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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’)

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