering you the chance to win all four Dave Pigeon books AND a cuddly royal pigeon to celebrate the release of Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!) in two weeks time!

To be in with a chance of winning, tweet a picture of your drawing of your favourite animal as royalty to @faberchildrens on Twitter, using the hashtag #DavePigeon. Alternatively you can email your drawing to or post to: Kids Marketing, Faber & Faber, Bloomsbury House, 74-77 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DA. Entries must be in by 1st May 2019.

Here’s my gorgeous boy dressed as royalty to inspire your creation:

Dave Pigeon visits Halswell School

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Today, I visited Halswell School as their brand new Patron of Reading. On this glorious sunny Thursday, I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome from the pupils and staff of Halswell School, lead at the helm by their brilliant school librarian Zac.

I introduced the pigeontastic Year 5 and Year 6 pupils to the Dave Pigeon series and our favourite feathery duo.

The pupils then helped me write a whole host of new Mean Cat stories; there was plenty of poo, a truck load of toilets and lots of massive fearsome potatoes.

As part of my PoR duties I also contribute to the school’s newsletters and today I gave the Halswell pupils my top tips for creative writing, which I thought I would share with you:

Swapna Haddow’s Creative Writing Top Tips

I Spy

Always be on the look out for story ideas. A newspaper headline, a visit to a gallery, walking the dog, a swing across the monkey bars – inspiration is everywhere.

Carry a notebook

A notebook is the perfect place to jot down ideas. Keep it on you at all times – inspiration can strike at any moment.

Read, read, read!

With every book you read, ask questions. What was your favourite bit? And what didn’t you enjoy so much? These questions will help you work out what you want in your own stories.


The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy creating your masterpiece. Remember to share your stories and ideas with friends and fellow writers.

Return to Wonderland

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I’m delighted to share the very exciting news that Macmillan is publishing Return to Wonderland, a selection of stories for middle grade readers, each written by a different children’s author and one of those authors is ME!

More than 150 years since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published, readers will get to revisit Carroll’s wonderful characters and I can’t tell you how chuffed I am to be in the company of Peter Bunzl, Pamela Butchart, Maz Evans, Patrice Lawrence, Chris Smith, Robin Stevens, Lauren St John, Lisa Thompson, Piers Torday and Amy Wilson, all of whom are writing champions.

Return to Wonderland is illustrated by the mega-talented Laura Barrett and publishes in hardback on 27th June 2019 in time for Alice Day on 4th July.

Take a look at Laura’s beautiful cover:

Gorgeous proofs are arriving in letterboxes and down rabbit holes right at this very moment and I can’t wait for you all to read my story ‘The Missing Book‘ this June.

The reviews for Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise are in…

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Now that Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise is officially out in the world, the reviews are coming in and Little Rabbit appears to be going down a treat with readers.

Bookwagon describes the book as ‘a truly satisfying book’ in their latest book review round up:

And we also have wonderful reviews from North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award, The Lancashire Post, Story Snug and Red Reading Hub.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read and reviewed Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise. I’m so pleased to hear you’ve enjoyed her story.

Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!): sneak peek alert!

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For those of you who can’t wait until March to get your hands on the next Dave Pigeon book in the series, Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!), the technical wizards at Faber & Faber are giving you a sneak peek at the entire first chapter!

Have a read here of the beginning of Dave and Skipper’s brand new adventure. This pigeon duo are about to peck their way into their most catbrainned scheme yet…

Happy Reading!