Thrilled that the new 2024 Collins Big Cat International Reading Catalogue is now available. Extra thrilled that it has a double page spread of my ‘Shinoy and the Chaos Crew’ books!! This is a 48 book set with readers, graphic novels and nonfiction books. . I LOVED creating these characters and stories, and I hope children all over the world will enjoy reading them. . The nonfiction were written by cleverer folk than me, some of the reading books by the awesome Zoë Clarke and the whole lot illustrated by the amazing Amit Tayal. . Check out the catalogue here
For more details of the Shinoy and the Chaos Crew series, click the link here!
I’ve tried to be as honest as I can about this subject as there are often some misunderstandings as to why some children don’t engage with books. I hope it’s of some use for all of those amazing people who work so hard to encourage a love of stories in our young readers.
I didn’t engage with books as a child, and I will be talking about my own experiences on this subject.
I’m also going to bang on about the importance of stories, the problems with book snobbery and I’ll also try to dispel the myths that some ‘readers’ may have about ‘non-readers’, while hopefully offering some practical solutions.
I’ve been very lucky. Stories (if not books) have ALWAYS played an important part of my life. Anyone who knows me through my various career incarnations will know I’ve always had my head in the clouds. Eventually becoming a reader made a university education possible for me, as a mature student. And now, working in a world of stories is still unbelievable.
ALL children, regardless of upbringing, should have the same opportunities as everyone else – whether or not they decide to take them.
It would be lovely if you joined me. Please click on the link here for more information and to register.
Delighted to have written an article for Teach Primary Magazine about how children can improve their enjoyment and understanding of books written by authors from diverse cultures – in this case, a working class background.
I’m especially happy to be included in the same issue as one of my favourite authors and cover star, Cressida Cowell, who has written a fabulous feature about creating a sense of suspense in writing.
My article was previously published online, and can be found here.
Huge thanks to Teach Primary and HarperCollins for giving me the platform to talk about something so close to my heart.
I didn’t realise how scary my face was on virtual school visits! Or how much time I spend waving! Huge thanks to Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School for inviting me into their classroom last week. It was great (and terrifying) to see this compilation of pictures from the opposite view of what I normally get.
Unfortunately, due to medical issues, I’m not able to do in-person events just now (although I’m hopeful that will change in the next few months), but it’s great fun to be able to connect with keen young readers and writers via whizzy technology. I’m very grateful to Mrs Hodge and classes 4H and 4S for being such a friendly and enthusiastic audience.
(Photo taken from Twitter and used with permission)
There’s been a lot of talk about the Roald Dahl stories lately, so here’s a polite reminder that
OTHER BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE!
But if you are after a Dahl-esque vibe (without the controversy!) then it is delicious of The Reader Teacher and Books For Topics to include ‘The Great Chocoplot’ in their ‘BookMatch’ & ‘Branching Out’ selections.
Download these marvellous posters from The Reader Teacher here and from Books For Topics here.
There are so many more books beyond the publicity displays and hype!
It’s been amazing to see my ‘Shinoy and the Chaos Crew’ books spreading chaos throughout the world. And especially fantastic to see one of the graphic novels, ‘Mission: Weird Weather’ breaking into the Top 100 in Japan’s Foreign Language Books for Children!
Also great to see the Japanese symbol for my name. That’s a first!!
Thank you to all the brilliant readers in Japan. I am honoured.
It was fabulous to be at the launch of Cressida Cowell’s latest book, ‘Which Way to Anywhere‘ a while back (I’ve been behind with my site admin duties lately!!). In a funny and moving speech it was lovely to hear the story behind the story, where this book came from an idea that began 25 years ago. So cling onto those ideas, people!! Cressida was so generous with her time and it was great to have a chat her and my headteacher wife about the importance of reading for pleasure and all the good work that teaching staff do in schools.
It’s always exciting to see where in the world my books turn up.
Here is a fantastic pile of books in a beautiful school library in Perth, Western Australia. They have been selected by librarian and huge book champion, Michelle. Please check out her Instagram account, @itsalibrarianlife, which is packed with great book recommendations and general library fun.
And look at what is at the top of this epic stack – The Great Chocoplot!!
Thank you, Michelle, for bringing such marvellous variety into your library and for choosing Chocoplot. It is an honour to be there!
Mega thrilled that one of my graphic novels will be included in the HarperCollins and Literacy Trust’s Little Big Book Club. The club is about fostering a love of reading in children from low socio-economic backgrounds by giving them access to books. Something very close to my heart. Five students from each school choose four books from a catalogue of 25 titles selected and donated by HarperCollins. I’m delighted that my Shinoy and the Chaos Crew adventure, Mission: Submarine Scare, will be part of the project. Hoping this brings lots of fun and chaos to those young readers.
Reading out loud is not something that comes naturally to me, but after reading to my daughter and then to whole school audiences as a visiting author, I found that I really love it. I hope my short video, which you can see here, will help encourage other parents and teaching staff to find a love of reading to their children.
Thank you, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds for the opportunity.
The Great Chocoplot was first released on World Book Day 2016.
Exactly six years later, on World Book Day 2022 it was back in a Number 1 Best Seller slot!!! I’m thrilled and amazed that it continues to sell (and sell better than ever!). Eternally grateful to everyone who has ever bought a copy or borrowed it from a library. I very much appreciate all the schools who use it as part of topic work or as their class novel.
Thank you, thank you. It’s a dream I still haven’t woken up from yet!
Please buy your books from your local bookshop whenever you can ?
And yes, it is a best seller in a slightly unusual category – but I’m still counting it!! ?
The Great Chocoplot is a ‘Teachers’ Pick’ on Amazon!
What a wonderful start to a new year as the schools go back.
Huge thanks to all the teaching staff who have nominated and recommended Chocoplot for this honour. I am already in touch with a number of classes who are starting Chocoplot this term, which is hugely exciting.
Good luck to all staff and pupils for what I’m sure will be a difficult term. I hope my silly story brings some light relief and some sneaky chocolate.
PS Please consider getting your copy of The Great Chocoplot from your local bookshop or library if you can.