I’ll be out on the road in the coming weeks. Please come and join in at one of these events:
Saturday 11th November, 10.30am, Waterstones, Crouch End, London. Come and meet me and illustrator Claire Alexander for a heart-warming morning of riddles, stories and wintry craft activities. All details here .
Monday 4th December, Picture Book Club South West at Foyles, Cabot Circus, Bristol. An evening of conversation about how to write picture book stories, with readings from my latest books and a chance to ask questions.
We’ve had some fun making this trailer for the new picture book, WE HAVE LIFT-OFF!
The Gloucestershire chicken voices are by Emma Williams and (the illustrator herself) Hannah Shaw. The animation is by Adriana Meirelles. The barnyard/space adventure music is by Andre Vac. Have a watch and please pass the link on to anyone you think might be interested in the book…
Last month I travelled to woods in West Sussex with storyteller Inno Sorsy and Year Six children and their teachers from Harbinger Primary School in East London. It was my twelfth Writers’ Journey with the school.
This year we worked on a story from the Middle East called ‘The Faithful Gazelle’. All sorts of special writing was done in response to the story and the countryside around us. This poem, by Manesha, left everybody still when she read it out:
HOW TO MAKE A GAZELLE
First take soft, smooth fur as gentle as the light of mid dawn. Add bones stiff as stone. Then attach 4 metal hooves to make a ‘click, clock, clack’. Sprinkle a spoonful of quietness and a pinch of wild. Finally place 2 sharp, shiny, grey horns.
by Manesha Yasmin
Thanks to Manesha for her beautiful writing, and to everyone else who took part. You helped make it another journey to remember!
I recently led the creative writing side of a two-week-long poetry, story and percussion project at a special school for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties. It is the tenth year in a row that I have been lucky enough to take part in this project.
This has been a very rewarding challenge for me. I have learnt much from working with the sparky, sharp-witted boys and the school’s skilful staff. So many thanks to everyone who has helped it happen over the past ten years. Now I have a young baby and am living abroad I have said it will be the last year I do the project. And I will miss it.
This year I told the younger two classes a fast-moving Russian folktale called The Iron Wolf. Meanwhile the older boys worked on an Indian love story called The Snake Prince. A lot of strong writing was done in response to the stories. Many boys managed to write honestly about difficult subjects and, what’s more, stand up in a performance to read out their poems. So fair play to them and all the parents, carers and relatives who came to the performance on the 4th April.
This was one of the poems that I liked:
PEOPLE BREAKING MY THINGS
People breaking my Lego. People breaking my home. People breaking my toys. People breaking my mum’s car.
People breaking my toy cars. People littering in the street. People hitting me. People making me so angry, I can’t breathe.
But I can count to ten and think about a boat and happy feelings on holiday in Cyprus.