NCBC Conference in Norwich 26.11.15

This is the amazing conference that Marilyn Brocklehurst (who runs her famous Norfolk Children’s Book Centre) organises. So many teachers, book sellers, librarians, project-leaders, academics and writers in one place! So I got to meet the FANTASTIC writer and illustrator, Nick Butterworth and hear him talk and share slides of his wonderful books and artwork.

The highlight for me was that the Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell was there and he talked about his books and shared his drawings. A very funny and interesting presentation.

THEN when I got onstage to perform some poems, without any warning, Chris Riddell Children’s Laureate jumped up on stage and began to illustrate my poems AS I READ THEM !!!!!!!  I didn’t even realise he was there for a moment and then I turned around and there is Chris Riddell drawing away as I was performing. FANTASTIC
A-Mazing!  Totally amazing of him, and what an honour for me. I have four of his fantastic drawings all to do with my poems and I am going to put a photo of me holding one up on this blog.

It is Chris Riddell’s drawing to go with my poem There’s An Alien Down The Loo and when I work out how to do it I shall put it on this blog!

Thank you Marilyn for inviting me and thank you Chris, amazing.

catching up!

It has been too long since I last blogged on my website, so my apologies to the following lovely schools and librarians and other agencies for not immediately writing about the great time I had.

This year I visited;

Church Lane Primary School Sleaford

Meadowside Primary School Warrington

Rowena Infant School Conisborough Doncaster

Schools in Bolton for Bolton Libraries many times

SDSA Leicester Author’s Week

Eact Pathways Primary sheffield

Barnburgh Primary Doncaster

Sheffield Town Hall or the Escal event

Retford Library

Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC Primary Bentley Doncaster

Rainbow Forge Primary Sheffield

L’Ecole Internationale St.Germaine-en-Laye Paris, which was a FANTASTIC experience, thanks to you all!!!!!!!!

Springfield Junior School Swadlincote

Sheffield High School for Girls

Yet more schools in Bolton

The Valley Primary School Bolton

SDSA event at Leicester Racecourse with hundreds of people including the fabulous Two Steves

Carlton Primary Academy Barnsley……great hobnobs

Westways Primary School Sheffield

Scraptoft Primary School Leicester

St.Barnabas Primary School Leicester

Great Gidding C of E Primary School

St. Margarets C of E Primary Warrington

St.Wilfrids RC Primary School Sheffiield

YET MORE BOLTON SCHOOLS on National Poetry Day;

Barnburgh Primary School Doncaster

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

St.Peter’s C of E Primary School Leeds, 13.02.15

Some people think Friday the 13th is a very unlucky day. Well it wasn’t for me! It was the day I discovered the AMAZING St.Peter’s C of E Primary School in Burmantofts in Leeds.

Because I am always worrying about traffic jams (I need to write a poem called Scared Of Being Stuck In Traffic. Then I need to write a poem called Traffic Jams Taste Of Raspberries Or Maybe Apricots) I decided to leave home very early to drive to Leeds because it is a busy city. So, I got to St.Peter’s Very Early Indeed. Ooops.

A lovely welcome, a lovely cup of tea and then Mrs. Holliday the wonderful head teacher, told me that today was a WHOLE DAY thinking about poetry! WOW!

I performed my poems and everybody laughed a lot and joined in, Mr.Moore creaked down the corridor and there was a Pirate Crew as well. Yo ho ho! Then I worked with a fantastic Y6 class and we made `an excellent poem about the pirate who had a shop nearby. Then I met Y2 who were just great and enjoyed joining in with some more poems. They made a really scary poem about a monster who lived in a haunted house in the forest.

The afternoon was amazing. The whole school went into the hall with loads of family members too, and the final was held of the St.John’s Recital Competition.In the weeks leading up to the event, lots and lots of pupils had learnt poems by heart and recited them. Then the teachers had chosen (what a difficult job!) some finalists and now they were saying their poems in front of a packed school hall! The final was judged by the President of Headingly Rotary, Mr.Walbank and some other important people like the Chair of Governors, Victoria Dalby. All the finalists (from Reception up to Y6) stood on the stage in turn and said their poems. They were brilliant at it too! In between some of the poems, all the children in the school sang and WOWZERS!  What singing! Mr.Robertson the Y6 teacher was conducting and really, the choral harmonies and quality of singing was brilliant. I read some poems, the judges picked a KS1 / F winner and a KS2 winner and all the finalists were given a book.

A very very special day. What a fantastic and buzzing school! Thank you for a day to remember.

January 2015

When I drove over to Oxford Grove Primary School in Bolton, I had a dreadful journey. There were roadworks and there had been an accident and I found myself in the BIGGEST traffic jam in the whole history of big traffic jams EVER! So, I felt awful when I arrived because it is really a BAD THING to be late.

All the staff and children of this wonderful school were LOVELY and made me a cup of tea and didn’t mind me being a bit late. I started with a slightly shorter poetry show and then worked with classes of children through the day. It was great and everybody joined in, had fun and worked really hard at making poems. So thank you Oxford Road Primary for being so great and not being cross with me.

It was really snowy as well when I got there so when I set off for St.John with St.Michael C of E Primary, Shawforth the following week I realised I needed to set off even earlier because of my recent problems . This time there were no traffic jams or icy problems and I arrived in good time. PHEW! It was really dark and I couldn’t see the school to start with. Then I did but I couldn’t figure out where the road went once you got to the farm!! Anyway, I made it ok and it was a great day and I felt really welcomed there. Lots of lovely cups of tea, excellent young poets, brilliant grown-ups. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!



Some schools I visited recently.

Back in September I was asked to visit Langold Dyscarr Community Primary School in Worksop and had a great day there. We all made really great poems and enjoyed performing them LOUDLY!

In October I was invited to Oughtibridge Primary School in Sheffield. I had visited before so  I knew it would be a great day and of course it was! I met so many splendid pupils and so many caring and fab-to-be-with grown ups. It was, as it always is, just a great day. We all made some excellent poems and had a very good LAUGH! Thank you Oughtibridge Primary!!!!!

Also in October, The Poetry Society arranged for me to spend a poetry day Christ Church St.Peter’s CE Primary in Mountsorrel in Leicestershire. Around the same time I visited Watercliffe Meadow Primary School in Sheffield. They were both very enjoyable, busy, bustling ays full of laughter, rhymes, monsters and aliens. Pirates too. Lots of pirates.

I mean the poems not the children.

I think I mean that!

In November I made a return visit to the excellent New Brunswick Community Primary School in Sheffield. The idea was to write comedy poetry and I think we did!!!! It was as enjoyable and as fun as before, loads of great kids and  great grown ups. Another poetry packed day with loud choruses and Mr.Moore creaking down every corridor.

When I visited St.Peter’s Junior School in Ruddington, Notts, it was with a special purpose. Of course I was asked to perform my poems to the school and make everyone laugh and shout out poetry with me and I did that. Great kids! Great fun. BUT it was on 11.11.14, Remembrance Day, a very special and important day indeed. We held the two minutes silence at the stroke of 11 and I worked with several classes writing our own Remembrance poems. I had written a poem about my grandad, Lance Corporal Ben Harmer which I had ended my opening performance with, and I read it again several times that day. He was a soldier in WW1 and survived, came home, had a family with his wife Bess who eventually was one of my grandmas. Actually my Welsh grandad, Dadda Dai, was a soldier in that war too, enlisting under age like so many others did.  By then though,  it was 1918 and he didn’t have to do any fighting because the war stopped.

Anyway it was a very moving day and the children wrote some superb poems.

Happy 2014!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been visiting several schools in Nottingham with my poetry pal Paul Cookson recently. Once the visits are completed I will post more blog stuff. Just to say that they have been really great visits and meeting the pupils and the teachers and working together with them and Paul has been really good. Thanks to the marvellous Charlotte Malik for setting it all up.


More soon.