Authors & Illustrators

Little Tiger Picture Book Showcase 2019

IMG_9787.JPG

Yesterday, I headed off to a hot and humid London for the Little Tiger Picture Book Showcase. Held at the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford, it was a very tiger-themed affair as their current immersive exhibition is ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea.’

IMG_9838.JPG

The afternoon started with the wonderful Tracey Corderoy sharing her new book, ‘Sneaky Beak’, illustrated by Tony Neal. Always a joy to hear, Tracey was full of energy and enthusiasm, interacting brilliantly with her audience. The story is an absolute joy, reminding us that all we really need is a good friend!

IMG_9847.JPG

After reading, Tracey showed everyone how to make rockets like the one Bear zooms off in in the story! I love Tracey’s events as she is always so well prepared and everyone always comes away with something that they have made. Parents and children quickly put together their rockets from the wonderful array of materials and soon children and rockets were zooming round the room!

IMG_9795.JPG
IMG_9798.JPG

Next, Barry Timms shared his book, ‘Where Happiness Lives’, illustrated by Greg Abbott. Full of beautiful pictures with cut away sections and flaps to lift, this story is about Little Brown Mouse and how he learned to value what he had. It’s so lovely!

IMG_9848.JPG
IMG_9806.JPG

Next was poet, James Carter who introduced music and madness to the proceedings as he took us on a journey to the stars with his poem, ‘Once Upon a Star’. He quickly had us all joining in and enjoying ourselves.

IMG_9849.JPG

All too soon, the party was over, but we still had a treat in store! Having met up with Jane from the FCBG, we went down to the basement to explore ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ exhibition. We followed the tiger paw prints…

IMG_9781.JPG

…and entered the wonderful world of Judith Kerr! So many little (and not so little) people were enjoying themselves exploring everything! Jane wanted to go down the slide, but decided to have a nice cuppa with the Tiger instead!

IMG_9835.JPG

As well as the Tiger, we enjoyed seeing Mog…

IMG_9827.JPG

…whilst lots of little ones enjoyed driving the bus!

IMG_9824.JPG

It was a wonderful day! Thank you to the Discover Centre for allowing us to explore and to Little Tiger for such a lovely gathering!

Tea, biscuits and long lists!

IMG_9772.JPG

Last night, we had our final long list meeting! Favourite books were championed, tea was consumed and many, many biscuits were eaten!

IMG_9774.JPG

Over the past few months, JAB members have been searching bookshops, using their local libraries and visiting festivals to collect wonderful books that we think could be part of the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards 2019. We were delighted by the response from publishers this year and many boxes and parcels have arrived, full of goodies for us to savour. Hard as it has been, we have been working our way through these and suggestions from members until- hundreds of books later- we are ready to share this year’s long list for each category- on Saturday!

IMG_9777.JPG

Starting with poetry, we worked our way through each of our six categories with different members championing their favourite reads. The range and quality on offer was amazing and we enjoyed sharing ideas for how books could be used in classrooms, for guided reading, book events or library sessions.

IMG_9773.JPG

Tea top-ups and new packets of biscuits were needed as the evening wore on and the discussions became increasingly heated. Reluctantly, some books were put to one side- some occasionally sneaked back into the discussion pile when no one was looking- until at last we had six long lists of wonderful books- twenty picture books, twelve poetry, twelve information, twelve quality fiction, twelve read aloud and twelve moving on. Can’t wait to share them…

Will Mabbitt

Will Mabbitt books.jpg

Today and yesterday, four of our schools were lucky enough to have visits from Will Mabbitt. At my school, he visited this morning and children have been stopping me all afternoon, telling me how funny he was and how much they love his books. Teachers were also captivated by him, calling him ‘inspirational’, ‘amazing’ and ‘fantastic’. But we were not the only school that was so impressed…

IMG_0611.jpg

This account is from another of our schools who also enjoyed his visit.

Our school positively rocked with excitement this afternoon as we welcomed the marvellous, Will Mabbitt, to talk to our children.

Will was both very funny and extremely inspirational - holding the children in the palm of his hand as he told our audience about where he gets his ideas for his books and how he develops them into stories. The idea of basing your characters on your friends saw some of our collective smaller people turn and look at their classmates - already assessing their potential in stories of the future.

Inscription Will Mabbitt .jpg

Will’s message that it is ‘OK to make mistakes’ was particularly encouraging and the revelation that he had made over 5000 when writing his first book, ‘The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones’, was greeted with gasps and a few astonished ‘No Ways!’. In a world where the pressure to be immediately perfect is so intense, an established, successful author honestly admitting his struggles with spelling and telling his young audience not to worry about correcting and improving was a rocket to their self esteem.

The session was jam packed with audience interaction- our pupils loved playing the observation game where they had to spot different things in a picture of a rather cluttered writing desk and decide from the objects what the owner may be like. The revelation that  it belonged to Will caused much amusement and when he awarded them a ‘gazillion’ points for their beady eyes the resulting celebration nearly took the roof off!

The session ended with Will reading from his hilarious picture book ‘I Can Only Draw Worms’ - which was hugely enjoyed by everyone -especially the staff!

Lots of our pupils bought copies of Will's books  from the pop up bookshop provided by ‘Books on the Hill’. Both 'Embassy of the Dead' and 'Embassy of the Dead:Hangman's Crossing'( Books 1 and 2 in Will’s new series) were on offer - and every child got their book signed by Will in our library.

permissions ok funny face.JPG

Will took time to talk to every child, asking them a question or writing something unique to them in their book - he made every child he met feel special and those books will be treasured forever. 

It has been an absolute joy hearing all the positive comments from our children about the  author visit! Lots of them couldn’t wait to start reading their new books; others could wait to start writing theirs! Those super fast readers  who had already read a couple of chapters before home time were heard saying ‘It’s proper creepy’ and ‘This might be the best book I’ve ever read!’

Will Mabbit has set off a real book buzz in our school - long may it continue!

Embassy of the Dead: Hangman’s Crossing Will Mabbitt, illustrated by Chris Mould

Orion Children’s ISBN: 978-1510104570

Thank you so much to Will for coming and inspiring so many children! Thank you also to Dom for bringing him and to Books on the Hill for the book sales.

You can read about our last visit from Will here.