Thursday, 3 May 2012

Hurray for author school visits

Just a quick post tonight, and to be honest the title says it all. The boys' school has been incredibly fortunate to have not just one but three authors visit them in the last few months. First up, the one, the only Michael Rosen- Coo get them! He did 'chocolate cake' and everything. As Bill reminisced just this morning; 'Michael Rosen can almost take off his whole face Mum and that's really clever.' (only almost mind)
Next, the lovely Helen Peters of course (she couldn't very well NOT speak to her own kids' school)(but hurray that all our kids get the benefit). I hear today that 'The Secret Hen House Theatre' is already being reprinted- great news indeed.

This afternoon we had a flying visit from Ciaran Murtagh, the writer of many CBBC shows and author of the 'Dinopants' series and now 'Genie in Training'. It fell to my lot to meet him, offer him tea and set up tables for the book signing to follow so for the first time I actually got to attend the event.

Wow. He was BRILLIANT. In just 45 minutes he managed to get the whole school producing quantities of ideas to write a story about a 'Spooky Sponge' involving extreme tactics to avoid the washing up, a belly ache of epic proportions and the consumption of a toilet . He also levitated a 3rd year on his magic carpet. He made everyone, teachers included, weep with laughter. He generated enough infectious energy to power a light house. Most importantly he made the business of writing and generating stories seem accessible to all and FUN.

In a month where SATS tests are being taken and approved writing rules and formulae must be followed to Achieve Standards, for once even I was happy that space was being made for talk of poo. Addressing the problem of how to get a T Rex into pants  may not be the most intellectually stimulating literature but boy did it make that hall happy. And if you want to get children reading AND writing, getting silly in a school seems a pretty good way of doing it to me.

Thanks Ciaran.
'Genie in Training' by Ciaran Murtagh, pub. Piccadilly isbn 978-1-84812-226-0

Topically there's also a nice piece in the Guardian today about how schools can make the most of author visits. Read it here.


  1. I am ever so slightly jealous of all these visits!!

  2. One of the advantages of living in an arty farty bit of London crammed full of creative types- very lucky- cos they've all been free too! Although having seen Ciaran in action yesterday I can imagine half a day with him or similar would be fantastic use of SPA/school funds.

  3. I am jealous too! We love love love Michael Rosen in this family. I've never heard of the other two authors, sadly, but Dinopants sounds like something my kids would love!

  4. Morning - thanks for the lovely words Polly! Only a year out of date. Terrible. But still thank you so much! And as for those who would like a slightly sweaty redhead to visit their kids school, point them in the direction of my publishers...

    If you want to see what I do then here are some nice links.