Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SMGS Patron of Reading: 1 year on!

The school term is coming to a close and with it my year as Patron of Reading for SMGS National School in Dublin 8.
It's been absolutely brilliant and I'm very grateful for the school who essentially said yes to every crazy bookish idea I threw at them, from Writing Club after schools to Christmas competitions and Baby Book Clubs.
Here's a wee video showing all the hard work done and all the great times had.
(You may need to activate Flash for this to work!)

Thanks all and have a brilliant summer!

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Wilds of Kildare

Last week was another busy week, as I was invited to take part in the Children's Books Festival organised by the Kildare Libraries: Newbridge, Athy, Kildare Town, Maynooth, Leixlip, Naas, Celbridge... the county holds no secrets for me now.
I met with hordes of enthusiastic Senior Infants, 1st and 2nd class, plus, once, an entire school where children aged 6-12 all had some excellent questions about the writer's job and the intricacies of Disaster David. They were not alone in this. Everywhere I went, the kids were full of chat and ideas and comments, in the best possible way.

We did a lot of predictions and wondered if people could break their legs in a book for children (they can). We looked at how a book was made and explored the role of the illustrator, the writer and the printer (sorry editors and publishers, you were only briefly mentioned!). We talked about giants and about how we might live if we suddenly became one: would we play football with the moon or basketball with humans? eat our breakfast out of a bathtub? use lots of planes as a jetpack to go about the world? wear trees or houses for clothes?
There were some brilliant suggestions there and some terrific drawing of what life might be like if we had a Gigantor (a gun for making everything giant-sized), if our entire family could fit in the palm of our hand, if we could (literally) break into banks and so on. Some of our giants were too big to fit on the page, one of them (stroke of genius!) even had her head on the other side of the paper!

A week before the end of the school year, one might have worried about a certain lack of focus or too much excitement (in one school they still had the bouncy castle from Active Week up and running, an actual BOUNCY CASTLE!). There would have been no need: those kids were so on the ball and into it, and SO well behaved. Special mention of the school I met in Athy who came into the library, sat down on the mats and just listened without anybody telling them to do any of these things. And also a special shout out to the ladies of Presentation Girls in Maynooth, all 60 of them, who were awesome.
To everyone, thank you so much! It was a pleasure meeting you and sharing stories with you (some young writers in Celbridge actually brought in their own productions!). Have a brilliant summer!