school visits

Sarah Lean- School Visits


Last week, four of our member schools were lucky enough to have a visit from Sarah Lean. Sarah's new book, 'The Sand Dog' is a lovely story, beautifully written.

Set in the Mediterranean, Azi is struggling to cope with the disappearance of his grandfather. He is living with his uncle, who runs a busy tourist restaurant on the beach and Azi helps out as much as he can, but he is not really interested. His heart lies with finding his grandfather and the beauty of the sea and the island he lives on. Azi takes the appearance of nesting sea turtles and a stray dog to be two signs that his grandfather will return and he starts looking for the third, final sign. But, as Azi finds out more about his grandfather's leaving, so he uncovers more and more secrets about his own past.


Azi is a wonderful character- kind and considerate, steadfastly loyal to his grandfather. The relationship he develops with the dog, Sandy, and the young tourist, Beth, are lovely and help him to come to understand what it means to belong and the importance of family. 

The story is rich in detailed description and carefully observed characters, making it a compelling read. Sarah also explores some difficult topics - addiction, family relationships- with great empathy and tact, making this a wonderful story.


The schools that Sarah visited were all delighted by the sessions she held with their children. One head teacher said, "We had a brilliant morning with Sarah. She was very interesting and gave us some good ideas and writing tips. She even stayed on to work with a group after her presentation - a lovely lady."


One teacher said, "What a great morning we had yesterday with Sarah Lean. Her presentation was really helpful for the children as it gave them an insight into her writing process and hooked them in to wanting to read her book." Another commented on how much the children had enjoyed listening to her and how inspired they had been. 


Huge thanks to Sarah for coming to our schools and to Waterstones in Weston for helping  us to organise copies of the books for the Friday visits.

The Sand Dog      Sarah Lean

Harper Collins   ISBN: 978- 0008165819

Please, Mr Antony...

On Tuesday, Year 1 and 2 were thrilled to meet Steve Antony. They had done lots of work based around his book, 'The Queen's Hat', producing an amazing exhibition which filled our school hall.

For weeks before Steve arrived, the children were asking whether today was the day they were going to meet him- and they weren't disappointed. Everywhere I went, I was either chased by children telling me they had met him- usually clutching their books- or by adults, saying how wonderful he was. I already knew this of course, but it was lovely to hear!

Steve taught the children how to draw Mr Panda and they were so proud of their efforts! He made it really easy for them to understand and follow so that they could feel success. He shared some of his stories, including treating them all to a reading of his brand new book, 'Unplugged' which is amazing- and not published yet! We are the first school that he has read it to! 

He also went to our pre-school where the teachers were amazed by how long the children sat, completely absorbed by his stories and listening so well!

Steve spent so long talking to each child as he signed their books. It was such a lovely visit and we can't thank him enough for enthusing our children about books, stories, writing and illustrating. 


Huw Powell- Space Jacker extraordinaire!

Yesterday and today, three schools in our group were lucky enough to be visited by the lovely, Huw Powell.

Always inspiring, Huw told us how he grew up in a Somerset village and never dreamed he would become an author. He showed us pictures of some of the comics he drew and stories he wrote whilst at school, lying on his bedroom floor. He decided to take up writing as a hobby when he was older- and that's how things developed!

Huw read from his first book, Space Jackers and then later from his third and latest book, Space Jackers: The Pirate KIng. These are really exciting adventure stories; you can read our review of the first book here.


Using ideas from the children about spacewomen, spacemen and pirates, Huw gathered their thoughts and combined them to create their own Space Pirate, complete with name. It was wonderful! Bournville created Captain Jack Skull...

Mendip Green created Captain Bob Death Skull!

While Huw was signing copies of his books, children drew their own space pirates and started to develop their ideas about character. They really enjoyed themselves!

Many thanks to Huw for coming and inspiring our children!

Space Jackers                                           Bloomsbury     ISBN: 978-1408847541

Space Jackers: The Lost Sword                 Bloomsbury     ISBN:  978-1408847589

Space Jackers: The Pirate King                  Bloomsbury    ISBN: 978-1408847664