Thank you so much Bryn. We reckon you are a superstar literary critic in the making!
The inspiring and wonderfully kind folk at the 1st Burley-in-Wharfedale Brownies are raising money for Katiyo Primary School in Zimbabwe by auctioning off one-of-a-kind bookmarks designed by authors, illustrators and book lovers. I’ve taken a break from working on my new book to get designing for this brilliant project.
Here’s the bookmark I designed:
If you fancy bidding on this one-off, signed, original bookmark or any of the other bookmarks up for auction, keep an eye on the 1st Burley-in-Wharfedale Brownies blog or follow all the fun on Twitter.
Sheena and I were back in Surrey today. This time we were visiting St Bartholomew’s Primary School and Cranleigh Primary School.
We started our morning with the brilliant Year Three and Year Four pupils at St Bartholomew’s Primary. We created lots of brand new pigeon characters, as Sheena guided us through a shape challenge drawing tutorial.
We then created two magnificent stories where Dave Pigeon and best friend Skipper had to avoid a candy floss covered Mean Cat, before meeting evil magic mice Bob and Kevin who transformed the pigeon besties into mice. Dave and Skipper, the mutant pigeon mice, had no choice but to escape via a transporter hidden in a sewer.
We then headed to Cranleigh Primary School after lunch where we were met with a fantastic display of the pupils Dave Pigeon inspired artwork.
We created brand new characters and stories that involved a middle of nowhere jungle, pigeons at a rave and a super pigeon called Supie.
One particular highlight was meeting and exceptionally knitted Dave Pigeon who had been created two of the staff members at Cranleigh Primary School. He was a knitting masterpiece.
Thank you so much to all the brilliant staff and pupils of St Bartholomew’s Primary School and Cranleigh Primary School. And an extra special thank you to Owen and Jayne from Surrey Libraries who were such kind hosts.
Today, Sheena and I were at the University of East London. We weren’t in front of our usual crowd of five to eleven year olds but instead met with a hundred student teachers who were just months away from going in to work in primary schools. Led by the wonderful Nikki Gamble of Just Imagine, we were part of the Read to Inspire event, alongside author Chitra Soundar, where we spoke to the next generation of teachers about bringing the joy of reading for pleasure into their classrooms.
Nikki talked about the importance of children being adventurous in their choice of books and taking ‘risks’.
Chitra introduced us to her books and showed us what she did in her events, entertaining us with her storytelling.
Nikki then joined Sheena and I and we had an ‘in conversation’ piece were we talked about our routes into illustration and writing respectively.
We also gave the students a taster of our character building session where the students helped us create a brand new villain.
Thank you so much to Nikki, Rose, Fran and Daniel and the lovely students at the University of East London who were such wonderful hosts.
Sheena and I have been busy with events this month and we thought it was about time we shared some of what we have learnt about each other during our many hours on the train. We weeded out all the useless stuff, (yup, my shoe size is size 5), and the good folk at the Carousel magazine let us have a double page spread in the latest issue of their magazine to share our interview with you.
This issue is packed full of fantastic articles, interviews and reviews. If you love everything children’s books, it’s well worth subscribing to this brilliant publication.
I’m so proud to see that Dave Pigeon has been selected as one of the books The Alligator’s Mouth Bookshop and The Siobhan Dowd Trust will be supplying to the Prison Reading Groups family reading days. This scheme is very special as the Prison Reading Groups Family Days provide books for children visiting a parent in prison and nurture the joy of reading.
It was an early start today as we headed to Tadworth Primary School in Surrey. Sheena and I were greeted with a Dave Pigeon treasure hunt and a huge pile of books to sign before we ran our four workshops with pupils from Year One to Year Six.
We created alternative endings for Dave Pigeon and Skipper. First up, Years One, Two and Three; they took the pigeons on an adventure to an underground hideout where a pigeon-hungry mole was waiting for them. Thankfully, the pigeons escaped after they craftily created mud pigeons to fool the poorly-sighted mole.
Next up were Years Four, Five and Six. They took the pigeon duo on a trip to the rubbish dump where the feathery pair hatch a plan to drench Mean Cat in water. However, Skipper mistakenly dumps a bucket of water on top of a mongoose who hunts the pigeons down. As Skipper flies to safety, Dave manages to escape the angered mongoose, with the help of a bucket and a hill to roll down.
After our story-building workshops, Year Four created fifty new villains for us. I came away, as ever, inspired by the creativity of these budding young writers and illustrators.
Thank you so much to The Alligator’s Mouth bookshop and all the staff and pupils, especially headteacher Justin Kelly, who helped to make our visit so pigeontastic.
(Pictures from Tadworth Times, Tadworth Primary School)
Today, Sheena and I continued our month of events with a trip to Chelmsford with Just Imagine.
We started our morning at Danbury Park Community Primary School where we met year 3 and 4. I was so impressed by their incredible Dave Pigeon inspired display of maths, science and creative writing work.
We worked together to create some brand new villains and a new story featuring pigeons falling through holes in playgrounds and finding potions in underground lairs.
We then headed off to The Bishops’ C of E & R C Primary School where we were treated to a scrumptious school dinner and met the gorgeous school dog, Luna, before we met with two hundred pupils who helped us create a host of new characters and a tale of pigeons escaping from the inside of a dragon-deer so they could head to a woodland animal rave.
Thank you so much to the brilliant staff and pupils of both Danbury Park Community Primary School and The Bishops’ C of E & R C Primary School and of course, the lovely Niki Sutton from Just Imagine.
‘Without a doubt a really good laugh out loud book!’
Robert, age 7
‘I liked this book because it was funny. The pictures are funny too.’
Rebecca Urquhart, age 7
‘We love it! The illustrations are excellent. It is a witty and intriguing novel, and we both genuinely care about the characters.’
Emma and Sam, age 6 Radford
‘Very original book about a pigeon’s world…hilarious. Loved it.’
Diya Budhdeo, age 7
‘A very funny book that had me laughing all the way through!’
Robyn Chorley, age 8
‘I liked the speech bubbles when Dave and Skipper talked to each other. They are the funniest bit of the book.’
Daniel Smith, age 5
‘The comic-like illustrations just take this already hilarious book to another level. A brilliant book which you must get for your children to read.’
Amatullah Khatun, age 6