Well, this is a bit different. It’s World Book Day and I’m at home. No school visitstoday. It’s the first time this has happened since I published my first book, Hairy Fairy, back in 2014.
I love my school visits on World Book Day; the children have that special level of excitement that only a day out of school uniform, combined with a ‘special visitor’ in the classroom, can create.
I know some authors will be doing ‘virtual’ author visits today. Personally, I haven’t been promoting virtual visits so far: partly because I figured that teachers had enough to contend with, juggling virtual and face-to-face teaching, without adding me to the mix; partly because of my own efforts at ‘homeschooling’.
Anyway, as from 8 March, I am more than happy to get back on the school visits horse. If you’re a headteacher, teacher or PTA member and are interested in arranging a virtual visit to your school, please click here for more information. In the meantime, I am very happy for you to share my recent sessions at the IW Story Festival with your class. I am also happy to answer any questions your class may have for me, and respond to any work inspired by my sessions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only a week to go until the start of the IW Story Festival and my first session, How to Beat the Niggle, which is on at 1.15pm on Wednesday 17 February.
It’s been a tough 12 months for everyone, and I think all of us have felt the strain, at least from time-to-time, so I thought it was a good time to dust off my book about childhood anxiety and resilience, The Niggle, to read at the festival.
And in case that’s not positive enough, I will also be showing you how to make a positivity cube like this:
You can get ahead of the game and print out the template for the cube from here.
Can you make a scary face? Can you wiggle your fingers? Yes? Then this is the session for you! Don’t just listen to the story of The Niggle – about a little monster who whispers in five-year old Joe Jackson’s ear and makes him afraid – but join in! We all get a niggle in our ear from time to time, but there are things you can do to beat it: Peta will show you how to make a ‘Positivity Cube’ so you can get creative and conquer your fears and worries!
I hope you will be able to join me at the IW Story Festival, on Thursday 18 February, at 2pm, when I will be talking about the process I went through to produce my new book, Crab, Dab & Blenny. I will also be offering one lucky person the chance to have my new book dedicated to them, or a person of their choice. Join me for the session for your chance to win!
Find out how my experience of living on the Isle of Wight, my love of rock pools and my worries about plastics in the ocean, inspired my story.
The IW Story Festival runs from Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 February, all sessions are on YouTube and FREE! You can see the whole programme here #crabdabandblenny
I think I may be developing a new obsession! My Isle of Wight Story Festival pal, storyteller Sue Bailey, took me and fellow committee members Jules Marriner and Holly Medland for a fun fungi walk in the forest on Wednesday. Wow!
I have walked in similar areas many times, and maybe noticed the odd toadstool or mushroom, but when you have someone with Sue’s enthusiasm to encourage you, you can find SO MANY! We only walked for an hour or so, and I must admit, I didn’t count, but we must have spotted more than 20 different types of fungi, in all different shapes and sizes.
And, if that wasn’t excitement enough, Sue told me how to make a spore-print!
Forest walks will never be the same again! Thank you Sue for opening my eyes to the fun of fungi!
Can’t believe a whole week has gone by since the inaugural IW Story Festival took place – and I’m still feeling the buzz!
I’m part of the core organising committee – along with Elspeth Giddens, storyteller Sue Bailey, and fellow local author/illustrators Jules Marriner and Debbie Webb, who all worked liked dogs but were determined and positive throughout! We had a vision: to inspire creativity and imagination though stories of all types, in children from the Isle of Wight – particularly from ‘hard to reach’ families – and beyond. We didn’t know if we could pull it off. But we did. With bells on. (l should add: although we were the core team, we couldn’t have done it without the help and support of many other wonderful people.)
Hundreds of children and families poured through the doors of the Riverside Centre in Newport to see authors, illustrators, storytellers, poets, puppetry and theatre. They took part in junk modelling, book making, World Book Day costume making and encounters with bats, bugs and owl poo!
The success of the event was helped, in no small part, by our fabulous headliners: Korky Paul, Nick Sharratt and Sarah McIntyre, who brought in the crowds and were all charming and generous with their time and drawings. Sarah wrote her own blog, which gives a fabulous flavour of the fun of the festival. You can read it here.
My own session – where I read Jacob Starke Loves the Dark and led some nocturnal animal mask making – was great fun and resulted in some fabulous badgers, foxes and owls.
The festival was also the first outing for my new book, Milly’s Marvellous Mistakes – it was exciting to see it on display in the festival bookshop run by Medina Books. Even more exciting to sell a few copies!