Monday saw us leave London early to catch the train to Preston. Jasmine joined us as we headed off from Euston Station on one of the Virgin very fast trains. It's an impressive service and probably my most favourite of the train companies we've travelled on in the UK. We were met at the station by Tony Higginson from Formby Books. Our car journey took us past some marshlands and a long jetty to an area I'd not visited before. Formby is quite close to Liverpool - so I was expecting some interesting accents and the children didn't disappoint.
The first school on the itinerary was Our Lady of Compassion RC Primary in Formby. We encountered a small hitch with the technology as the version of PPT on the computer was not compatible with my presentation. Thankfully Ian was there to fix it and after a little while the problem was solved. I don't mind doing the presentation without the PPT but I think for children it adds another dimension - particularly for those visual learners.
The children were very enthusiastic and keen to ask and answer questions. I was thrilled with the participation from the boys and there was a gorgeous little fellow called Stanley who was more than willing to help with some drama - taking the role of Jacinta in her very first meeting with Alice-Miranda. I was thrilled to see Stanley and his little sister and brother later on at the shop when quite a lot of the children came for the book signing after school.
We ventured from Formby to a school called Forefield Junior School in Crosby. The Head Teacher Mr Ron Naylor was so enthusiastic about reading and books - the library is right in the centre of the school as you walk through the doors. He played a fantastic reading song (to the tune of the Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling) as the students came into the hall and it was clear from the outset that these children loved stories.
I had a great time talking to them and their participation in the drama was terrific. Ron showed me the way that books are integrated across the curriculum. The classrooms were dynamic with wonderful displays and the children's workbooks were exemplary.
Ian found a poster for me to sign - Ron has a lovely array of signed posters from famous British writers. I'm thrilled to be able to join them on the library walls. The picture below is of the staff at the school dressed up for World Book Day. Now that is one impressive group of book characters!
After school Tony drove us to his shop where I was doing a signing for the children from Our Lady of Compassion. It's always a thrill when a child bounds into the shop eager for a book.
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.