This week, four of our schools have been lucky enough to have visits from Will Mabbitt, talking about his new book, 'Embassy of the Dead'.
When Jake is accidentally given a box he is not supposed to have, he has no idea how much trouble it is going to land him in. The fact it contains a severed finger is worrying enough; the fact that he is now being chased by a reaper who wishes to drag him into the Eternal Void means he needs to start running- and quickly! With the help of some new ghostly friends-Stiffkey and Cora- along the way, Jake will need all his wits about him if he is to correct his mistake and survive to fight another day!
The story romps along at a lively pace, full of fun and adventure with just the right amount of scary stuff thrown in to the mix! Its short chapters make it an achievable read as well as adding to the urgency of the plot. The characters are very well developed and hopefully, this will be the first of a new series.
Will read the opening of the book to the children, before offering his top tips about being a writer. The children loved it as he took their ideas for a story and had some of them acting things out. The way he built the story and valued their ideas was excellent- and very inspiring!
When he asked the children how many mistakes they thought he had made in his first draft, they politely suggested about 20 and then increased their guesses with glee as the numbers got higher and higher. They got noisier and noisier- there were 210 of them!- but quickly settled when he asked as they were so keen to hear what he had to say.
The buzz of enthusiasm was infectious and they were very sad when the session was over. Lots of them bought copies of 'Embassy of the Dead' and it was lovely to see them getting their copies signed and having a chat with Will.
Yesterday, as I was walking over to my classroom, one of the teaching assistants who had been in the talk, stopped me to tell me just how inspiring she had found it and how much she had enjoyed listening to Will. She told me how the children she works with had been full of enthusiasm and very keen to read the book!
Today, I heard one of my reluctant readers read some of 'Embassy of the Dead'- and 'reluctant' couldn't be further from the truth! We normally enjoy reading together, but not a lot of independent reading takes place between sessions. Since buying his copy of the book, he had read nearly 50 pages and was very keen to tell me all about the story! It's like I always say- no such thing as someone who doesn't like reading- it's all about the right book!
Thank you so much to Will for coming, to Dom for bringing him and to Waterstones in Weston for patiently dealing with all my book requests! Each visit was a huge success, inspiring children to read and enjoy books.
Embassy of the Dead Will Mabbitt
Orion Children's Books ISBN: 978-1510104556