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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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