Sheena Dempsey

NSTBA Past Winners- Read Aloud Category

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Reading aloud is one of the most pleasurable and important parts of a teacher’s job. This category is great fun to investigate and find candidates for- and we have read some treasures over the years! All of those short listed ( and most long listed!) are now tried and tested in our classrooms and have been huge successes. Such a wonderful selection to pick from.


In 2015, the wonderful ‘Hercufleas’ won. This is a great story, full of fun and houmour- and an adorable flea! On WBD this year, in our Sharing Stories assembly, Torie chose Chapter One to read to KS2 and it was as popular as ever! You can read our review here.


Sam attended the awards ceremony and has been a firm favourite with the group ever since, twice making the trip to visit schools in our group and speaking to JAB.

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‘Dave Pigeon’ won in 2016. Sheena, Swapna and her family came to the ceremony and were just wonderful. Warm and friendly, they added to the lovely atmosphere of the occasion. Dave proved to be a great hit with our children and each new book is eagerly anticipated. Light-hearted and quick to read these books have been particularly popular with Y3/4 children. You can read our review here.

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Andrew Beasley won in 2017 with ‘SCREAM’, a delightfully spooky read with really strong characters. Andrew was lovely when he attended the ceremony and was delighted to receive the award. The second book of this series, ‘Carnival of Monsters’ has also been very popular.

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You can read our review of ‘The Mummy’s Revenge’ here.

Last year, this category was won by the lovely Laura James and Emily Fox, both of whom came to the awards. Fabio is great fun and we are looking forward to sharing book two with children as soon as possible. Great fun, this highly illustrated, colourful story really offers something a little different. You can read our review here.


So many wonderful books to share, making the daily read aloud session something really special for everyone. Because these are chosen to be read aloud to a class, not all of them have book event ideas or teaching suggestions to go with them, but some do.


This year’s contenders are looking just as exciting- only thirteen days until submissions close now!

Quality Fiction next!

Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!)


Our pigeontastic pals are back again! In this adventure, Dave and Skipper brush feathers with royalty as Dave’s latest catbrained idea leads them to the Human Palace to enjoy all the leftover treats from the royal party held the day before. Meeting Prince Raju, the Royal Pigeon, opens a whole new packet of biscuits as the similarity between him and Dave leads to them swapping places for a day. But life in the Royal Lofts is not all it’s cracked up to be…


Brilliantly illustrated throughout by Sheena Dempsey, ‘Royal Coo!’ is a delightfully funny read which allows readers to revisit their favourite pigeons, Dave and Skipper. The story is a pigeon take on The Prince and the Pauper, reminding us all that the grass is not always greener! Dave’s wonderfully naive and biscuit centred view of the world makes him so endearing. In contrast, Princess Niyanta and Palomi add a touch of winged wickedness, but a few wise words from Skipper leads to a satisfying conclusion for all!

Clever chapter headings offer plays on words and there is a additional information about the real Royal pigeons- and the Tower ravens. There is also a guide to how to do the pigeon floss!


This might just be my new favourite book! Whilst reading last night, I was completely amazed to find that I (in pigeon form!) make an appearance in the story. My class love Dave Pigeon books and so I treated them to a reading of that section and they burst into spontaneous applause! It really made my day! That aside, this is such a fun story with an appeal across age groups which makes it a real winner!

A brilliant addition to the series, Royal Coo is out in March.

Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!) Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

Faber and Faber ISBN: 978- 0571336982

You can read our review of Dave Pigeon, the 2016 NSTBA 2016 Read Aloud category, here.

You can read our review of Dave Pigeon (Racer!) here.

Chipping Norton Literary Festival: Dave Pigeon


At Chipping Norton Literacy Festival, I was delighted to catch up with JAB favourites, Swapna Haddow and Sheena Dempsey aka Team Dave Pigeon! These lovely ladies led a brilliant, fun-filled session based around their third book, 'Dave Pigeon (Racer!). 


They started with a reading from the book, introducing us to the new baddie Dave is up against. This led to Swapna talking about how she creates her villains- making them bad, but giving them something silly to wear so that they don't 'haunt' her! She then sends her ideas to Sheena who has to decide how to draw them. 


The whole audience then got involved in creating a new baddie. The 'who shouts loudest wins' system of voting was used to decide which ideas would be chosen to build our creation and a lot of noise and laughter followed. Inspired by our team effort, everyone then created their own whilst Sheena and Swapna mingled, giving advice and encouragement. 


Next, Swapna guided us through creating a story, complete with actors from the audience whilst Sheena drew the pictures to go with it. The ideas got wilder and wilder as Dave adventured through the outback, fighting off crocodiles and all sorts of dangers before reaching safety. 

The session ended with lots of enthusiastic children asking lots of interesting questions. The Dave Pigeon books are great fun - and this session reflected that perfectly.

You can read our review of Dave Pigeon (Racer!) here    and our review of Dave Pigeon here.

We need to review Dave Pigeon (Nuggets!) soon.