A Bookish Adventure

I started this blog to document an extended trip to the US and UK in 2012, introducing children to my Alice-Miranda series. It's hard to believe that it's just on four years since we launched the first Alice-Miranda title - and now there are nine books out in Australia with another five still to come. When I first came up with the idea of this precocious seven and a quarter year old, I had no clue that she would take me on such an amazing journey, not only in Australia but also across the world. I visited 37 schools while we were away in 2012 and gave over 80 talks - it was fantastic. In 2013 I've been on lots of new adventures in the UK - visiting schools from London to Southampton, Lancashire, Scotland, Newcastle and back to London again. After that I headed off to meet readers in Singapore. In Australia I've been to Melbourne, Perth, Albany, Alice Springs and Brisbane. There's a new series too - about a gorgeous little girl called Clementine Rose. She and Alice-Miranda don't know each other yet, but they will soon.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

St Edward's RC Marylebone

I spent a very wet and dreary Monday at St Edward’s RC School in Marylebone in London.  The fact that it was cold and wintry didn’t bother me a bit, because inside, the school was warm and welcoming and the kids were loads of fun.  I talked to four groups of Grade 3 and 4 students who laughed in all the right places and were shocked and appalled when they should have been too J
It was my first foray into a Catholic School in the UK and I’m still not entirely sure how they work compared to at home.  Several people have told me that Catholic schools are akin to State Schools but run by the church.  I have also been told that they don’t charge fees but again I'd have to do some more research.

The children loved the drama activities and we had some absolutely natural actors.  They had the rest of their classes in fits.
St Edward's has a very diverse student population and a lovely  feel.  I met two Australian teachers who were working there.  A girl from Melbourne and a fellow from Adelaide.  I think Australian teachers are highly valued in the UK for their professionalism and work ethic.
The older students were involved in national testing on Monday – it sounds a lot like NAPLAN at home.  I sensed that these were a big deal and important to the school and students.
My publisher here at Random House in the UK, Parul came along with Ian and me to the school.  It was great to have her support and I loved that she now knows how I work with kids.  I feel so fortunate to have the most amazing team working with me on Alice-Miranda, here in the UK, in the US and at home in Australia.
After school we had a book signing and it was great to see so many children interested in Alice-Miranda.  Daunts at Marylebone provided the books and have a few extra signed copies if any of the children missed out.
We caught a cab back across town to the flat in Pimlico to pick up our luggage and head to Oxshott in Surrey on the train.  London is already being trasformed in anticipation of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with many road closures and diversions.  If you think the traffic in Sydney is bad, London leaves it for dead!  Most of the London cabbies we've spoken to say that they'll stay about for Jubilee weekend but come the Olympics they're heading out of town.  It's going to be busy to say the least and although I'm sure that it will be wonderful, I'm quite glad we won't be here then either.

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