This post was written by peterjmurray on December 1st, 2019 11:41 am Comments Off on HOME-GROWN MAGIC!

As the end of term approaches and Christmas draws ever nearer, it was so good to be on home ground to visit my old primary school, Redscope Juniors, and the nearby Greasbrough Primary just a few days later.

I love being back at Redscope! All by boyhood memories come flooding back – I even remember the school window I broke whilst playing cricket in the school playground. I didn’t get into trouble – one of the teachers was bowling at the time!

The Poppy Warrior presentation went down a storm and so many children queued a few days later to get their desperate hands on signed copies of the books. During the signing it was brilliant to talk with the pupils about where they lived (many on the road where I used to live), where they played football (St Paul’s Field and Barker’s Park) and to share so many of my other memories of the Kimberworth Park Estate with them. I was really touched when one little girl had the book signed to her and her brother. When I asked how old her brother was she informed me he hadn’t been born yet! That was a first for me…to sign a book for a baby still inside Mummy’s tummy!

A HUGE ‘thank you’ to Ms Walpole and her lovely, lovely staff for giving us such a wonderful time at my old school. They even provided us with fish and chips (it was Friday) with yummy pudding to follow. As Ms Walpole informed us as we left…we are now part of the ‘Redscope Family’!

Nearby Greasbrough Primary provided more boyhood memories (Greasbrough provided schoolboys with numerous places to visit away from the housing estate in the form of woods, fields, water and other interesting places). The school was great and the only downside was that many of the KS2 children were absent with flu and sickness viruses…something currently a worry with the extreme weather going on a the moment. The children were VERY enthusiastic about ALL of my books – not just the new one. It turned out that they had read Scabbajack as a class reader and had become obsessed with it (teacher included). They made me promise to bring copies of the book to the signing next Monday. Oh…and some Mokee Joe books too!  Should be an interesting signing…watch this space!




This post was written by peterjmurray on December 1st, 2019 11:15 am Comments Off on BACK DOWN BEDFORD WAY

The next week found us hurtling down the M1 again to spend three days at Linslade Middle School just outside Leighton Buzzard. It’s a fabulous school and provides plenty of willing fans for our books – almost 700 Year 5 to 8’s in total!

Presentations all round!  Mokee Joe with Year 5 and Poppy Warrior with Years 6 to 8. Following the performances, I carried out workshops with KS2 and KS3 groups and enjoyed every one. It was so rewarding to work with smaller groups and hear their thoughts and ideas on books in general and ‘horror’ in particular!

Not-so-far-away Putteridge High School  proved to be another very successful visit, the Year 7’s providing a great audience for the Poppy Warrior presentation and talented Year 8 writers contributing excellently in subsequent workshops . The challenge was to write a detailed descriptive account of what Josh Palmer saw when his Great Great Grandfather took him back in time to experience the real-life horror of the battlefield in the bloodiest battle of all time – The WW1 Battle of the Somme. The Year 8’s really got their teeth into the challenge and produced some excellent writing…deliberately shocking to say the least! Such was the standard that we decided to turn the challenge into a competition and awarded prizes for the best entries. Brilliant!

Most of the schools we visit around Bedford and Luton belong to the Chiltern Learning Trust and we have been so impressed by these schools that we’ve decided to spend World Book Week 2020 in the area. Can’t wait!



This post was written by peterjmurray on December 1st, 2019 10:57 am Comments Off on STILL UP NORTH!

Three more schools close to home – Simpson’s Lane at Knottingley, Brinsworth Howarth Primary, very close to our South Yorkshire base, and finally to Dronfield Stonelow Juniors (old friends of ours!)

The new book ‘Poppy Warrior’ was well-received at all three schools. Brinsworth Howarth Primary was the smallest of the schools, and it proved to be a ‘hidden gem’. Kath and I had lived close by when we’d first got married, but never knew the school was there! Most of the children were real ‘book worms’ and we were so impressed by the enthusiasm of all concerned! Such was the success of our visit that the school have booked me for World Book Day in 2021! (I’m hope I’m still going by then!)

Dronfield Stonelow Juniors rose to the occasion (as always), and gave us a VERY warm welcome. We signed lots of books the next day following the presentation and it was a real pleasure to meet up with all our Dronfield Stonelow friends again.

Thanks to everyone and hope to see you again before too long.


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