Saturday, 23 March 2013

Shropshire Stars

Each year I try to plan a tour of schools in Shropshire... mainly because I get to stay with my Aunt and Uncle, Margaret and Roy. My first ever tour as an author was to Shropshire, with my book Stormy Cliff, in September 2008. At the time I didn't drive, and Margaret and Roy transported me around and made the tour possible. They have kindly supported my visits ever since. I always receive a warm welcome from them and am made to feel completely at home.
The children from Moorfield Primary were excited
to get their hands on my new books!
During my time in Shropshire, I had the pleasure of visiting 4 schools in the Telford area, all of which I got to know during visits last year. The children at Shifnal Primary, Ladygrove Primary, Moorfield Primary and Newdale Primary were all really excited to see me again and even more excited to find out about my new books, Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger. Each audience was full of lively children, keen to come up to the front and become the stars of my books. I had great fun bringing my books to life in the 4 schools, and at all the book signings there were long lines of children desperate to get their hands on my new books.

I love doing the book signings - it means I get to meet children like Sam from Ladygrove Primary. Last year I told all the children at Ladygrove about my books, Stormy Cliff and The Secret Theatre. Sam was a reluctant reader, and yet he was so excited by my visit that he decided to buy Stormy Cliff. I met Sam again this year, and he told me that it was the first book he had ever read, and since then he has been reading lots of other books. Hearing this made my day, because the main reason I visit schools is to encourage children to give reading (and writing) a go, even if they find it hard! I hope Sam, and everyone else who bought Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger, enjoys reading them.

Thank you to all the staff at Shifnal, Ladygrove, Moorfield and Newdale for organising fantastic visits, and of course to Margaret and Roy for providing me with a home from home. I'll see you all as soon as my next book, The Ghost Lord Returns, is published!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Creepy Children in Spooky Sussex!

We had a few great school visits last week to celebrate World Book Day in true Spooky Sussex Style!

Tuesday meant a welcome return to the lovely North Mundham Primary near Chichester. I will always remember my last visit there, when the hall was out of use... all of KS2 (over a hundred children) had to squeeze into 1 classroom to watch me perform! This time we were thankfully back in the school hall ... lots more space for me to jump around and go mad in. We had great fun with both KS2 and KS1 and the following day returned for a big book signing. I had a great surprise when a couple of KS1 children showed me the huge pirate ship they had made in their classroom - it was awesome, and the perfect place to make up a creepy pirate story! I also got to see year 5, hard at work drawing their own versions of my book covers... these were fantastic, and there were some really imaginative ideas. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures of the book covers on this blog soon!

I'm being attacked! Look at all these creepy ghosts,
ghouls and vampires from Southway Junior School!
On World Book Day itself I drove the short distance to one of my local schools, Southway Junior School. As I made my usual entrance, leaping into the school hall, I was nearly frightened half to death! There sitting in front of me were the creepiest collection of ghosts, ghouls, vampires and zombies I had ever seen! It was hard to believe that under the sheets and behind the masks, it was just the same bunch of sweet children (and staff) I met at Southway last year... All the costumes helped create the perfect atmosphere for me to bring my spooky adventure books, Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger, to life.

After a short delay because of heavy snow, I was eventually able to creep into Surrey to visit Walton on the Hill Primary on Red Nose Day. They were all dressed up for the occasion too, but their costumes weren't quite so scary - most of them were in onesies! I had great fun introducing them to my new books, and also helped year 6 to make their classroom haunted in a fun workshop.

Huge thanks, as always, to Sarah Walsham from North Mundham, Angie Bower from Southway and Alicia Nicholls from Walton on the Hill for organising three fantastic visits. I can't wait to return to all three schools once my next book, The Ghost Lord Returns, is published!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Brilliant Book Week and A 'Real Life' Becky Evans!

A 'real life' Becky Evans, aka Leoni!
Today is World Book Day and across the country thousands of children have gone to school dressed as book characters. Some children decided to dress as characters from my books, including Leoni, who dressed as Becky (the main character in The Secret Theatre, Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger). You look just like Becky, Leoni, and I hope you had fun at school! I will put up more photos from World Book Day in my next blog.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting 2 schools I count as old friends and 2 I can now call new friends. There was just one problem - I had a big cold and nearly lost my voice! So on Monday morning at the first of the new schools, Bushmead Primary in Luton, my usual loud voice became a rather raspy one aided by a microphone. The audiences of over 350 KS2 children and 240 KS1 children really cheered me up and helped me forget about my cold. I had an absolute blast bringing my books to life for them, with the help of the enthusiastic and fun Mr Davis. There are also some very scary children at Bushmead as Mr Davis knows to his cost - one of the year 2s (acting as a pirate) made him fall off his chair! 
Luke with Bushmead's Mr Davis!

This is what Bushmead had to say about the visit: 'On Monday we had an inspirational visit from author Luke Temple. Luke entertained us with his zany presentation and interactivity. We were all laughing and dancing and being amazed at the way he brought his characters to life... I don’t think we have ever had such a great response to (and from) an author before…'

A BIG thank you to Mr William Davis and everyone at Bushmead - it was an honour to start off your Brilliant Book Week and I'll be back soon!

Performing at South Camberley with children playing the
characters of Mum, Spooky Steve and the TV Director
The second new school was Tennyson Road Primary in Luton. We had been assured before we arrived that this was a lovely school, and they certainly met this expectation. I had a fabulous time working with KS2 and KS1 and entertaining them with my books. Thank you to Sarah Varnals for organising a great visit. I hope to see you all again soon.

Opening the library at South Camberley!
My old friends Watchetts Junior School have changed their name since my last visit, to South Camberley Primary School. I had a really fun time performing to a variety of classes, and was then really impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of the year 3s during a writing workshop. At the end of the day I had the honour of opening the new school library. It is a lovely room, full of light and colour and brand new books. I was as excited as the children to explore it! Thank you to Julie Rowland and congratulations to you all on a fab library. 

The children at Horsell Junior School in Woking were the first children I ever told about my new books, Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger, a couple of years ago. It was a joy to return to introduce them to the books properly. With 360 children packed into the hall, it made for a great atmosphere and the children really got involved and helped me to act out the books. Following this I had 2 great workshops with groups of children, and was incredibly impressed with their knowledge and skill. I returned the following day for a mammoth 3 hour book signing - the perfect ending to the week! A big thank you to Gill Kozlowski for your support throughout the day... I can't wait to come back to Horsell when The Ghost Lord Returns is published!

Well, what a week that proved to be - by the end, I had nearly lost my voice again, but had great fun doing so. It just goes to show that whether I am meeting old fans or new ones, the response is the same: loads and loads of lovely staff and pupils, all equally keen to hear my stories and read my books!