On Tuesday I met with the Reading Group from the Children's Library at the Barbican Centre, London, who had been given The Birthday Surprise to read and review. As you can imagine, I was a little nervous as to what they thought of it but on the other hand I'm very keen to learn what children think of the stories because, after all, they are my audience! The group gave me very well thought out feedback and, thank goodness, loved the story. One of the members, Daniel, was reading Lord of the Rings so The Birthday Surprise was obviously a little too easy for him, but he was very polite and said he, "liked the contrast between the characters" and thought it was very funny. One of the members wrote, "each page makes you want to read more" - I had a huge smile on my face when I read that! I worked with them to write a short story, making them think about characters, plot development, etc. What imaginations!! They came up with a great story and when I've typed up the bones of it I hope we can work on it a bit more.
You may remember that last week I spoke to you about Jeff Rivera, the author and media personality who contacted me asking if he could interview me. Well, he sent me some questions and my interview is now on his website. He is such a nice guy, very generous and obviously keeps his eyes open for other author's work and tries to help and encourage them. He has written some very funny books that children will love Um ... Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down The Toilet - I'd definitely recommend you buy them, the books are funny, imaginative and very well written! He's one of the good guys in life for sure.
Now, last but by no means least, I have to tell you about my visit to Chancellor Park Primary School in Chelmsford where I spoke to 120 children about writing and the Burly & Grum books. I was a little worried about this event because the age range was quite wide - what a 6 year old finds interesting is very different to what a 10 year old finds interesting, but I really need not have worried, they they were so welcoming and their teachers had worked with them so they were well prepared.
I told them a little bit about Burly & Grum and the different characters in the book, I read them the new tiger story which luckily they seemed to love, they asked me some questions and then we held a draw and three pupils each won a Burly & Grum book. That took us to lunch time and I was asked to visit the classrooms because the children all wanted me to autograph the Burly & Grum postcard I'd given to each of them. There just wasn't enough time and I would loved to have spent more time with them because they were so keen to talk about their writing. I'd also liked to have spent more time encouraging them to publish their work like 10 year old Jennifer but maybe next time! They have to be one of the nicest groups of children I've come across - I'd like to give a big thank you to Mrs Manji for inviting me, to the children for being so wonderful and interested in what I had to say. I hope that by next week I will have some pictures to show you.
This coming week will be quite quiet by comparison! I'll be finishing off the tiger story for the event Tiger Tracks at St Pancras Station and I'll also preparing for my very first blog tour. I'll tell you more about that next time. Just as I'm finishing this blog, my cats Puzzle and Bud have come in, both of them wet, both wanting some attention. They tend to wander all over my laptop if I'm not quick enough so I'm going to feed them and take their minds and muddy paws away from here! Goodbye everyone - have a wonderful week!