This post was written by peterjmurray on March 20th, 2022 11:46 am Comments Off on OOOH…ECK(INGTON)!

Dare you enter the world of Mokee Joe!

Following World Book Week, it was off to not-so-far-away Eckington to meet up with a large audience of Year 7’s at Eckington High School. Helen, the lovely librarian, was there to greet us and before long we were in action telling the life-changing story of how I became an author and created the infamous Mokee Joe. The pupils were great and I was quite moved to get a cheer at the end – hopefully because they enjoyed it and not because they’d had enough! We were so taken up with the response that we made an on the spot decision to donate half of the book sales the following day to the Ukraine appeal. Having such a good life as we do, visiting lots of great schools and meeting so many nice people, only accentuates the misery of those poor people out in Ukraine suddenly finding themselves homeless and destitute! It’s therefore pleasing to report that the book-signing was a huge success and a very significant sum of money was left at the school towards the appeal. Thanks to everyone at Eckington School for looking after us so well and responding to our visit in such a positive way. Hope the Year 7’s enjoy the books!

     Great time at Holme Hall Primary

Next port of call…Holme Hall Primary School in Chesterfield. Wow! This cosy small school

New record – TEN girls with the Molly ‘Space Buns’ hairstyle!

was so keen for our return visit and to say we had a great time again is an understatement. The one-form entry audience really enjoyed the presentation, including the Year 6’s who had seen a similar Mokee Joe presentation back in the day when they were in Year 3! The book signing the next day was tremendous, with Years 3 to 5 keen to acquire signed copies of the books, and Year 6 equally keen to top up their supply from those they already had. Thanks to all the staff and pupils at this lovely school and we hope to be back with our Bonebreaker presentation next year (Already requested! Great!)

Finally for the week, it was back to Eckington, but this time to Eckington Junior School, old friends of ours! We’ve always loved our visits to this school and this trip proved no exception. In fact, I would say that this was one of our best visits to date! The MJ (not Michael Jackson!) presentation went down a storm and we had a fab time at the book signing the next day; so many girls were inspired to appear with the Molly ‘Space Buns’ hairstyle! The current record of SIX girls with the hairstyle at Sheffield Girls High School was smashed, with no fewer than TEN girls adopting the style here at EJS.

Pete with teacher and former pupil, Jade

Just to make me feel old, we met up with one of the teachers, Jade, who told me she’d already got some signed copies of the Mokee Joe books from when she’d been a pupil at the school during one of my visits some year ago! Well, she enjoyed the new presentation, and I’m pleased to say that she quickly acquired the later books to complete the series!

Big ‘thank you’ to Kirsty, Jade, Mrs Cherry and all of the staff for being such good hosts. Hope to be back next year!



This post was written by peterjmurray on March 6th, 2022 5:23 pm Comments Off on A BLISTERING WORLD BOOK WEEK!

We decided to visit local schools close to our South Yorkshire base for World Book Week, and what better schools than Sheffield Girls High School, and Birkdale Prep School…both in the Broomhill area of Sheffield and right in the heart of the University ‘buzz’ zone!

It  was also a return to roots for me and Kath, as Kath was born and brought up on good old ‘Ecky Road’, and places like the Botanical Gardens, The Nursery Tavern and other localities stand firm in my memory of when we were going out together.

Kath with Katherine (after the transformation!)

Kath with Katherine (before the transformation)

A friend of ours, Katherine Russell, is the librarian at the Girls High School. She used to be in charge of children’s books at Waterstones in the nearby Meadowhall Shopping Centre, and she has always been an enthusiastic supporter of our books. It was great to link up with her again…and didn’t she look great in her World Book Day outfit! She was more than embarrassed when I told her she looked rather fetching in it! Well, we had a great time with the girls from Years 4 through to 7. They packed into the senior school hall and proved a very enthusiastic audience for our presentation. Lots of girls queued up around Katherine’s lovely library to acquire signed books the next day and I have to say we were a bit reluctant to leave after having had such a great time. We will be back!

After having a very busy time in and around the locality, it was Birkdale Prep School next, very close the Girls School. The audience of around 100 boys and just five girls (they’ve recently gone Co-ed), were dressed as their favourite book characters for

Lots of fab ‘Molly Space Buns’ at Sheffield Girls High

Lovely librarian ‘Becky Poppins’ at Birkdale Prep

World Book Day. And what a day we had! The lovely Mary Poppins (AKA Becky the Librarian), could not do enough for us to make sure our visit on this very special day was ‘special’. The audience went crazy for the Mokee Joe presentation and I’ve a feeling that next year this fab school will have one or two Mokee Joe characters turning into school on the big day! Just to make the day even more special, one of the boys was called Hudson, after the name of the super hero in the Mokee Joe series. In my 17 years as an author, I’ve only met three Hudsons and one of those was whilst we were working in New York. Hudson embraced his sudden rise to fame and queued up with his peers the next day to acquire a full set of books. Good luck, Hudson. You’re going to need it!

Ethan and Brogyn, two World Book Day stars!

Thanks to all staff and pupils at both schools for giving us such a good time and fond memories

Alfie (like George, his brother) wearing an amazing ‘Mokee Joe Book 4 Hat’ at Rockingham Primary

for sure of a World Book Week when so many of us need something positive to focus on with so much distressing news surrounding us all today. As I always remind the pupils in front of us, reading is such a great way to let your imagination run loose and allow your imagination to run loose; a great means of escape from the harsh reality that sometimes surrounds us.

Meanwhile, it turned out that our last school on the Isle of Wight before leaving for the North, Queensgate Primary, had totally embraced the Mokee Joe books and two ‘stars’ of World Book Day at the school, Ethan and Brogyn, are are shown in the pic. Don’t they look great!

I also happened to notice on my Twitter page, some lovely pics from lots of schools I’ve visited recently, in particular lovely group photos at Conyers High School, in Yarm, lots of Molly hairstyles at Sheffield Girls High, two fab top hats being worn at Rockingham Primary in Kimberworth, Rotherham…the list goes on! MASSIVE THANK YOU’S TO YOU ALL.

Book lovers at Conyers High School with copies of Ten O’ Clock Caller


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