Dave Pigeon visits North Finchley Library

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As part of the Summer Reading Challenge celebrations, Barnet Libraries invited Sheena and I to run our Dave Pigeon workshop at North Finchley library. This meant an awful lot to me as libraries were my favourite places as child (and still are now, quite honestly) and this was my first event at a library in my home borough.

We created a host of brand new super villains with the young writers and illustrators who turned up, including robots and firebirds and dodgy dustbin men and slimy grimy monsters. We then created a new adventure for Dave Pigeon with ideas from everyone. We met Doktor Triangle and his evil twin at the Baddest of Baddies contest where Dave Pigeon had unwittingly signed up, having accidentally been dropped from a helicopter whilst carrying a drill. It was a brilliant collaboration and mash up of ideas.

Thank you to everyone who came along and a HUGE thank you to the staff at North Finchley Library and Ruth and Neil from Barnet Libraries who made us feel so at home in their lovely library.

Team Dave Pigeon at The Roald Dahl Museum

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Today, Team Dave Pigeon were at the literary home of the great Roald Dahl. If you have ever met me, you will know how much I loved his books as a child and what an inspiration he continues to be to me now that I’m a grown-up writing children’s books.

It was a dream come true to be in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived for thirty-six years. And where he wrote some of the greatest children’s books of all time in the famous Writing Hut.

Sheena and I ran three workshops were we met with over sixty budding young writers and illustrators for an illustration and story-writing powwow in the Upper Babbling Room.

They created three new villains including the infamous ‘Pyjama Piranha’, the evil ‘Stinky Big Head Pants’ and the grimy pigeon-napper ‘Gangster Man’. The children then went onto create three brand new phizz-whizzing-ly, pigeontastic tales involving Dave and Skipper escaping beneath the sand on a beach in Australia-Egypt, calling Super Pigeon on their iPigeons and a visit to Legoland. We heard about a villainous ice cream van, a supersonic baseball bat that could whack a pigeon into outer space and a penguin-eating shark.

Thank you to all who came along and got involved. And a HUGE thank you to the brilliant staff at The Roald Dahl Museum who made us feel so at home during our time at the museum.

Summer Reading Challenge Launch Day

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Today is the official launch of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. The theme is ‘Animal Agents’ and Dave Pigeon is one of The Reading Agency’s selected reads this year!

Get involved with your local library, read six books, follow the clues and join in with hundreds of events across the nation over the summer break.

Team Dave Pigeon will be at North Finchley Library on 8th August and at Manor Park Library on 10th August. Come along, meet Sheena and myself and take part in our Dave Pigeon illustration and story building workshop.

Happy Reading!

Dave Pigeon visits Springwell Junior School

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Team Dave Pigeon visited Springwell Junior School in Heston, where we met with one hundred and twenty Year Three pupils.  We received a lovely, warm welcome and not just because it was the hottest day of the year, but because the children had been reading Dave Pigeon in their classrooms and were raring to go with creating their own Dave Pigeon stories.

We saw lots of brilliant work including monstrous pigeons, evil shelf stackers and a dangerous egg as Sheena led a villain illustration workshop.

The children then used their baddies to create new adventures for Dave and Skipper. We heard about an evil bird-napping nurse, two mischievous foxes and a toilet blocked with a ginormous poo. Sheena and I were so impressed with the creativity of these budding young writers and illustrators.

Thank you so much to the Alligator’s Mouth Bookshop, the pupils and staff of Springwell Junior School, especially Claire, who made our visit so special and the brilliant dinner ladies who made us the most scrumptious school dinner.

Dave Pigeon at Leicester Libraries Our Best Book Award

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We were up in Leicester for the Leicester Libraries Our Best Book Award. Dave Pigeon was on a shortlist of fantastic books and we couldn’t wait to celebrate all things books and libraries with the other shortlisted authors and illustrators.

On the day of the event we were taken to the grounds of the Leicester Tigers for a huge event. We spent the first part of the morning signing more than four hundred bookmarks for all the children who were heading to the grounds for the award ceremony.

Thirty-eight primary schools across Leicester were involved this year and every single pupil could be heard as they erupted with cheers for the winner, Joseph Delaney, author of The Ghost Prison.

As part of the event the pupils had prepared performances and presentations, including this incredible papier-mâché Dave Pigeon, made by the children and staff of Mayflower Primary School.

It was so wonderful to see how the children had engaged with the books and their creativity in their work.

We then headed to Mayflower Primary School to meet more pupils and create new characters and stories with them. Sheena led a drawing workshop, creating new pigeon characters from a single shape.

And I led a story building workshop that involved Dave and Skipper escaping a prison and the evil Peg Leg Pigeon.

Thank you so much to Leicester Libraries, Creative Learning Services and all the primary schools involved in the Our Best Book award, especially the pupils and staff of Mayflower Primary School who made us feel so at home in Leicester. We had a wonderful time meeting you all and are so chuffed that you took Dave Pigeon to your hearts in the way you did.

The shortlisted authors, illustrators and winner

(Clockwise: Me, Sheena Dempsey, Cathy Brett, Tom McLaughlin, Joseph Delaney, Jo Cotterill)

Dave Pigeon wins the Surrey Libraries’ Children’s Book Award 2017!

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I’m thrilled to the moon and back to let you all know that Dave Pigeon has won this year’s Surrey Libraries’ Children’s Book Award. I can’t tell you how special this award is to me. Not only is the short list selected by librarians, but the winning book is voted for entirely by children. Libraries played such an important role in nurturing my love for reading as a child which makes this award all the more special to me.

Sheena and I arrived at the ceremony, held at Dorking Halls, and we were so glad to see some familiar faces from our visits to schools in the area with Surrey Libraries.

We were in for a treat. The children had prepared presentations related to all the shortlisted books. There were videos, stage play adaptations, talks, a song and a puppet show. It was incredible to see how hard the children had worked.

The shortlisted authors and illustrators were then presented with personalised photo collages to celebrate our time with Surrey Libraries and the schools involved with the award. It was following this that Dave Pigeon was announced as the winner of this year’s Surrey Libraries’ Children’s Book Award. Both Sheena and I were flabbergasted. The short list was so strong this year and full of some of my favourite reads ever.

It was an honour to receive our star-shaped awards. Today will be a day I treasure forever. I can’t say thank you enough to the school staff and Surrey librarians who took Dave Pigeon to their hearts and championed him in making the book available to as many pupils as they could. Most importantly I have to give the HUGEST and FEATHERIEST of thank yous to all the children who read Dave Pigeon, produced creative pieces inspired by the book, worked so hard on fabulous presentations and then voted for him. You are all rockstars and have the BEST taste in books.