This post was written by peterjmurray on February 27th, 2016 10:04 am Comments Off on BONKERS ABOUT BRADFORD!

Whetley Academy mosaic

Our week at Whetley Academy in Bradford was brilliant! We received a fabulous welcome and everyone seemed to remember us from our visit during a snowy week in January last year.

This visit focussed on Bonebreaker, Moonwailer and Scabbajack, with lots of references to our short story collection, Ten O’ Clock Caller, during our many workshops working with Years 5 and 6. All of the pupils, without exception, were attentive and extremely enthusiastic throughout the week. The staff treated us like ‘old’ friends and couldn’t do enough for us.

At the end of each day we retreated back to our amazing accommodation at Bents Mill,  deep within a valley somewhere out on

View from our 'retreat' window

the wild moors of West Yorkshire. You can see the view from our apartment window…lots of water – and lots of fishing! Unfortunately, the weather was so cold that the surrounding beck and mill pools just about froze over and I feel sure the fish had gone into a state of hibernation. I tried fishing a couple of times, but the only bite I got was from Jack Frost!

Our Whetley Week passed all too quickly and before we knew it we had signed all our books (see pic) and were heading back to South Yorkshire to prepare for World Book Week and the launch of our new book – KRUSCHMEISTER.

All signed up for eager pupils!

A MASSIVE ‘thank you’ to Mrs Gavin, Miss Stansfield and everyone at Whetley Academy for giving us such a good time. Kath and I are proud to be invited each year to work in this happy school that values literacy so highly. Their philosophy is exactly the same as ours…. to get everyone reading and to get new and exciting books into their eager hands!Brilliant! See you all again soon.



This post was written by peterjmurray on February 14th, 2016 6:31 pm Comments Off on HAPPY HALF TERM

After a hugely successful Kent trip followed by two lovely school visits back on our Berkshire doorstep, it’s now time to relax and recharge before our big trip ‘Up North’ to launch our new football-themed scary book, KRUSCHMEISTER.

Fun with KS1 in Kent

As already reported, we have just re-visited Aylesbury Primary along with three brand new cluster schools down in Maidstone,

even taking time to talk to and enthuse the little KS1’s. (See pic.) On our return to Berkshire we started the following week at the Willows Primary (our granddaughter’s school) followed by their sister  school down in the racehorse capital of the world – Lambourn Primary. Will we ever forget Katy Osbourne, a Lambourn resident and parent at my previous teaching school…and a famous artist  – renowned for her paintings of racehorses? Katy generously painted the first ever book cover for me and helped launch our Mokee Joeseries back in 2003 with great success. We will always be grateful to her.

By mid-week we had successfully ‘fired up’  literacy in both the Berkshire schools and most of Wednesday was spent signing endless books – the Bonebreaker Trilogy at the Willows and the Mokee Joe series at Lambourn. Thank you to Ms S, Ms Butler and Ms Pope for all your support – Kath and I had a thoroughly enjoyable experience at your fab schools and it proved a great run-up to the late half-term Berkshire/Hampshire half-term holiday. We have had some lovely feedback from pupils and parents at both schools, and the good news is that Ms Butler has already asked Simon and myself to open the Willows new library upon completion of their exciting building works. Of course, we accepted and are very much looking forward to it.

Ready for half-term exercise!

So here we are at half-term and whenever the weather allows, out comes the fishing equipment, the trusty bike and the

My fave...oops!...I mean Will's fave toys!

running shoes (when I’m not injured….I’m currently nursing a sore Achilles!) We’re also taken up with putting the finishing touches to the new book. I’m convinced  that the KRUSCHMEISTER is the best of all my books to date. I just can’t wait to launch it to our many fans. Oh…and by the way…I got VERY excited a few days ago at our grandson’s second birthday party. He received some great pressies including lots of Thomas the Tank Engines…my personal favourite. I had a fab time playing with them. I might even let William play with them one day…if he’s lucky!



This post was written by peterjmurray on February 2nd, 2016 6:13 pm Comments Off on BERKSHIRE TO KENT

Pete outside the fab Francis Baily School

We had a fab time at a school just a stone’s throw from our Berkshire retreat…the lovely Francis Baily School in Thatcham. It’s a big school and around 255 pupils filled the hall – Years 4 to 6. They proved an amazing audience and Kath and I enjoyed a wonderful day with them. The school is building a real ‘reading culture’ and the book-signing the next day proved the point when I signed a fantastic number of Mokee Joe books over three hours! By the end of the signing my signing hand was succumbing to repetitive strain injury! The librarian, Mrs Susan Mumford, proved the perfect hostess and looked after so well; in fact all of the staff we encountered were a real joy to be around. Francis Baily school made a tremendous impression on us and we can’t wait to be back with our new fans.

Next stop was Maidstone, in Kent. We already have a great connection with Aylesford Primary, but

Great Display at Aylesford Primary

now they have three brand new schools in their cluster and we were invited to visit all of them…brilliant! So our good friend, Mrs Sarah Bone, was waiting for us and didn’t we have a great time! It was a fantastic four days, starting at Aylesford Primary with a Bonebreaker Trilogy presentation, followed by a combined Mokee Joe presentation for the juniors of Kings Hill, Holbrough Lakes and Leybourne Chase. And not forgetting the fabulous little ones in KS1 at all of the schools…with an Icky Doo Dah presentation on behalf of Simon (he is already invited along with us next year!)

The pupils at all of the Maidstone schools were a joy to work with, as were the staff. Kath and I were even taken out to dinner in downtown Maidstone at the end of our stay…what a treat. Even more incredible, I got to talk about fishing with lovely Elaine…accompanied by yawns of boredom from lovely Sarah (and Kath…but she’s more used to it!)

All in all, a truly wonderful week – even if we did get lost on the brand new housing estates on our last day! We’re already ticking off the weeks until next February…can’t wait to be back and to ‘grow’ along with the amazing Valley Invicta schools of Maidstone.


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