This post was written by peterjmurray on April 28th, 2022 3:56 pm Comments Off on SMILES ON THE ISLE!

We’re back on the Isle of Wight…Yeahhhh!

        Great Dover Park audience!

Shortly after the Easter break Mokee Joe was spotted in Lymington, sneaking aboard a ferry destined for Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. Kath and I were not surprised! This monster follows us everywhere; and so it was that the juniors of Dover Park Primary in Ryde were soon bracing themselves as Mokee Joe made himself known in their fabulous school hall on a bright-but-sunny Monday morning.

We spent a very pleasant hour and a half talking to Years 3 to 6, and by the end of the presentation they were not only keen to get their hands on the Mokee Joe books, but also to accept the challenge to have as many pupils as possible adopting the latest Molly ‘Space Buns’ hairstyle at the subsequent book signing.

    New IOW Molly Space Buns Record?

This challenge is really starting to catch on. And sure enough, the very next day no less than 15 pupils in this one-form-entry school were showing off their ‘Princess Leah’ Space Buns! Although this was a long way off the recent ‘smash record’ of 51 pairs of Space Buns, achieved just before the Easter break by Bader Primary in the NE of the mainland, we decided to accept the Dover Park effort as the current Isle of Wight record – much to their pleasure!

A big thank you to Mrs Kirby and all of the Dover Park Primary staff and pupils for giving us such a good start to our second wave of IOW school visits.



This post was written by peterjmurray on April 24th, 2022 2:19 pm Comments Off on CHARMED IN YARM

Back in Yarm for the run-up to the Easter break, and no better place to be than in and around our favourite market town. Our good friend and librarian at Conyers High School, Kim Dawson, arranged our visits and then sadly went down with the dreaded Covid virus! It was so sad visiting her lovely school and her not being there, especially as we presented for the first time in their brand new school hall. The screen was ‘Movie Size’ and our images looked striking to say the least!

                 Fans at Northfield

Visits to Northfield School and Sports College, Conyers

Fantastic organisation by Conyers ‘helpers’

HighSchool and Bader Primary proved an excellent way to round off the Easter term. The first two schools provided large audiences of Year 7’s, followed by a large audience of KS2 pupils at Bader Primary. The battle of the ‘Space Buns’ record continued, but neither Northfield or Conyers could beat the record of 20 set at our Granddaughter’s school at St Barts (see earlier blog). Although it was interesting to see all of the Conyers book lovers and helpers sporting the hairstyle.

            Bader Primary SMASH the ‘Molly Space Bun’ record

But a HUGE surprise was about to follow during our last signing at Bader Primary. This amazing school turned out no less than 51 pupils looking fab with their Molly hairstyles. This record included one boy (who looked great by the way) and did not include the two TA’s also shown in the picture. To say I was moved by the sight in front of me would be a gross understatement. I’ve already asked David, the Headteacher, to acquire two framed pictures at my expense – one for the school library and one for us to have at home – and unforgettable moment in our long author career!

Thank you so much to all three schools for accommodating us at such a busy time of the term. We hope you think it was worth it…no question in our mind! What a great ending to the Spring Term. See you all again soon…and don’t each too much chocolate!



This post was written by peterjmurray on April 24th, 2022 1:55 pm Comments Off on WHITE WOODS MULTI ACADEMY TRUST

All three schools in the White Woods Multi Academy Trust, each very local to us, proved that you don’t need to travel far to have a fab time whilst gathering another host of new fans and supporters of our work.


Whiston Juniors, Whiston Worrygoose and Dinnington Primary all gave us a great welcome; the staff and pupils being totally enthusiastic about our books and presentation.   Mokee Joe went down a storm, as usual, and lots of pupils provided a great source of amusement in donning the ‘Molly Space Buns’ hairstyle the next day during the book signing. In fact Whiston Juniors set up their own in-school hairdressing salon ensuring that just about every KS2 pupil was equipped with the new hairstyle – a mass of elastic bands being used up in the process. Alas, we could not accept their number of Space Buns as the new record…it’s in the rules (that we just made up!) that the pupils must acquire their own hairstyle at home prior to the school signing day (Mums and big sisters are allowed to help!)

Seriously, it was a brilliant week spent in these three VERY keen reading schools. Will we ever forget our two Dinnington singers, Skye and Kayla (hope I haven’t spelt your names wrong?) performing their own Mokee Joe song…Kath and I were more than impressed!

I was also proud to sign my name on the wall of the newly acquired library at Dinnington Primary, just above Cressiday Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon).


HUGE thank you to all three schools…hope to see you again soon.




This post was written by peterjmurray on April 12th, 2022 7:23 pm Comments Off on SOARING UP AT UPLANDS!

A good friend of ours contacted us to tell us she had taken on a new school (at least ‘new’ to her) down in Leicester. I say ‘down’ because it’s literally just a short drive down the busy M1 motorway from our base in South Yorkshire. The school in question is Uplands Juniors L.E.A.D. Academy and is a big 4-form entry KS2 school. Our friend and Headteacher, Mrs Carlisle, asked us if we would help stir up enthusiasm in reading at this big inner-city Leicester school.

Eager Mokee Joe readers at Uplands in their Quiet Area

Well, I have to say it was an easy job to do! The staff, pupils and everyone concerned with the school gave us the most fabulous welcome and and all seemed more-than-interested in our visit before we’d even got started. We launched ourselves into a full-scale Mokee Joe presentation with 240 lower KS2 pupils in the morning, and a repeat performance for upper KS2 in the afternoon. Exhausting, but well worth the effort! Both presentations went down a storm and by the end of the day it felt as if the entire school community had firmly established themselves as keen fans as well as being our very good friends!

But nothing could have prepared us for the overwhelming experience of the book signing the next day!

Fortunately we had two amazing lady assistants to help organise and bring our willing fans to us to acquire books; a HUGE ‘thank you’ to Muntaz and Fariday – I don’t think we could have managed without you!

Lots of Space Buns in evidence at Uplands!MASSIVE ‘thank you’ to them); the book signing just went on and on and we couldn’t have managed without them. The Molly Space Buns hairstyle was also in evidence and this just added to the fun of the event.

We lost count of the books I signed, but it must rank as one of the biggest signings I can remember. Kath and I made a point of speaking to every child and it should be pointed out that every pupil without exception was a delight to talk to…polite, friendly and VERY enthusiastic.

The whole two days we spent at Uplands passed only too quickly and we’re so grateful to Mrs Carlisle for inviting us there. We’re already planning to be back in September, and quite frankly, it can’t come soon enough. Hope everyone at Uplands has a lovely break over Easter and please keep in touch until we see you again.

PJM (and Kath with a ‘K’)


This post was written by peterjmurray on April 2nd, 2022 2:51 pm Comments Off on BLOWN AWAY AT ST BARTS!

It was with some trepidation that we visited our lovely granddaughter’s school down in Newbury, Berkshire! The last thing we, or our granddaughter, wanted was an author visit that didn’t come up to expectation! That would have resulted in diminished ‘street cred’ in both parties!

We needn’t have worried!

The presentation at St Bartholomew’s School (affectionately known as St Barts) to around 270 Year 7’s and around 60 Year 6’s from nearby St Nic’s and John Rankin primary schools, went down a storm! The audience were brilliant – one hundred percent attentive and always interacting wonderfully at all the right moments. By the end of the presentation, our granddaughter had no worries about being related to the author and was even brave enough to take a stand so that the audience could see who she was!

The next day there was a real ‘buzz’ in the library as around 100 Year 7’s queued to acquire signed copies of the books. What really

           Space Buns everywhere!

impressed us was the way that some of the older students rallied round to assist as our ‘Mokee Joe fans’ waited patiently in the line. The other thing that really impressed us was the number of Year 7 girls who had adopted the ‘Molly-character ‘Space Buns’ hairstyle. They all looked amazing and I felt so proud that so many girls had gone to the trouble! MASSIVE THANKS! We took a fab photo of the girls and as soon as I  get the go ahead I will include it in this blog. Watch this space!

       Great workshop with Year 7

Book signing over, it was straight into a workshop with around 20 Year 7’s, starting first with a Q and A session, followed by a writing challenge to create a character of their own. The real challenge was to SHOW us the character by describing how that character behaved in a dramatic scene, rather than TELLING us directly about the character. Molly, in the Mokee Joe series was used as a good example. Once more the pupils reacted brilliantly and threw themselves (not literally!) into their writing tasks. We hope to see some of their finished work in the near future, but the signs were good. Some of the Year 7’s (in fact most of them!) were only too keen to read out their work-in-progress.

Kath and I felt genuinely sad to leave St Barts after such a fabulous couple of days and we cant thank the pupils and staff enough. Needless to say we intend to return before too long, and there is currently discussion underway to embark on something along the lines of forming a stronger link with the school. But you will have to wait on that one ( SUSPENSE is my favourite word).

  • Final thanks to Mr Randall and to the librarians Ms Hewetson (and her assistant, Caroline), for all of their help and brilliant organisation of our visit.

Hope you all enjoy the books, have a great end to the term and a very happy Easter.


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