Yes, Happy World Book Day, everyone. I hope that schools up and down the country have lots of lovely events planned. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to help children become inspired and excited about books, both reading and writing them!
I’ve just returned from an ‘Ask The Author’ school visit at Heathcoat Primary School, which was tremendous fun. Many thanks to the school for inviting me in and the children for participating so beautifully. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. When I asked the Year 2 pupils, “how many of you like writing stories?”, it was wonderful to see how many little hands shot up in the air. I wonder how many of those children in future might have a go at writing or illustrating stories professionally? I hope some of them do.
At the question time, I was asked “what’s your favourite thing about being an author?” And I think, for me, there have to be two aspects: firstly, the process of creating an exciting, magical story which inspires and entertains. And secondly, sharing that story with children. It may please me if I write a good story and keep it to myself, but I love the idea of sharing it with the children, taking them on an adventure or making them laugh. That’s why I enjoy school visits so much.
I remember after my first book, ‘Hodge the Hedgehog’ was published, I was invited to visit a pre-school to read the book to the children. This was my first ever invitation into a class and I was absolutely terrified. I almost declined the offer purely out of fear! I have no teaching experience, no idea how to entertain a class…I was extremely worried it would go horrendously wrong and I would spend the session hiding under the teacher’s desk. Fortunately, my friend persuaded me that really it was in fact a great idea. And I’m so glad she did! I had a wonderful time and experienced for the first time the response to my book, from children who would potentially be reading it. I realised how much I enjoyed sharing stories with children (even when they outnumbered me!) and how satisfying it was helping them to take another step further into their imaginations.
It was lovely at the end of today’s session when a little boy put up his hand to ask one last question: “Will you come back to visit our class again?” I’m sure I must have grinned like the Cheshire cat and, as I said to him, I do hope the opportunity will arise.
If you’d like to find out more about World Book Day, click here: http://www.worldbookday.com/