I had a great time working with two fantastic schools in the historic venue of Castleford Library, on Thursday. Pupils from Half Acres Primary Academy came along in the morning, with Castleford Park Junior Academy arriving in the afternoon. I knew we were in for a good day when I asked them, 'Who likes to be scared?' - and every hand shot up! Loads of fun, enthusiasm and creative ideas were shared and enjoyed. They went away revved up and raring to go with their own reading and writing - and I'm sure I'll be working with these stars again in the future 👍🔥 It's to Airedale Library next, for half-term spooky story-telling!
Last week, I received a lovely email from Miss Hall, the Literacy Coordinator at Rawthorpe Juniors. The school has asked me to be their Patron of Reading. Delighted to say yes! Year 6 were brilliant to work with and I'm looking forward to working with Year 5 in World Book Week. I'll be getting involved more closely across the school in the coming months to maintain and develop the love of reading that is already ingrained in the school's philosophy. I'm blown away by the lovely comments from the Year 6 students - an absolute pleasure! Can't wait to share the sequel to Firestorm Rising with them at Easter!
I enjoyed an excellent visit, on December 5th, to Rawthorpe Junior School, to work on developing effective and atmospheric story openers. After beginning with an assembly, I followed this with separate workshops for the three Year 6 classes. A warm welcome was extended from everyone I met - and a big thank you goes to Mrs Senadhira, Miss Hall and Mr Walker, for letting me work with their classes. The enthusiasm, creativity and writing that the students produced just blew me away! They were an absolute delight to work with. They're even going to help me with some live editing and feedback on selected chapters of the forthcoming sequel to Firestorm Rising! Well done, everyone! Great school, great staff, great children. Couldn't have asked for more. Not only that, DORIS (Dispenser of Reading in School!) arrived shortly afterwards; a great initiative which allows pupils to earn tokens which they can then spend on their favourite books from the dispenser. School has already ordered several copies of Firestorm Rising to go into DORIS! Every school should have a DORIS! Have a great run-up to Christmas everyone - Firestorm 2 is coming soon, and it is sizzling! 🥳🔥
I had a fantastic time, delivering my author event in the charming Hemsworth Library. In order to get imaginations fired up and ready for the Trick or Treating later in the day, I read spooky extracts from my first novel, Firestorm Rising - and it went down a treat! The fans who joined in were superb to work with - and ages ranged from 6 to 12 years. The pictures show some of the fiendishly fun dressing up, as characters from the story :)
I also set a task for my readers to design a scary monster of their own - some of these are shown below in the photos, too! A big, big thank you to Marcia for organising the event - and to the fine folk of Hemsworth and local districts - children and parents alike!
What a joy it was to visit to Richmond House School, Leeds, today! Set in lovely buildings, in impressive grounds, the school has lashings of character - so I knew I was in for a treat. I received a very warm welcome from the office staff and, before long, I was introduced to the talented pupils in Year 5. Using Firestorm Rising as a stimulus, we explored techniques used by writers to develop atmosphere in stories. The children were amazing at identifying techniques such as using setting, selecting powerful mood words, and showing not telling. After this, there was no shortage of volunteers to come up to the front and put on costumes, wigs and props, as we role-played a scene from the book!
Following a refreshing cuppa and a very more-ish banana muffin, with the friendly staff at break time, we explored atmospheric techniques with Year 6, in a little more depth. And, of course, the role-play session had plenty of Oscar winning actors taking to the stage! I would like to thank everyone at Richmond House - pupils and staff alike - for their generous hospitality, especially Mrs Mullis, Deputy Head, for enabling it all to happen. I'm certain we have some budding top-notch writers coming through, from Richmond House! We've already pencilled-in next year's visit, when the much-anticipated sequel to Firestorm Rising will be released. Can't wait! John C.