Chris


Beanstalk Celebration of Reading

Beanstalk and Jon Snow

Recently, I had the pleasure of celebrating a new collaboration between Beanstalk (a charity for helping to get kids reading) and McCarthy & Stone (a retirement house builder).

It was an ideal opportunity for me to meet some Beanstalk volunteers, as I have been considering becoming a volunteer myself. They all spoke so positively about their experiences of reading one-to-one with pupils who are struggling with reading. I was one of those kids myself. Reading was extremely hard work when I was young and as a result I didn’t read much at all. I certainly never read at home or for my own pleasure, which is something I wish I had done. I’m busy catching up on all the wonderful children’s books now, but feel like I missed out on so much of the magic of a young reader getting lost in an amazing story.

It was a lovely morning where I also got to meet the wonderful Beanstalk staff and author – and Beanstalk volunteer – Matt Oldfield, who writes fantastic football stories. There was also a chap called Jon Snow – Channel 4 News legend!! He was a real gent. It was brilliant to have such an esteemed reader supporting the event. And his socks were just as jazzy as his tie!!

As for myself – yes, I have started the process to become a volunteer. I’m excited and also nervous. But really looking forward to it. Hopefully, I’ll help young readers, like myself, to discover the pure joy of reading.


Patron of Reading

Patron of Reading, Chris Callaghan, The Great ChocoplotIt’s a huge honour and pleasure to be the new Patron of Reading at West Thornton Primary School in Croydon.

Last year, as a Northerner, this was the first London school that invited me to come in for an author visit. I was hugely impressed with the fantastic welcome I received, and the incredible school itself. It is such a stunning building. When my family and I moved into the capital, we were delighted that my wife became the Deputy Head there. What a coincidence!!

I’m convinced my role as Patron was nothing to do with my wife … but I’m sure it helped!

It’s a school, and an area, that has a lot of challenges ahead. I’m delighted to be part of the big plans that are being put into place to build upon the character and enthusiasm that so clearly exists. It’s an exciting time and I’m a little nervous, if I’m honest, but I can’t wait to get involved.

Reading should be a pure pleasure. I hope to encourage the joy of reading and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot along the way.

West Thornton, Patron of Reading, Chris Callaghan, The Great Chocoplot


Chrismassy Thank You

Christmas Thank you

One of the pleasures of being a children’s author is connecting with my readers. I love hearing comments and seeing art and stories generated from my book. I don’t mean that in an egotistical way (although, there is a bit of that!), but I always learn something from this too. Hopefully, that will make me a better writer.

I had the honour of a school choosing my book to be a name of a group of pupils – ‘The Great Chocoplot Group’ has a nice ring to it, do you think?!. We’ve exchanged a few things and it’s been great seeing all their fantastic work.

To say ‘thank you’, I did a little video, which is something I don’t do very often. But as they had been so amazing, I felt I had to up my game!

I got a lot of help from my daughter (a youtube whizz!) and quite enjoyed it. Maybe (maybe) I’ll do more and even consider doing some Skype calls to schools – see, always something to learn!

Thank you to Kestrel Class for all your work this year – the video is here, if anyone is interested!!

And a very Happy Christmas to you all (don’t forget to eat plenty of chocolate!)


New Chocoplot School Resources

It’s been wonderful hearing of schools using my book as part of their lessons or topic work (although it is still just as wonderful hearing of children reading it purely for a giggle!). I’m often asked about school resources … so, I’m delighted to reveal that Educational Consultant supremo, Jane Considine and The Training Space have put together some amazing English Unit Plans for Year 4 around The Great Chocoplot.

And they are FREE!

Check them out and download here.

How amazing is that?!

Investigate Jane’s book The Write Stuff, which compliments and further explains the Units.

More resources to follow very soon.

 


London Calling

The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, London schools, Chocopocalypse

 

 

A little while ago, my family and I made the huge move from Newcastle to London. It’s been stressful, if I’m honest, but our welcome has been wonderful. I’ve already had the pleasure of visiting a few schools in and around our capital and it’s been amazing.

The schools down here are MASSIVE!! Leading to extremely loud assemblies!

If you work in a school, or know of one in the London area (although I do travel too) and you’d like me to come along and share my silly chocolatey story, please get in touch with Authors Aloud – the lovely people who help me arrange visits.

I’d love to visit your school.


Chocopocalypse Apocalypse Update

The problems regarding getting copies of The Great Chocoplot that so many have been having – and which have been causing LOTS of problems for my events – are about to be over!

The lovely people at Chicken House Books are printing a whole load more and they will be (apparently) available from Tuesday next week (16th October).

I am incredibly sorry to anyone who has been trying to get their hands on one – especially to schools keen to use them in topic work. It has been a very frustrating time and completely out of my hands, but I am grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding.

I have my fingers firmly crossed that everything will be back to normal very soon!!


Chocopocalypse Apocalypse Now

Chocopocalypse, Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, chocolate

I’ve been hearing that some schools have been having difficulties getting copies of ‘The Great Chocoplot’ in advance of the start of the new academic year. My lovely publishers at Chicken House are aware of the problem from some distributors (Amazon are showing a wait of months!!) and we will try and sort this out.

There are plenty of ways to get copies, so I’d be grateful if you have any difficulties to try other routes. Obviously, there are libraries and your local bookshops, but there are plenty available at Waterstones.com. You could even be adventurous and get the American version – which is pretty much the same, they’ve just changed the names of some of the bars of chocolate! And the kindle version is easily available.

I’m sorry to anyone who is having difficulties and appreciate your patience!


Crazy Days!

It’s been a mad few weeks, for all the best reasons.

The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, Hexham, Waterstones, ChocopocalypseI’ve been book signing in a number of Waterstones. Yeah – like a proper grown-up author with a chair, table and everything! Getting to scribble in a book that you’ve written, for someone who is going to read it, is crazy wonderful! And quite nerve-wracking. I’m always worried no one is going to turn up. Luckily, quite a few did, and they were all lovely. I’m still doing more to come, so please keep checking my ‘Events’ page.

Also, I was involved in a mad cap scheme called the ‘Great North Author Tour’, alongside fellow writers Dan Smith, Em Lynas, Chloe Daykin and the incredible (soon to become legendary) Richard from Drake’s Bookshop. We were celebrating the start of Independent Book Shop Week by visiting six independent book shops scattered around our region (see earlier post for venues). We received such a warm welcome in all the shops – although I suspect that most of the customers didn’t have a clue who we were! It was so much fun and I’m sure this is an event that will get bigger and bigger.

Forum Books, The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, ChocopocalypseIt was a thrill to be invited along to the North East Book Awards – even though I wasn’t nominated (but I’m not bitter!). It was exciting, but terrifying, to be sharing a stage with a host of amazing authors like Ross Welford (nominated for ‘The 1000 Year Old Boy’ and who did some magic!), Mitch Johnson (nominated for ‘Kick’ and speaking intensely about child labour in Indonesia) and my fellow ‘Tour’ authors Chloe Daykin and Dan Smith. We listened to the passionate readers on why they had enjoyed reading the fantastic shortlist. Huge congratulations to Helena Duggan (who unfortunately couldn’t be there) for winning the award with ‘A Place Called Perfect’. It was a wonderful evening.

North East Book Awards, Chris Callaghan, The Great Chocoplot, The Chocopocalypse

There’s also been my regular school visits too. It’s been hectic, but so much fun.

The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, Chocopocalypse, Waterstones    The Great North Author Tour, The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, Chocopocalypse

And there’s lots more coming. So please stayed tuned …


The Great North Author Tour – Sat 16th June

I’m delighted to be part of the first ever ‘Great North Author Tour’ on Saturday 16th June.

It’s been organised by the fantastic and award winning Drake’s Bookshop and I’ll be touring independent bookshops alongside fellow writers Dan Smith, Chloe Daykin and Em Lynas.

Great North Author Tour, The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan

It’s part of Independent Bookshop Week and we’ll be calling at:

09:30 – 10:00 Forum Books, Corbridge

11:15 – 11:45 Drake’s Bookshop, Stockton

12:15 – 12:45 The Book Corner, Saltburn

13:30 – 14:00 Guisborough Bookshop, Guisborough

14:45 – 15:15 The White Book Cafe, Thirsk

15:45 – 16:15 The Little Ripon Bookshop, Ripon

Independent bookshops are huge supporters of all authors (not just the celebrities or heavily promoted ones!). They are also an important part of our book community, offering readers a knowledgable and enthusiastic service. It’s a pleasure to be a part of it. It would be brilliant to see lots of friendly faces along the way, but you can keep up to date with the tour on the day with

#greatnorthauthortour

It should be a lot of fun!!


Mini Chocoplot ‘Book Signing Tour’!

Can I call it a Book Signing Tour if I’m visiting a few places soon to sign some books? Yes?! OK, I will. I’m thrilled to be on the road on a new ‘Book Signing Tour’ over the next few weeks. I’ll be popping into a few Waterstones and visiting the countryside to take part in my first ever County Show. I hope those country folk will be kind to this city boy! Really thrilled and grateful to have been invited along to the following:

 

 

Sat 26th May 2018 – Waterstones Darlington – I’ll be book signing between 11am – 2pm

Bank Holiday Monday 28th May 2018 – Northumberland County Show – Schedule to be confirmed, but I’ll be there somewhere!

Sat 2nd June 2018 – Waterstones Sunderland – I’ll be around from 11am until 2pm

Sat 23rd June – Waterstones Hexham – Times to be confirmed, but possibly 11am – 2pm like the rest!

 

It would be great to see some friendly and enthusiastic readers waving copies of ‘The Great Chocoplot’ at me. So please come along and say ‘hello’!