This post was written by peterjmurray on January 30th, 2022 3:13 pm Comments Off on WICKERSLEY NORTHFIELD MJ HYSTERIA!

Mokee Joe strikes twice in one day!

After the expected ‘mega’ book signing at Brimington Juniors, we prepared for what we thought might be a more ‘sedate’ author visit to our very local Wickersley Northfield Primary.  The school is a two-form entry and it’s at least four years since we last ventured there. Due to Covid restrictions I’d agreed to have two KS2 year groups in the morning, and the other two in the afternoon. Two Mokee Joe presentations in one day is not an easy task for an ageing author presenter like me, but I was in the mood and really went for it. How can you not when you find yourself in front of a sea of beaming faces ready to engage in the most brilliant way possible!!

Well…the hard work more than paid off. Nothing could have prepared us for the reception we got the

Molly’s new hairstyle (Space Buns)

next day when we arrived at 9.15am to carry out our book-signing!  The first thing was the great feedback from Miss Middleton (head teacher) and staff as to how fired up the children had been after our visit. Always nice to hear! Secondly, it was interesting to discover that some of the girls had arrived in school that morning with the latest ‘Molly hairstyle’. We’d talked about this during our presentation. I’ve inserted a pic here for referral. The hairstyle is called ‘Space buns’ for those not familiar with it.  I would like Kath to adopt it, but she’s not keen! Can’t think why! Two lovely sisters at the school, Eve and May, both sported the latest Molly hairstyle and posed for a pic with me and Kath. Hope you like it.

Eve and May with ‘Molly hairstyles’. Brilliant!

…Back to the book signing! It started at 9.30am and by lunchtime we’d still three of the eight classes to go! In fact we had to return home (good job we live nearby!) to re-stock with most of the books in the six-book series. I finally signed the last book at just before 3pm at the end of school. Phew!

All in all it was the most brilliant visit with so many positives coming out of it. We even donated a full classroom set of the Spanish version of the first Mokee Joe book after finding out that Spanish was popular in the school and taught in the curriculum! It was also great to learn that some of the classes had downloaded my spooky football story (Kruschmeister) from my website and were enjoying it as a class read.

Well, Wickersley Northfield Primary…you certainly proved one thing to us. We don’t need to travel far from our doorstep to find a real ‘Reading School’! We will be back! You can count on that!



This post was written by peterjmurray on January 22nd, 2022 4:26 pm Comments Off on STRUGGLING TO COPE WITH MOKEE JOE!

Three more ‘cracking’ schools over the last week in and around Rotherham. Greasbrough Primary, Herringthorpe Juniors and Brimington Juniors provided pupils with an insatiable thirst for books about all things scary! The ‘scary’ in question being Mokee Joe!

Two keen fans at Greasbrough Primary ‘absorbing’ the Mokee Joe books!

Covid restrictions have resulted in some of the larger schools

                 Busy, busy, busy!

asking for two presentations instead of one: lower KS2  in the morning, followed by upper KS2 in the afternoon. Hence the week has been very tiring, but very fulfilling. Even more tiring, (but fulfilling) has been the huge numbers of books I’ve had to sign for our adoring fans! It never fails to amaze me just how many pupils queue up to get their hands on all six books in the MJ series. Having said that, lots of pupils have made use of their surplus Christmas money and I’m entirely in agreement with their parents that signed books by authors are a good choice of purchase; something they can hopefully keep on their bookshelves and treasure into adulthood.

Our book signings take a long time because I insist on chatting briefly with every child. It’s quite touching just how polite and friendly our young clients are towards us, and in mine and Kath’s opinion a book signing should be much more than simply acquiring a book. It’s a ‘special’ moment in a child’s life! Sorry…I’ll get off my ‘soap box’!

I would like to say that all three Rotherham schools we have just visited, as part of the Willow Tree Academy Trust, have been wonderful to visit. Without exception, every pupil and member of staff have given us a warm welcome and have valued the impact of our book presentations. I have chased pupils around the school hall, read ‘scary’ readings, cracked my jokes (albeit some old ones!) and subsequently signed books for them. All in all…GREAT FUN…which is what it should be! Another important aspect of our resumed school visits is that some form of normality is being experienced – which is more than a good thing after all that everyone has been through! Long may it continue!

Oh well, we’ll try and get some well-earned R&R this weekend. We have an expected HUGE book-signing at Brimington Juniors on Monday afternoon and then more school visits to follow.

We will gladly ‘struggle’ to cope with the success of our books and I will sign for our fans until my arm drops off! Bring it on!



This post was written by peterjmurray on January 14th, 2022 7:43 pm Comments Off on BACK IN THE SWING!!

We have had the most amazing few days at Pheasant Bank Academy and Mary Swanwick Primary School. It’s been nothing short of fantastic and to say that Kath and I now feel well and truly back into the swing of things is an understatement!

Beautiful Display at Pheasant Bank Academy

Pheasant Bank Academy holds a special place for us (and always will!). It’s where we were inspired to write my POPPY WARRIOR book, and it was great to see that the display boards in the school are still testament to this fact. The headteacher at that time was Mrs Pippa Robinson (a very good friend of ours); she has now moved on to Serlby Park Academy where we visited recently. Her successor as Head to Pheasant Bank is another good friend, Mr Ryan Schofield (both he and Mrs Robinson are real characters in the book). On this visit we decided to present the Mokee Joe books to Years 5 and 6. To make the visit even more interesting, our son, Simon, the author of Icky Doo Dah, visited Years 3 and 4 on the same day. WOW! The Murrays well and truly took over the school for the day and Mr Schofield and his staff hosted us like true VIP’s. A massive ‘thank you’ to them all. The pupils at the school are devoted fans to our books, and the subsequent book signings seemed to take forever! But no one is complaining! This is what authors like me need to inspire more writing and more visits. Keen fans like the Pheasant Bank pupils are our ‘bread and butter’!

Some of the many highlights of the visit:

  1. The super-fast contact to my website by a super-fan, Teagan. I also replied super-fast, so the both of us were more than super-pleased!
  2. Will we ever forget Max! He was so keen to get his hands on a Mokee Joe book 1 translated into Spanish, that he went home and wrote out and practised giving me some nice complements for my work in Spanish! How could I refuse signing the Spanish version of book 1 after that. WELL DONE, MAX!
  3. One of the teachers commented on a boy sat in a quiet corner of the playground reading the first Mokee Joe book in the full set of books he’d just purchased. The teacher told us that the boy in question does not normally have any interest in books and reading! How special is that!!

Thanks to everyone again at Pheasant Bank Academy. We WILL be back!!

From Pheasant Bank Academy, it was quickly off and onto the M1 heading south for Chesterfield. Our newly-acquired Scabbajack

Tight Covid restrictions at Mary Swanwick Primary!

and Dawn Demons fans were waiting with baited breath to get their hands on signed copies of the books. We love visiting Mary Swanwick Primary. Apart from the school being haunted and and providing added inspiration for my Poppy Warrior book, the pupils are great lovers of my spooky scary books and very brave in going for what I consider to be the two scariest books of the 17 books I’ve written. Very brave!

We signed loads of books and just in time for the weekend so that these keen pupils could bury their heads in them! I was so touched when one girl told me that she’d set the timer on her watch to count down the time to me being back to sign a book for her. That is such a complement. Who says that kids these days are not interested in books! Try telling her that!

Big thanks to all of the lovely staff, and especially to Miss Law for hosting us. We will keep in touch and be back before long. We’ve already pencilled in a Bonebreaker presentation for the not-too-distant future. See you all soon.



This post was written by peterjmurray on January 11th, 2022 5:48 pm Comments Off on MOKEE JOE GOES VIRTUAL!

Hi Everyone!

Did you have a good Christmas…and hopefully virus free??

Well, it’s good to be back with you again. A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL…from me and Kath. We sincerely hope the Covid situation will ease (as it was doing before Christmas!!) and that we will be back with you before too long. I can’t tell you how much we miss being with you in your lovely schools!

Since my last blog after arriving on the Isle of Wight, we returned to Bembridge Primary School and had an amazing book signing. Just about everyone in the school went crazy to get signed copies of the books. Wow! Such big fans at this lovely school. We will be returning very soon to cover books 4 to 6 of the Mokee Joe series and look forward to being back with our good friend Mrs Chambers (Head teacher), and hopefully, once again, to ‘wow’ our KS2 audience!

Currently, we’re back in our Northern base in South Yorkshire, visiting schools in and around Rotherham/Chesterfield. This morning I did a ‘remote’ presentation in the school hall at Roughwood Primary School. I wasn’t sure how well it would work. You can imagine standing in an empty hall in front of a giant TV screen and talking to it is to say the least  a ‘strange’ experience! The head teacher, Mr Williams, and the ‘techno expert’ , Callum, were fantastic in helping me set up and it all worked a treat. After the Mokee Joe presentation I went round each of the six KS2 classes to meet them face to face and to challenge them to answer a few questions based on the presentation. I couldn’t believe just how much info they’d all absorbed and remembered! Well done to all of them!

Tomorrow I’m presenting my Scabbajack book to the pupils of Mary Swanwick Primary in Chesterfield, before returning to Roughwood Primary to do a book signing (not virtual!!) I can’t wait to see them all again…they are lovely pupils and most of them live on the same housing estate I was brought up on…Kimberworth Park. How special is  that!

Keep watching this space. I’m going to update with more info an pics as they come in. See you soon.


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