This post was written by peterjmurray on November 20th, 2017 6:51 pm Comments Off on MOKEE JOE 6 LAUNCH!

Well, at last, the final Mokee Joe book is out! Without doubt it’s the most exciting and action-packed book of the series and it’s called: Mokee Joe: Scourge of the Emirates….And where better than Dubai for the action to take place – including the final battle on top of the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa.

         Launched at last!

Our choice of location to launch the book was my home town of Rotherham, in South Yorkshire, to visit four schools there at the beginning of my author career, more years ago than I care to remember! Our son, Simon Murray, author and illustrator, chose to accompany us. Simon produces the amazing black and white, pen and ink drawings inside all the Mokee Joe books, as well as producing his own lovely picture books for the younger KS1 pupils, Icky Doo Dah ( Simon did a wonderful demonstrative art slot during each presentation before slipping away to enthuse and inspire KS1…this greatly added to the impact of our visit.

Roughwood Primary was our first choice of ‘launch pad’ for the new book…and what a choice it proved to be! We’ve been visiting this school for a great number of years and have fans spanning over several generations. The presentation took the audience right back to the start of the Mokee Joe series, introducing the main characters, Hudson, Molly and Ash, and following their horrific encounters with Mokee Joe through to the thrilling climax in the United Arab Emirates. We were astounded to learn how many of the pupils had been to Dubai for holidays…but none of the staff, alas! The book signing the next day was as popular as it always is…avid fans and avid readers lined up the length of the school hall, desperate to get their books and to have them signed. A big thanks to Mr Cadman and his staff for being so willing to take part in our ‘Mokee Joe Finale Tour.’ And of course, to all the pupils for being such supportive fans. Enjoy your trip to Dubai everyone – I promise that the book will definitely take you over there!

Our second school visit of the tour was to Northfield Lane Primary at Wickersley, situated very close to our Northern home. Since our last visit, around ten years ago, the school has acquired some interesting ‘pod-type’ buildings and we quickly got lost inside them, weaving our way along the warren-like corridors. Despite building work going on around us, the presentation was again well-received and by the end the pupils were definitely at ‘fever-pitch’! Another great book signing ensued the next day and books were also put aside for a number of excited Year 6’s, who had left for a residential trip prior to our arrival. Unfortunately, Simon didn’t get chance to weave his ‘Icky Doo Dah magic’ with KS1 at this school, but he has promised to get back before too long. After all, his Nan lives just around the corner and offers him a great place to stay!

Onto our third school – Anston Park Juniors. This was to provide our biggest KS2 audience of around 340 pupils.

The Burj Khalifa – the final battle!

We played to a packed hall and once again enthused our audience to ‘Mokee Joe hysteria’! During each of the presentations, I dressed myself up as the infamous Mokee Joe monster and chased a brave and willing volunteer across the hall. I was amazed how fast my victims sprinted back to their place (and safety!) and even more amazed how fast I moved…there’s still life in the old man yet! As per usual, the headteacher, Mrs Bartholomew, and the deputy, Mr French, immediately capitalised on our visit and launched follow-up work and competitions based on the my books along with Simon’s illustrations. The subsequent book signing just about broke all records and I’m sure must qualify for a Guiness Book of Records entry for the most books signed by an author in one session. We had to return the next morning to finish off and then spent the rest of the day recovering from the experience! Thanks once again to everyone at this delightful school…and I mean everyone. We just love our visits!

Final visit of the week was to Reignhead Primary in Beighton, near Sheffield. We chose this school because it was one of the first and most pleasant of the schools we visited right at the beginning of my author career. Well…Kath and Simon and I are pleased to report that Reignhead is just as pleasant and as nice a place to visit as it ever was! Yet another great presentation well-received and the book signing produced its very own ‘Black Friday’ experience at the end of school the next day. Will we ever forget the boy I chased wearing my Mokee Joe outfit and him with a plaster cast on his broken leg hidden beneath his trousers! And he still managed to outsprint me…incredible!

Well…what an amazing week! The launch could not have gone better. The Rotherham Advertiser also did me proud with great coverage of the new book and a competition launch on their Captain Jack page with six copies of the new book up for grabs. You may wish to check it out!

Time to rest and recharge now…more schools to visit before Christmas…and more Mokee Joe victims to terrorise in the school hall. Ha ha….



This post was written by peterjmurray on November 5th, 2017 1:59 pm Comments Off on MORE HIGHS AT DENBIGH HIGH!

Our last school visit before a short break was with our good friends at Denbigh High School in Luton.

It proved to be another very tiring, but fulfilling day, working with Year 7’s in the morning and two workshops in the afternoon. The presentation centred around the Scabbajack and Kruschmeister books and was very well received – the audience a little on the quiet side at first, but by the end of the presentation bubbling with excitement and definitely in a mood for Halloween (that very night!)

Workshops involved guests from the nearby Linslade Middle School and they joined in brilliantly, pupils from each school coming up with some very professional story writing in line with the task I gave them. I never cease to be amazed by the talented young writers out there. They fill me full of hope (as well as fear of impending competition!).

Once again we really enjoyed our time at Denbigh High School. It is easy to see why this school has been classified as ‘outstanding’. Thank you so much to Amy Lane and her team for all of the wonderful hospitality we received.

Hope you survived Halloween after my visit!



This post was written by peterjmurray on November 4th, 2017 5:16 pm Comments Off on HIGH SCHOOL HALLOWEEN HIGHS!

      Halloween display at St Peter’s

As Halloween approached rapidly, Kath and I made our way to one of favourite schools in Huntingdon,Cambridgeshire – St Peter’s. I have been Patron of Reading at this wonderful school over the past year and enjoyed

Well done, Lisa! You can almost feel the heat!

every minute of it. The object of the exercise was to build an author/school relationship to enthuse reading and inspire writing and from what we have seen during our visits I think between all of us we’ve more than realised our objectives.

After an earlier flooding disaster in the lovely library, the amazing librarians, Rachel and Lisa, had somehow got everything back in order for our recent visit. Moreover, Lisa had put together a stunning artificial camp fire decoration in the centre of the library floor for my 90+ Year 7 students to gather round for my story telling sessions.

    Molly’s new look for the new Mokee Joe book

The day was quite exhausting with two ‘camp fire’ story telling sessions, a prize giving resulting from competitions during my last visit and two workshops in the afternoon. Phew! But didn’t we have a good time! It was brilliant and Kath and I enjoyed ourselves so much. I think one of the highlights was awarding prizes to three Year 10 girls who had presented hairstyle designs for Molly’s new look in the final Mokee Joe book. They were ‘blown away’ by the fact that the cover artist, Paul B Davies (he designed the original poster for Stephen King’s terrifying ‘IT’ movie), had studied their designs in creating Molly’s new look.

Thanks, Rachel, Lisa, and all of the lovely students at St Peter’s for making us so welcome and for making my job as Patron of Reading so easy. It’s been an absolute pleasure! We are looking forward to signing lots of books for your Year 7 students and seeing whether they dare take on the challenge I gave them – to read them in bed!  Bye for now.



This post was written by peterjmurray on November 4th, 2017 1:30 pm Comments Off on CARRFIELD, TEMPLE NORMANTON, RAVENFIELD

Leaving behind the majestic countryside of South Oxfordshire, we headed off on a familiar journey up the M1 towards our Northern roots in South Yorkshire.

Many of our school visits arise via word of mouth, and our next port of call was down to a teacher-friend of ours from East Dene School. Andy Morton, now moved to Carrfield Primary School at Bolton-on-Dearne, had sung our praises and set up a visit. Well…we had a fabulous time at this new school (new to us!) launching into our Mokee Joe presentation with gusto…and didn’t the Carrfield kids love it!

The visit was over all too soon, but not before we found out that there’s lots more great schools in this area, which for some reason have escaped our attention. We’ll soon put that right!  It also turned out that Carrfield is a keen footballing school, so we promise to be back VERY soon with our Kruschmeister story.  ‘Thank you’ Mr Morton…it seems we are going to be very busy in your neck of the woods for some considerable time!

Reading a great book in the fab new Temple Normanton library

It was on to Temple Normanton next; a small village school with only 41 pupils making up our KS2 audience. But what they lacked in numbers they more than made up for in enthusiasm. We decided to perform our Bonebreaker and Ten O’ Clock Caller presentation and it wasn’t long before the pupils were  ‘hooked’ on our books! The following day we carried out a book signing in their recently renovated library and were astounded just how many books were acquired by avid readers. Brilliant!

Thanks to everyone at Temple Normanton for looking after us so well. We will be back again before too long, we promise!

Final school of the week was just a stone’s  throw from our Northern base in Rotherham. Ravenfield Primary – a school which we have driven past many times, but never stopped to visit and do our stuff…until now! We decided to talk about Mokee Joe and describe how I became an author – especially relevant as it all happened in Rotherham over 14 years ago. In fact, my niece, Donna, who reminded me of the classic game of Mokee Joe, which gave rise to the creation of the series, works in the school with the Foundation children. She even managed to get over to see us during the subsequent book signing and say ‘hello’. To make matters even more interesting, one of the younger pupils in our audience, Henry, introduced himself as a distant relative of mine! It turned out that Harry’s granddad is my cousin and his gran a close friend of mine back in our schooldays. We have since found out where they live and had a fab reunion with them. If you’re reading this blog, Jess and Wendy…’Hi’ from me and Kath and see you again soon.

All in all, a great week working in the area where I was born and brought up. Three great schools and three more lots of keen fans! What more could a northern author want!




This post was written by peterjmurray on November 4th, 2017 12:42 pm Comments Off on ON THE BANKS OF THE LEAFY THAMES!

            Leafy Thames at Moulsford Prep

After the delights of Northumbria, it was time to sample the delights of an ideally-situated beautiful prep school on the banks of the Thames. Moulsford Prep are good friends of ours and it always proves a real pleasure to get in front of a packed, all-boy audience, and spook them with my scary books!

This time it was the turn of the Kruschmeister – the huge, savage football player who delights in taking the opposing players legs from under him (and usually cracking a bone or two at the same time!). I talked about the prequel, Scabbajack, first, and really got some tension into the Yr 5 to 7 enthusiastic and attentive audience. I have to say that the downbeat and dilapidated setting for both books seemed far removed from the lush Oxfordshire school grounds outside!

Yet again, Kath and I were made extremely welcome during our stay and I really hope that we contributed significantly towards the success of the Moulsford Prep Art Week. Many of the boys were asking about the Mokee Joe series…it seems there are more than a few avid fans. Hence, if Mr Martin is willing to have us back, we will return early in the next academic year to present the final book in the series…due out in a few weeks time – Mokee Joe: Scourge of the Emirates.

Thanks to everyone at Moulsford – hope you enjoyed your half-term break.


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