I am a children's author who runs creative workshops for schools, libraries, festivals and community groups.
The primary aim of my events is to excite children about books, reading and writing. Lots of teachers have told me how amazed they are at the enthusiastic way in which even their most reluctant readers and writers have taken to the activities on the day, as well as the standard of work they have achieved.
My visit are:
Fun - children learn more when they are having fun!
Interactive - lots of book-related activities for children to do
Inspiring - I talk about hard work, perseverance and achievement
Stimulating - encouraging children to come up with their own ideas, and value those ideas
Informative - learn what an author does, and how a book is made
Fun - did I already say that?
Generate enthusiasm for books and reading
Stimulate creative thinking
Improve children's creative confidence
Generate new ideas for teachers
These usually include a story followed by a group activity to create a new story line for the characters, and/or individual creative activity. You can see some of the activities here
I also work with community groups to help foster a love of reading. For the past three years, I've worked with families of preschool children and Tameside Library Service to create and publish picture books. Over 500 families have been involved each year.
The project is helping get under fives school-ready, helping parents to gain confidence with sharing books with their children, and each year has also focused on a different social issue in the area. In 2018/19 we looked at improving relations with emergency services, and published a book called Zeke's Emergency. In 2019/20 we focused on tackling hate crime by looking at how to celebrate diversity in our communities. The book we published was called People Like Me.
We are planning a fourth year this autumn, lockdown-permitting.
You can find out more about the 2018/19 project here
TEACHER TRAINING AND CPD
I have also run workshops for student teachers and CPD sessions for class teachers, where I introduce some of the learning techniques I use in my own workshops and help participants explore ways to increase motivation for literacy learning.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR WRITERS
I have run several day courses for new writers. Most recently a masterclass in partnership with Kurious Arts on Everything You Need to Know about Children's Publishing.
find out more here
I have run sessions at many festivals including: Hay on Wye, Wychwood, Cheltenham, AyeWrite, NCBF (Northern Children's Book Festival), The World Book Day Biggest Book Show, Derbyshire Literature Festival, Sheffield Off the Shelf, Pop Up Education Festival, Imagine Kids Story Festival etc.
I was due to perform at Bourneville, Henley, Bradford Science and Cheltenham Festivals this year, though these have sadly been cancelled due to lockdown.
In 2016 I helped organise Tall Tales Story Festival, a tented even in rural derbyshire. Find out more about Tall Tales here
AUTHOR EVENTS ONLINE
In March 2020, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and recognising that families would be coping with school closures, I set up Author Events Online, with fellow author Jonathan Emmett. We started recording readings of our own books and collating links to free book resources for families to access from home.
We quickly brought other authors and illustrators on board and now provide:
A facebook page with over 250 videos from authors and illustrators
Guidance on creating videos including permissions advice and broadcasting tips.