Bad Panda is a winner!

Swapna HaddowThe Bad Panda Club

Bad Panda has just won the Telling Tales category of the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2023! I’m over the moon about this and so thankful to all the schools and pupils who voted for Lin and her pals.

Here are the awesome pupils of Cannon Park Primary presenting Bad Panda at the ceremony:

Thank you Coventry SLS for shortlisting the book and getting Bad Panda into the paws of heaps of young readers.

Happy World Book Day Week!

Swapna HaddowPawsome News, Roosting With Dave

It’s World Book Day this week! I’m so proud to see Dave Pigeon (Bookshop Mayhem!) out in the world alongside the other amazing World Book Day books, helping kids discover reading for pleasure. And this year is even more special because children were involved in the book selection for the very first time.

Reading for pleasure can be life changing, which is why World Book Day UK has created a list top tips to help encourage regular reading. More info and resources available on their website.

Reading for pleasure is also the biggest indicator of a child’s future success. 500,000 UK children don’t have a book of their own. This increases to 1 in 10 for children receiving Free School Meals, which makes what they do at World Book Day so crucial.

This week, I’ve been lucky enough to go on a virtual tour with my books to see as many young readers as possible.

Sheena and I started off our week with The Great World Book Day Draw-Along with the National Literacy Trust. Thank you so much to everyone who joined in. At last count there were 100000 pupils and teachers who had drawn their very own Dave Pigeons. You can still watch on demand here until 24th March 2023. And do share your drawings and I will add them to my birdrilliant gallery.

I then met with Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 from Alexandra Primary School and we created heaps of new story ideas for Dave Pigeon.

We heard about poisonous gases in water bottles, evil dictator penguins, space adventures and pen and pencil case wars. I had a blast hearing so many fantastic story plans.

EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 helped me draw lots of grizzly bears as we discussed living with a grizzly bear like Dad from My Dad is a Grizzly Bear. They all did a fantastic job and I saw lots of brilliant young illustrators in the making.

Cliftonville Primary also joined in the Grizzly Bear fun, drawing a sleuth of grizzlies who looked ready for a World Book Day party.

I rounded off my week with a pigeontastic event with Settle Stories. Speaking to lots of classes, we created a bounty of new adventures for Dave Pigeon, involving Lego ladders, obsidian and diamonds, missing books and time-travelling pigeons. Thank you so much to everyone who joined in – I hope you carry on writing your Dave Pigeon adventures because I would love to read them.

Thank you also to First News who put together this brilliant feature on World Book Day.

Happy World Book Day everyone! I hope you spent the day escaping into a book. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who has picked up a copy of Dave Pigeon (Bookshop Mayhem!) – it has been a dream come true to see Dave Pigeon roosting in the Top 3 of the bestseller book charts.

2023 is the Year of Dave Pigeon

Swapna HaddowRoosting With Dave

Welcome back, Readers! 2023 is going to be an exciting one because this year is all about the return of best pals Dave Pigeon and Skipper.

In February, Dave and Skipper debut in Spain, Latin America and the USA with Spanish and Catalan editions, published by Flamboyant.

February also marks the start of World Book Day celebrations and this year Dave and Skipper have their very own World Book Day book.

Look out for vouchers in your schools, newspapers and magazines to exchange for your very own copy of the book from the end of February and throughout March. The book has been recommended by Twinkl for the ‘Reading for kids: Bringing your books to life‘ blog.

And that’s not all! Dave and Skipper have their very next book, Dave Pigeon (Kittens!) coming out in July. In this brand new adventure, the pigeons are minding their own business in their garden shed when they see Mean Cat behaving very strangely – she’s multiplying…

That’s right, Readers – Mean Cat is having babies! The arrival of some very cute kittens is disastrous news for pigeons everywhere! But when the kittens come under threat, it’s up to Dave and Skipper to find their inner cat and save them.

Keep your eyes peeled for all the Dave Pigeon books coming this year and send me heaps of pictures if you spot a Dave Pigeon book roosting on a bookshelf in your local bookshop, library or school.

Ignition Children’s Literature Festival: Day 2

Swapna HaddowHalfway Round the World with the Haddows, Pawsome News

We had Grizzly Bear roars and Lioness hugs aplenty today at my Dunedin City Library ‘Meet the Author’ event.

We designed a jazzy pair of togs together that would make sure our Grizzly Bear was the trendiest in the woods.

The shorts now take pride of place on my office wall.

Thank you so much to everyone who came along and joined in and to the staff at Dunedin Library, with an extra special thanks to Jackie and Ali, who made me feel so at home at the library.

Ignition Children’s Literature Festival: Day 1

Swapna HaddowHalfway Round the World with the Haddows

Thank you to everyone who came along to join Barbara Else, Kitty Brown and I for our ‘Pathways to Publication’ panel today. It was a hugely enlightening conversation about our publication journeys which were very different but started in the same vein of trying to fill a gap in the market.

L-R: Kitty Brown, Swapna Haddow, Barbara Else

Kitty’s journey began with creating Te Reo Māori board books for babies. With a complete gap in the market for these books, she teamed up with cousin Kirsten Parkinson, a fine artist, to create the beautiful Reo Pepi books and would go on later to team up with Allen & Unwin on the series.

I’m not sure I would have had the same perseverance and I’m glad in many ways that entering the Greenhouse Funny Prize was my way in to publishing. I’m not sure I would have carried on submitting if the competition hadn’t come up when it had but Kitty’s story taught me to definitely have more faith in my writing abilities.

The panel goes to show just how many different routes there are into publishing.

L-R: Ella West, Swapna Haddow, Kitty Brown, Emma Wood, Gillian Torckler

In the afternoon, I joined Ella West, Emma Wood, Gillian Torckler and Kitty again as we talked about why we write for kids and the importance of literacy. We all shared the same values of wanting to create high quality books for kids because kids deserve great literature. We also agreed that access to books was essential for making sure kids became readers, including protecting school libraries and librarians and public libraries from budget cuts, ensuring kids had books at home to read and adults in their lives modelling good reading habits.

Bad Panda: Most Likely to ‘Make us Giggle’

Swapna HaddowThe Bad Panda Club

To celebrate National Reading Group Day 2022, Team Chatterbooks have chosen the books that make it into this year’s yearbook and I’m chuffed to bits to see Bad Panda was chosen as the book most likely to ‘make us giggle’.

Have a look at all the yearbook celebrations here. Thank you, Chatterbooks!

And Bad Panda has been selected as part of BookTrust’s Great Books Guide for 2022 too! Thank you, BookTrust. You can have a look at the fantastic guide here.

SuperGrans Storytime

Swapna HaddowPawsome News

It’s been an awesome three days of storytime with Team SuperGrans and fellow author Emma Wood at kindergartens across Dunedin.

We visited six kindergartens in total where Emma and I shared our picturebooks with the children. The brilliant team of grans then took over in the storytime corner and Emma and I created lots of new looks for a Grizzly Bear dad and a potato called Doug in colouring-in bonanza.

I had an absolute blast with all the wonderful mini readers we met this week. I loved all their recommendations for fun things to do in Dunedin, including finding the best ice cream in ‘Albie’s Mum’s Freezer’ and all the fantastic stories they had to tell us about their favourite pairs of togs.

Thank you so much to SuperGrans Teresa, Helen, Shona, Diane, Anne, Anita and Rosie who joined in this week and HUGE thanks to the brilliant Debbie and Sandy who set up the SuperGrans events.