WORLD BOOK WEEK

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It’s that special time of the year! As usual we were very busy with school bookings and our chosen location for 2020 World Book Week was the Leighton Buzzard / Bedford area.

       Molly’s new hairstyle (Space Buns)

Day 1 started at the Gilbert Inglefield Middle School in Leighton Buzzard. Kath and I were up bright and early in our rented farm cottage and soon on our way for our first visit to this school. Unfortunately, the gremlins beat us to it, and on our arrival we were told that building alterations had put the school projector out of action. However, whilst we sipped a welcome cup of tea to steady our nerves, a ‘rescue party’ of school maintenance staff and senior teachers remedied the situation and we were soon ‘good to go’!

My planned time with 205 year 5’s and 6’s was cut from 90 minutes to one hour, but I launched into my full blown Mokee Joe presentation and somehow got through the six-book series in the allocated time. I sensed the audience were pleasantly stunned by the end of the hour and were appropriately ‘fired up’ to pick up a book (one of mine of course) and READ!!  Job done!  We found out how well the job had been done when we returned the next day for our book signing. Watch this space!

Day 2. Well…the book signing was amazing! The Year 5’s and 6’s were queued out of the library door waiting to

Memorial in Leighton  Buzzard

get their hands on the Mokee Joe books. And so many of our new fans purchased the entire series of six books! Prior to the signing we presented our new book Poppy Warrior to the Year 7’s and 8’s. They too proved a great audience. It’s always a challenge to engage this older age group, but the Gilbert Inglefield ‘oldies’ were great. Lots of them acquired signed copies of the book during their own signing and the feedback from everyone was more than encouraging!

A BIG thank you to Mrs Lewin and everyone at the school for looking after us so well. We really hope we managed to make World Book Week a bit special for you.

Day 3. A reunion with a teacher friend of ours, Mrs Jones, at her new school (new to her!), the St Thomas Moore Catholic High School in Bedford. We decided to go all out with the scary stuff and present her Year 7’s with Scabbajack and Dawn Demons. It was a great setting with the screen and projector in their theatre/drama studio and very soon the audience were squirming in their seats, but loving every minute of it.

             Bedford Boys Prep

Day 4. World Book Day. A visit to Bedford Boy’s Prep School brought back memories of my own teaching days at Cheam Prep School in Berkshire. We were only there for the morning and worked hard with two audiences (all boys of course!)…around 200 KS2 boys for the first hour, and a similar number of boys in KS3 for the second hour. Most of them were dressed up as their favourite book characters, hence a very surreal atmosphere in the stunning theatre setting! I presented my new book, Poppy Warrior, to both sets of boys and drew them tantalisingly into the story. It’s great to report that both younger and older audiences were VERY easy to present to. They joined in eagerly and when the occasion demanded it, they sat so quietly you couldn’t hear a pin drop (forgive the cliché!).  A big thank you to the boys and staff for looking after us so well. It was a real pleasure and made World Book Day very special for us…I hope for the boys too!

Day 5.  Today was a catch up day and two book signings for us!  Firstly, back to Bedford Boys Prep, and after a lovely brunch provided by our new friend and librarian, Mrs Lumley-Wood, we signed lots and lots of Poppy Warriors for VERY eager boys, desperate to get into the story and no doubt erase the ‘cliff hanger’s I’d left them on the day before! Brilliant!

Onto St Thomas Moore High School next and we couldn’t believe how many Year 7’s arrived in the library during their lunchtime to take advantage of our two book deal, complete with a free Dawn Demons poster. Many pupils gave up most of their lunchtime to get their hands on the books…very flattering from our point of view! Thank you Mrs Jones for looking after us so well. Kath and I felt sad when the time came to depart. That’s one part of my job I don’t like; you spend such a short time with new friends and old friends before it’s off and away and on to the next school!

Well…that’s it. Another World Book Week comes to a close. Believe it or not I’ve just been booked for the next one in 2021! I hope I survive that long! Kath and I thank you all for such a great week and we hope you enjoyed this special literary time of the year as much as we did. See you all again soon.

PJM

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