I've been having a nail biting, train zooming, speed-writing, brain tingling time recently. Deadlines have loomed and thankfully been achieved. Awards received (thank you Stockton-on-Tees and Shrewsbury) and talks and presentations for children and adults given.
My first Hay Festival talk went well (even though my dogs who'd been given special dispensation to come along too decided to lie in muddy puddles just before and had to be washed off with bought bottled water from the Co-op.) They're appearing in Edinburgh next.
I got final edits done and lots of emails from my website replied to whilst on the train to Roehampton University to talk to final year teaching students for Reading Zone and more done on the train up to Manchester to talk to teachers and student teachers with Andy Seed, Kate Pankhurst and Jon Mayhew about Reading to Inspire. We were invited by the lovely Nikki Gamble from Just Imagine. Andy told everyone how when he was a teacher the books he pitched to the children were the ones that were most read and it reinforced how important it is that adults show how much they enjoy reading and talk about books they love to inspire children. Our enthusiasm rubs off.
I love days when I can cuddle up with a good book and be transported into another world. It's just the best. I especially used to like Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle as a comfort book.
But my favourite book of all time is Charlotte’s Web. It was read and re-read more than once when I had whooping cough as a child and had a whole term off school. Every week my mum would bring me back all the books she could from the library and I went from a non-reader at the start of my illness to a child with the reading bug by the end.
Thumbs up to the brand new reading group for 8-12's @suttonlibrary that launched on Saturday 7th June. Hope you all keep on having a brilliant time.
This week I received a letter from a school I visited during my last book tour:
'Every time we go into one of our classrooms, we see someone reading one of the books that they bought when you visited- Even one of our teachers, who isn't an animal-person, read your book overnight and loved it.
When we knew we were going to write to you we wondered what our friends thought of your books -so we asked them! Ben in year 6 said they took me into another dimension in my learning about World War 2 and I found it hard to escape. Year 3 came up with words like 'awesome', 'epic' and 'can't wait 'til the next one.' And finally, Jessica in year 5 actually made up a new word - 'AMAZEYBULLS!'
Nothing beats letters and emails from happy readers.
I've been taking Traffy in to listen to children read at our local school. She loves it and the children love it and I'm very pleased to say that the children who've been seeing her each week have shown significant improvement in their reading.
I'll be at the Higgins Museum for the first Bedford Bookfest on Saturday 5th July at 11am talking about 'A Soldier's Friend'. Sadly Traffy and Bella won't be allowed because of the risk of dog fur on the exhibits (probably just as well!) :)