BACK ON THE ISLE OF WIGHT

This post was written by peterjmurray on November 24th, 2021 3:32 pm Comments Off on BACK ON THE ISLE OF WIGHT

Kath and I love spending time on this wonderful island. I’ve been coming to the IOW ever since I was a young child and have always been captivated by it’s strange atmosphere of history and timelessness. It’s the ideal place to inspire the writing of my creepy stories. In fact, I’ve already started a new compilation of spooky tales set in various locations around the isle. But that’s all I’m prepared to say about it for now. ‘Watch this space,’ as they say!

    Mokee Joe strikes again!!

Right now, I’m taken up with Bembridge Primary School. It’s new to me and Kath, but the headteacher is an old friend (not really old!) and her name is Mrs Chambers. We’ve worked together several times at her old school (again…not really old!) at Broadlea Primary. This morning I performed my dramatic Mokee Joe presentation, but only focussing on the trilogy of the first three books. I’m pleased about that, because it gives me a chance to return and present books 4,5 amd 6. Bembridge Primary is a school that any author would be glad to return to!

Today’s audience of Years 4,5 and 6 were a joy to perform in front of.  They were soooooooo enthusiastic and keen to join in at every opportunity, and presenting just the first three books gave

         Kath with a new friend!

me more time to interact with the audience. We had some real laughs as pupils came on stage and helped bring to life several of the story’s dramatic scenes – especially the part where Hudson meets Mokee Joe for the first time in the local supermarket. That was a scream!  We can’t wait to return tomorrow to sign books for our new fans.

In between school visits we love to visit all our favourite haunts around the island. We called in to Ventnor recently to the Spy Glass Inn. I love the atmosphere in this old ‘smugglers’ inn; it’s crammed full of all manner of marine artefacts. But Kath always seems to get drawn into meeting up with some of the old sailors. The guy in the picture was so big I hardly dare challenge him when he insisted on buying Kath a drink!

PJM

BACK WITH A BANG!

This post was written by peterjmurray on November 13th, 2021 10:51 am Comments Off on BACK WITH A BANG!

Since returning from the Isle of Man, our feet have hardly touched the ground!

Two days at Serlby Park Academy, a visit to Willoughby Road Primary, and visits to very local schools  – Willow Primary School, Hooton Pagnall Primary, Wath Victoria Primary and finally to West Melton PrimaryPhew!

Pete with his great friend, the REAL Miss Robinson!

Our great friend, Miss Robinson, welcomed us into Serlby Park Academy to perform POPPY WARRIOR, first to a KS2 audience, followed by a presentation to Years 7 to 9 in KS3. With Remembrance Day just around the corner, the WW1-themed book was more than appropriate and both audiences embraced the topic totally. The audiences loved the fact that many of the characters in the story are real teachers at the real Pheasant Bank Academy…including their own Headteacher, Miss Robinson, who was Head at Pheasant Bank at the time of writing…Though it has

Poppy scarves in abundance at Serlby Park Academy!

to be said that the real Mr Schofield stole the show again, the image of his glaring expression creating spookiness and humour at the same time! A big ‘thank you’ to all at Serlby Park Academy for hosting us so well over our time there, and I would like to add that the older KS3 audience were one of the most attentive audiences I can remember…a real credit to this lovely school.

It was off to another Delta School next to visit our friends at Willoughby Road Primary Academy in ‘Sunny Scunthorpe’. And it really was the most glorious sunny day! The only problem was the sun glaring through the car windscreen as we headed east along the M180! But we made it safely and another KS2 audience were once more taken up by our POPPY WARRIOR presentation in a packed hall. Mrs Jupp and her lovely staff looked after us in their usual VERY hospitable way and each and every one of the pupils were a pleasure to be with. The book signing the next day saw so many signed copies of the books passing into eager hands. We also got some great feed back including some inspired work from several of the pupils. Thank you to everyone at the school for giving us such a brilliant second visit. We can’t wait to be back again. I really do need to get on with the next book!

Pete at Willow Primary, sitting by amazing entrance display.

Schools almost on our doorstep were next in line. First local visit was to Willow Primary and a return to Mokee Joe! I have to say that I still get most pleasure from performing this spooky presentation of my first ever book! It creates such a ‘buzz’, especially when I don my Mokee Joe outfit and chase some very brave KS2 pupil around the school hall! A large audience of Years 4 and 5 were totally taken up by the ‘Mokee Joe Experience’ and by the end of the performance it seemed we had recruited a new small army of MJ fans! This was certainly borne out the following day when we ran out

         Great story from Dusty

of MJ books during a hectic book-signing. But at least it gave us an excuse to return a few days later to sign more books for the rest of our new fans. In addition to the MJ response, this school has totally embraced my books, and in particular, Bonebreaker. I can’t remember seeing so much book-inspired work produced from so many keen KS2 pupils. It was touching to say the least to see a wonderful picture of one of the pupils (Arthur), dressed up as the ferocious Sigard the Bonebreaker on the school’s Viking Day. I was also presented with a short book by Dusty (love the name), and I’ve included a pic of her work here because it was so neat and well-presented.  ‘Well Done’ to everyone at the Willow Primary – fab staff and fab pupils creating a real reading culture in their lovely school.

Lovely Willoughby Road POPPY WARRIOR -inspired work

Three more local visits followed to Hooton Pagnall Primary (very difficult to find!), Wath

Erynne from Year 5 at Wath Victoria gave me her exciting book to read – GREAT!

Victoria Primary (very hard car park to get into) and West Melton Primary. These three schools are all members of the James Montgomery Academy Trust and I have to say that there was a great feeling of ‘togetherness’ in each of the schools between staff and pupils. We thorough enjoyed presenting POPPY WARRIOR to three extremely attentive and willing KS2 audiences. I would also like to add that I was flattered to be invited to Wath Victoria on the day of their OFSTED inspection. They had complete confidence in me as I stood before a large 2-form entry audience, including a very ominous OFSTED inspector. Thankfully, all went more than well and I’ve heard that the gentlemen in question was taken up with the WW1-themed book (it turned out he was a historian…phew!) It was also special to be presenting the POPPY WARRIOR story during the actual week of remembrance. In fact, the presentation at West Melton was on Remembrance Day, the finish being just ten minutes before the eleven-o-clock two minutes silence. We still have to do our book signing here on Monday next (can’t wait to see them all again) and then we’re almost done until after Christmas.  Just one more school on the Isle of Wight would you believe!

But what a time we’ve had. So many great schools and hoards of KS2 pupils keen to work with us on our literacy-inspired visits.

Like I said earlier…I really do need to get on with the next book!

PJM

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