Monday, 21 October 2013

Have Dog Will Travel - Megan Rix

Traffy started coming into one of our local primary school to listen to children read with me back at the end of April and I have been surprised at how much she loves it (pulls me into the school) and the children love her and how successful it's been. Now when anyone asks me if I think they should do it I give a resounding yes. As she walks around the school everyone greets her and seems pleased to see her and judging by her wagging tail she's just as pleased to see them.

At the end of summer term when the Year 4 children she'd got to know left to move on to their next school Traffy was given a beautiful card with thank you note bones attached to it and a packet of treats - most of which she ate there and then.

I really look forward to our one hour sessions (I wouldn't want Traffy to do longer as all the attention is tiring for her) and love listening to the children read. There are usually lots of dog books and funny books to listen to. I'm always excited to see what story the children have chosen as I must say I love being read to. Plus, because we see the same 8 children for the year I get to see their reading as it develops and they grow more confident. One or two of the children now even give their characters different voices when they read the story and Harry very kindly asked for the interesting 'animals who carry things' book over and over from the library so I could hear it right to the end. I've learnt lots and I think it's helped my writing too as I like to imagine one of the children picking up a book and reading it. Also it's been interesting to learn things that I'd have thought children would know but they don't always. One of them was really confused about the word chrysanthemum and had no idea what on earth it could be.

A few weeks ago Traffy arrived quite stressed at the school as I'd been away and only come back that morning (totally my fault and I should have thought it through) as one little girl was reading Traffy proceeded to be sick next to her (horrors!) luckily the lovely staff member with us cleaned it up and we didn't make a thing of it and carried on. The next week when we got there one of the boys had made Traffy a get well soon card.

Traffy also came into 2 local schools during my book tour and went out on stage at  the Bexhill Pavilion when I collected my East Sussex Children's Book of the Year runner up prize. I love taking her with me into schools when I visit as part of my talk is about her and her sister Bella as puppies and how my work with assistance dogs led me to want to write about dogs and the jobs they did during World War 2.

Traffy as a puppy learning to open a washing machine

Emma taking out the washing

One boy asked if I was writing a children's book about my dogs and I said I'd love to and then another child pointed out they were already in all my books and proceeded to read from the front:

'Megan Rix lives with her husband by a river in England. When she's not writing she can be found walking her two golden retrievers, Traffy and Bella, who are often in the river.'

Recently I've worked with Travelling Books who organised 2 school visits to schools that were close by and that Traffy could come to too. One of the schools she came to and the other she didn't in the end because some of the children had allergies. Truth be told the one where she didn't come ran a little smoother but I don't know that smoothness should be the aim.  I love this beautiful portrait of her that one  of the children did.

Megan will be speaking at the StoryStock Festival on the 1st November. Traffy will not be there as she will still be celebrating her sister Bella's's birthday by eating chews and going for walks by the river.

1 comment:

Joan Lennon said...

Having kids read to your dog (and you!) is such a lovely idea - well done!