Pom Pom

The Wonderful Sophy Henn!

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Today, we were SO lucky! Sophy Henn came to spend the day in our school- and everyone just loved her! Sophy’s book, ‘Almost Anything’, won the 2018 North Somerset Teacher’s Book Awards Picture Book Category and we are all huge fans of her books!

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Sophy started by talking to our year 6 children- all 90 of them- who really enjoyed listening to her advice about writing, drawing and…well, almost anything! When she taught them how to draw Bad Nana, the results were incredible- even the adults had a go! The children were so proud of themselves and asked so many brilliant questions.

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After lunch, Sophy spoke to the Year 1 and 2 children. She introduced them to her ‘Lifesize’ book and all its fascinating facts. Who knew a giant squid was so big?!

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Sophy also showed the children how her character Pom Pom started life as a comic strip and taught them to draw ‘Where Bear’. So many children wanted books signed- it was a delight to see so many happy, excited readers, clutching their new books.

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Next, the Year 3,4 and 5 children had their turn. They also learned how to draw Bad Nana and listened to Sophy reading to them from her book. The time flew by and all too soon it was the end of the day. Sophy signed yet more books before her final session of the day when Reception children were joined by their parents for a lovely story session. So many came - it was wonderful !

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We had the most amazing day and cannot thank Sophy enough for joining us and inspiring our children to read, draw and to be the best they can be. There have been so many lovely comments from staff, parents and children. We hope she is able to come back one day soon!

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We would also like to thank Alistair from Books on the Hill for coming to sell books for us.

Hay Festival: Sophy Henn

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Back at Hay today for a full programme of events and the first was ...Sophy Henn. Sophy's events are always a complete joy because the way she interacts with children is brilliant. 

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Full of energy and enthusiasm, Sophy started by telling us about when she was little and about all the sketch books that she keeps. She showed us how she gathers ideas in them, emphasising that they need not be neat, but can hold all sorts of gems that might spark an idea later on.

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As an example of this, she showed us a picture of a bear she had painted which she said wasn't very good (it was!). This image led to the idea for her first picture book, 'Where Bear?'. Her next book, 'Pom Pom Gets the Grumps' was inspired by someone she knows very well having one of those moments when they get very angry. Sophy changed the character from a child to a panda and the wonderful Pom Pom was born. 

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Sophy then taught us all to draw her new character, George. Like us all at times, George lacks the confidence to do things and won't try for fear of failing. This lovely story shows the importance of trying new things and it was so inspirational to hear her convey this message to everybody in the room. 

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The drawings of George were amazing. Sophy broke him down into easy to follow steps which the children loved. The little girl next to me (aged 5) drew a fantastic picture which she (and her mum) were very proud of!

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Next, we drew Bear. Once again, Sophy's guidance made the process so achievable and we all enjoyed the 'professional scribbling' that gave Bear her fur. Sophy mingled with the audience, offering praise and encouragement wherever she went- really helping the children believe that they could achieve 'almost anything'! 

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Bunny ears next! Sophy's enthusiasm and energy are boundless as she kept all the children (and adults) happily occupied. If the session had been two hours, she would have had plenty for us all to do; However, it had to come to a close, but not before she had given us all George and Bear's Guide to doing Almost Anything five top tips! 

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In the signing queue afterwards, it was a pleasure to overhear some of the conversations about just how good the event had been and how much the children had enjoyed themselves. It's always a delight to attend one of Sophy's events- and I'm most definitely not the only one who thinks so!

You can read our review of 'Where Bear?' here , 'Pom Pom Gets the Grumps'  here    'Pass It On' here    and 'Almost Anything' here.   

'Almost Anything' is one of our 2018 long listed Picture Books.