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Journal
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
OUT OF SCHOOL AND INTO OXFORD
Monday was my "last day of term", almost, as I was being the visiting author for FOREST OF GALTRES PRIMARY SCHOOL near York, who are having a story-writing competition ove rthe Easter holidays. Had a lovely time, and hope you all have fun imagining your own stories.

I'd spent all day Sunday finally finishing off the revision of my long manuscript, correcting it according to the editors edits, and now it has gone. Always a rather sad & hollow feeling, as if there's something you should be working on but instead there's a space. I have been gathering some another ideas together, so once I've completed a couple of small projects, it will be exciting to start on the next big bit of work! But feel as if I have to wait to hear it's arrived back with the editor before I'm free to do that.

I've also got to gather myself together for a talk I'm giving with the wonderful writer HELENA PIELICHATY at OXFORD LITERARY FESTIVAL this coming Saturday morning. Very, very exciting! We're arguing on behalf of either FANTASY OR REALITY - with me going for fantasy, of course. Am bringing along my unicorn to make sure!
 
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
TWO BUSY DAYS - AND SOME WRITING TIME!
Wednesday, and some welcome hours at home, catching up with admin and getting back into a serious writing mode. But I have had a great couple of days.

Monday was great fun, because I was at the Stoke on Trent "Big Adventure Day" at Port Vale Football Club Stadium. So hello at all the people (big and little) who came to meet me, especially to all the classes from THE PRIORY PRIMARY SCHOOL , NORTHWOOD BROOM PRIMARY SCHOOL, HILLSIDE PRIMARY SCHOOL and anyone else who was at my sessions. Thanks to all who arranged this VERY HUGE DAY!

Tuesday was a lovely afternoon of sharing stories with the Reception Classes of GREENSIDE PRIMARY SCHOOL in Pudsey Library - and their teddies. We were there for a Teddy Bear's Picnic celebration, arranged because the library now has some great COUNT ME IN 1,2,3 packs for families to borrow. I even sneaked three iced gem biscuits when the teddies weren't looking!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009
HOME FROM HARTLEPOOL - AGAIN!
Last weekend I had a happy and relaxing time with lots of other children's writers down in Coventry. It was mostly talking about all sorts of book and writerly matters as well as all sorts if idle chatter - and eating and a little bit of drinking. Great fun!

Today I was up in Hartlepool again, at WEST VIEW PRIMARY SCHOOL, where I talked about and made up stories with KS2 children. My visit also included a general "whole school" assembly session, so I'm sending a big hello to everyone there! Hope you enjoyed writing the next bits of your stories!

Tomorrow is my last "Hartlepool day", with a visit to BARNARD GROVE PRIMARY SCHOOL. Looking forward to meeting you!

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Friday, March 13, 2009
HOME FROM HARTLEPOOL
Today I am at home - a joyously free day though it will mostly be spent catching up with lots of admin, alongside washing and ironing and house stuff.

However- even more joyously - sitting on the filing cabinet is something very exciting! It's a copy of my tome marked with my editors comments. I am really looking forward to settling down with this task, and going over the tome for what may be one final time. I notice that she hasn't sent me the title page, so I am not sure if this is still in discussion. So far I've known it as A BOY CALLED MOUSE, but if that changes you will certainly hear here!

Two busy days just gone, so thanks and a big wave to the two schools in Hartlepool that I visited this week - ST HELEN'S PRIMARY SCHOOL on The Headland, where they had some newly hatched chicks, and CLAVERING PRIMARY SCHOOL where everyone was excited about practising a dance for today. Hope you are all having a happy Red Nose Day.

Tomorrow I'm meeting up with some fantastic author friends - and that means I'll really need some washing done so I can go. Bye for now!
 
Monday, March 09, 2009
JUST SO DARWIN JUST ON!
A quick posting to say that JUST SO DARWIN - a very short animation series for which I wrote three scripts last year - will be shown on BBC2 at 11.45 am tomorrow (Tuesday) and then next week. Yes, it began last Tuesday.

My scripts are about How the Elephant Got Its Trunk, about variation in the Galapagos tortoises in Why Are We Different, and a final script about Lonesome George, the last surviving tortoise of his species. Wonder if they'll show that one?

ps. They were great fun to do!
 
WORLD BOOK DAY WEEK 2009: PART THREE
So this was the day itself, and after a very early start, I was up in Newcastle on Tyne at OUR LADY & St ANNE'S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL. This was another amazing day, as all the children and teachers were dressed as Book Characters, and the day began with the arrival of the Lord Mayor of Liverpool in all his scarlet robes and mayoral chain, and accompanied by his two servants bearing the city's enormous golden mace and sword.

The day began with each class parading to see who would win the best fancy dress prize, with the Mayor giving out the prizes. There was also author talks and stories for all classes (from me, looking rather dull in my ordinary clothes) and a round-the-school Book Quiz (in picture form) which all the classes did in turn (with the oldest children helping the littlest) and some making of books, and watching films of books, and a talk for parents from the local library (which is in a brand new building) and also a book sale of my books and of donated books, and lots of other things I'm sure. It was a day organised with enthusiasm and energy by a true book lover! Really well done! I felt proud to be part of such a FANTASTIC WORLD BOOK DAY!

(Oddly, my very dear mother-in-law and her siblings may have attended this school many years ago, though in an older building - but I didn't have time to investigate!)

Friday was a bit nearer home. I was at ASHLANDS PRIMARY SCHOOL, Ilkley, with three enjoyable workshops on creating a story for the Year 5&6 children, and then a big story time for KS1 and Reception. It was a fun way to end the day, and my WORLD BOOK DAY WEEK 2009. ps. Discovered a teacher there who liked elephants even more than I do!

At the weekend, I was definitely resting!

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009
WORLD BOOK DAY WEEK 2009 : PART TWO
It doesn't often happen, but today it did, at PADIHAM COUNTY PRIMARY SCHOOL, near Burnley. What was the "it" that happened? Well, I've been to some lovely schools recently, places where the children know a bit about my books and my book covers, and may have read or heard one of my books, but Padiham was a surprise and delight.

I arrived to find that ALL the classes, from Reception to Year 6 had read more than one - and sometimes several - of my books, and right through to the end as well. It was SO amazing, and SO very cheering! They even had several displays about my books around the school buildings as well, AND they liked the books AND they had arranged a book sale of my books, not just the books of the visiting book fair company!

It's rather hard to explain the difference this reading beforehand makes to an Author Day. Perhaps one way could be to say that this reading beforehand changes an ordinary author visit into a happy meeting of friends. So huge thanks to the fantastic children and their teachers for their efforts. I really enjoyed all the sessions, especially the making-up of stories, and your interesting lists of questions. I was beaming so much I hardly noticed the snow falling as I drove back.

PADIHAM PEOPLE, YOU WERE A WORLD BOOK DAY WEEK TREAT! THANK YOU! Hope you all had a great Book Character Day on Thursday.
 
Monday, March 02, 2009
WORLD BOOK DAY WEEK 2009 : PART ONE
Well, the week started well with a sunshiny drive all the way to YARM PREPARATORY SCHOOL, just below the North York Moors. A very happy day, with lots of enjoyable sessions. Must say it was especially nice to start World Book Day celebrations in a school where everyone was so friendly and helpful to a visitor, and the children were a real delight. Thank you all!

On Tuesday I visited a school much nearer home, so here's a great big HELLO to everyone I met at WEDDERBURN INFANTS SCHOOL, Harrogate. It was lovely to share my stories with you, and thank you all - including the nursery - for being such great listeners.
 
A blog about the life, times and travels of a Children's Writer, Storyteller and Book Week Visitor. For more writerly thoughts, pop over to my other blog The Year Of Mouse (http://theyearofmouse-pennydolan.blogspot.com/) Squeak!

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