Bad Panda with Neobael

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It’s my final event of 2021! Thank you to everyone who has adapted to virtual visits during the pandemic – you’ve made this technophobe’s year! I know these events are not the same as in-person events but I’ve been thrilled to see how engaged and interactive pupils have been so THANK YOU very much to all who have come along to events this year!

Today, I got to read a bit of Bad Panda with the students of Neobael. We had a Q&A and I thought I would share some of their fantastic questions, inspired by Bad Panda, with you in this post:

Neobael Q: What is your favourite animal?

Me: I love dogs. They are so happy and loyal and anyone who knows me knows the love of my life is my dog, Archie.

Neobael Q: Have you ever met a bad panda?

Me: I haven’t! I was very lucky to spend time volunteering at a panda sanctuary in China and all the pandas I met were adorable and well behaved. (Lin, the star of Bad Panda, would hate me saying that!)

Neobael Q: Do pandas really do whooper carpark-sized poos?

Me: Here’s a fun fact: pandas do up to 40 poos a day! It’s true. Thankfully they don’t do them all in one go so you never see a carpark-sized poo but they do poo a lot.

Happy Diwali!

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It’s Diwali! Thank you so much to everyone who joined Scholastic School Live and took part in the ‘All About Diwali’ event.

I had such a great time sharing Diwali stories and activities with you and I know my dog, Archie, did too!

Please do get in touch and share your Diwali makes and bakes with me. I’d love to see how you celebrated.

Talking about Series Fiction

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Today, Maisie Chan, Tọlá Okogwu and I were invited to talk about our experience writing Series Fiction.

Jasmine Richards hosted the panel and it was so great to share our mutual love for writing for younger readers and find out what got us writing for the age group.

Tọlá shared her feelings of the pressure to be ‘perfect’ as a person of colour in an industry where people of colour are a minority. I talked about ‘casual inclusivity’ and how it is important that characters of colour are seen doing everyday things and not just in issue-based books. And Maisie shared her experiences of making sure her books had diverse characters because it’s so important that all children see themselves in stories.

We all agreed that this age group needed quality fiction – readers are just starting to build their reading muscles so series fiction deserves as much love and attention as picturebooks and middle grade books if we want to build readers for life.

Bad Panda at Wokingham Children’s Book Festival

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I was flying solo without my partner-in-books, Sheena Dempsey, at Wokingham Children’s Book Festival today.

Despite a couple of Powerpoint hitches, I had a fantastic time, ably assisted by Gemma and Sally from Wokingham Town Council. I talked about the inspiration behind Bad Panda and shared some tricks and tips for planning stories. We heard about pandas in orchards, pandas playing football, pandas travelling to Brazil and even pandas who time-travel!

Thank you so much to everyone who came along and got involved – I can’t wait to hear all your panda stories.

Bad Panda at the International School of Paris

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Today, I dropped in an author Zoom to see Grade 2 at the International School of Paris in France.

We spoke about Bad Panda and I gave them my top tips on planning a story using objects in the classroom. The pupils had heaps of questions for me and I told them all about where ideas come from and how to make a book.

Thank you so much to the brilliant staff and pupils at ISP for such a bearilliant event.

University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence

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I’m thrilled to announce that I will be the University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence 2022. I’m so honoured (and a little bit daunted) to follow in the footsteps of previous fellows – all of whom are my writing heroes.

I’ll be blogging about my experience so stay tuned next year to hear what I get up to.