UK and International School Specialists
Working with over 5000 schools in the UK
Over 800 International Schools in more than 65 countries.

Amy Wilson

Amy Wilson is the author of Carnegie nominated, Branford Boase long-listed A Girl Called Owl, A Far Away Magic, and Snowglobe, one of the Telegraph’s children’s books of 2018, all published by Macmillan Children’s.

She is a former journalist and graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and lives in Bristol with her young family. Her fourth novel is coming out in October 2019.

Amy’s School Visits

Event types: 

Amy offers two types of event – a general presentation, and workshops.

General presentation

Amy’s presentation generally lasts for an hour, including 15 minutes for a Q&A at the end, and then she’ll stay for book signings. She’ll do a short reading, then discuss writing practise, inspiration, editing and what she knows of the publishing industry. She has an interactive element, where she’ll discuss ideas of magic in writing and where the inspiration for this can be found in nature, and touch on themes of friendship, empathy and self-discovery. (She also has several magical creatures, including a rather special owl puppet!)

 

Workshops

Smaller workshop style events will be half an hour for groups of up to 30, usually following on from the main presentation.  Amy will bring worksheets and speak to children on one of three themes:

 

Magical Creatures: the legends and the realities, looking at everything from unicorns to narwhals and how we draw from nature to fuel our imaginations; children will think about the sort of creature – real or imagined – they would like to meet or create, what is special about them, and how they might describe them and their setting for a short story.

 

SuperYou: If you had a magical super power what would it be, and why? Think about who you are, what you’d love to be able to do most, and how would that would affect your life and friendships. What would be the consequences? How could you describe it all in a short story, so that other people can see it just as you can, in your mind?

 

Magical Worlds: Snowglobe sees Amy’s characters journeying through a multitude of worlds, each one ruled over by a magician. If you were a magician what would your world look like? What would happen in that world? What powers would you have, and how would you use them?

Group sizes of anything from 30 to 300 are fine for the general presentation, though please do let Amy know in advance so that she can adapt as necessary. Generally the presentation is suitable for Years 4, 5, 6 and 7. She can also do whole-school assemblies and younger groups but for this she uses a different, more picture-led presentation, so do please advise of ages at time of booking.

 

Amy’s Books

A Girl Called Owl

It’s bad enough having a mum dippy enough to name you Owl, but when you’ve got a dad you’ve never met, a best friend who needs you more than ever, and a new boy at school giving you weird looks, there’s not a lot of room for much else.

So when Owl starts seeing strange frost patterns on her skin, she’s tempted to just burrow down under the duvet and forget all about it. Could her strange new powers be linked to her mysterious father?And what will happen when she enters the magical world of winter for the first time?

 

A Far Away Magic

When Angel moves to a new school after the death of her parents, she isn’t interested in making friends. Until she meets Bavar – a strange boy, tall, awkward and desperate to remain unseen, but who seems to have a kind of magic about him. Everyone and everything within Bavar’s enchanted house is urging him to step up and protect the world from a magical rift through which monsters are travelling, the same monsters that killed Angel’s parents.

But Bavar doesn’t want to follow the path that’s been chosen for him – he wants to be normal; to disappear. Fighting one another as well as their fears, Angel and Bavar must find a way to repair the rift between the worlds, and themselves, before it’s too late . . .

 

Snowglobe

The beautifully spellbinding and critically-acclaimed story of a thousand magical worlds from the author of A Girl Called Owl and A Far Away Magic.

When daydreamer Clementine discovers a mysterious house standing in the middle of town that was never there before, she is pulled towards it by the powerful sense of a mother she never knew. The place is full of snowglobes, swirling with stars and snow and each containing a trapped magician, watched over by Gan, the bitter keeper of the house. One of these is Dylan, a boy who teases her in the real world but who is now desperate for her help.

So Clem ventures into the snowglobes, rescuing Dylan and discovering her own powerful connection to the magic of these thousand worlds. Vowing to release the magicians from the control of their enchantments, Clem unknowingly unleashes a struggle for power that will not only put her family, but the future of magic itself in danger.

 

Recommendations & Reviews from previous visits

‘Amy’s visit to our school was definitely one of the highlights of the children’s year. Her interactive talks were engaging, exciting and a real imagination trigger. She included all the children in a way that let them set their creativity free. 
‘They learnt about using fantasy in their own writing and how to create characters that zing. Lots of them still talk about the day they met a real author and ‘A Girl Called Owl’ has become a firm favourite during group reading sessions.
Thank you Amy, if only we could have you visit on a regular basis!’

Caversham Primary School, Reading. 

 

‘Our Year 7 cohort sat on the edge of their seats as they worked with Amy. She is a natural story-teller who hooked her audience in – but she also did so much more. With her guidance, we collectively built a storyline for our own novel, and so the students got a real insight into the craft of writing. This visit was one of the highlights of our year.’

The Castle School, Thornbury

 

“Amy’s workshop sessions build on the imaginative worlds she creates in her novels. They are a wonderful opportunity for pupils to character build and develop empathy through writing and role play.” 

Alison Brumwell, Reader Development and Literacy Consultant, West Yorkshire

 

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Amy Wilson, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Olivia Levez

Olivia Levez is a critically acclaimed author, writing mentor and former English teacher with over twenty years’ experience working in primary, middle and secondary schools. She has spoken at all manner of events, addressing and delivering workshops to children, young adults, librarians, Open University students, pre–published writers and anyone with a story in their hearts.

As well as visiting schools, Olivia mentors pre-agented writers and trains sixth formers in interview techniques. She is interested in characters that transform, characters that survive and characters that escape. Olivia likes to ‘method write’: when writing The Island, she foraged like her main character, and lived mainly on coconut water, porridge and Cuppa Soup.

 

The Island (13+) is a coming-of-age castaway adventure of survival and redemption. Raw and gritty, its flashback style make it ideal for teaching story structure, whilst its themes of survival and resilience have made it an ideal choice for inclusion in the PSHEC curriculum. The Island has been cited as part of a National Literacy Trust case study for its selection as a key text for the PSHEC through fiction scheme at Queensbridge School, and is a chosen text for the Ten For Ten school reading scheme in Leicestershire.

The Circus (13+) is the contemporary adventure story of a runaway – what happens if you step out of your old life and into another? Exploring whether it is ever possible to reinvent yourself and start again, or whether you take your old self with you, The Circus takes an unflinching look at the realities of running away from home and living on the streets, surviving only on dreams.

An experienced teacher as well as author, Olivia loves talking to students about all things creative. Olivia’s How to Survive Being an Author assembly mixes behind-the-scenes facts about having a writing career with weird and wonderful survival facts from researching The Island. With readings from both books, Olivia’s focus is on resilience, being realistic and why creativity matters.

She loves taking stories apart and putting them back together again, and her creative writing work shops have a structural focus. With the new emphasis on structure at Key Stage 3 and GCSE, Olivia gets students of all ages to write from different perspectives, zoom up close and far away, make shifts in time, space and pace, play around with crescendo and diminuendo, and have fun with cinematic techniques such as cutaways and match-cuts. Students will use visuals and sound effects as inspiration, and learn how to work in groups for real structural and line edits.

According to one attendee: “She gave us very helpful tips for creative writing, which we will all be grateful for and use in our writing in the classroom.”
And from another: “Olivia…is definitely somebody to look up to and listening to her talk about how she became an author was inspiring for many of us.”

Olivia’s School Visits

Events

How to Survive Being an Author assembly –

Duration: 15 mins up to 1 hour

Presentation on the process of becoming an author, castaway survival tips and Hitting the Wall. Depending on time slot, includes readings from both The Island and The Circus, audience question and answer session, fascinating facts and behind-the-scenes look at the creative process. Interactive creative writing version also available. Links to resilience, creativity, and the tricky concept of failure.

Year groups: Key Stage 3, 4, 5

Equipment: Powerpoint for visuals

 

The Island ‘How to Write Like a Movie Maker’ workshop

Duration: 50 mins – 90 mins

Year group: Y7-11

Equipment: Paper, scissors, glue

Aim: to understand story structure through experimentation

Students get a chance to write, build and edit a castaway scene, using inkwasters, killer lines, cutaways and match cuts. With a structural focus, this is a very hands-on workshop, giving students and teachers an opportunity to see how authors build scenes, switch viewpoints, make time shifts and change the pace of their writing. Sea sounds, jungle clamour and chase music immerse the writers into the contrasting settings of a remote desert island and a busy Brixton street. But how to juxtapose these scenes? A lively workshop, with individual, whole class and group work. By the end, pupils will have a much clearer concept of structure, and have constructed scenes in pairs ready to further develop and edit.

 

The Circus ‘Shifting Perspectives’ workshop

Duration: 50 mins – 90 mins

Year group: Y7-11

Equipment: Paper to write on

Aim: to explore how writing from different perspectives creates suspense

Students settle into their seats as the circus begins…Will they get to be the hunter or the hunted? Writing from the opposing perspectives of the villain and the victim, the antagonist and the protagonist, students explore how to create voice and raise tension. Crowd noises and circus sounds immerse them into the exciting and dangerous world of circus performing as they wrestle with their inner driver and juggle with unusual perspectives – high wire, cannon or villainous mind?

After experimenting with free writing, students pair up to create a unified scene from their opposing viewpoints – harder than it looks! A chance, too, to enter the hula hoop challenge and win a signed copy of either book.

 

Olivia’s Books

The Circus, published by Rock the Boat (Oneworld), May 2017, Age 13+

Willow has everything: a rich daddy, a pony and a place at a prestigious boarding school. Everything except the one thing she really wants: a father who cares enough to find her when she runs away from home.

On the eve of her father’s wedding, Willow runs again into the unknown. Her mother was a circus performer and Willow longs to follow in her footsteps. But when all of her money is stolen and her only friend, a street performer called Suz, betrays her, Willow is left penniless and alone. So begins a gripping, exhilarating journey. Will Willow ever make it to the big top and find a place she can truly call home?

 

‘The Circus pulls you in. Beautifully written, with a compelling heroine. A story of survival, family, friendship – and fire.’ Patrice Lawrence (author of Orangeboy, Indigo Donut)

‘Dressed in Levez’ glittering prose, The Circus has the heart of a lion tamer and the thrill of a trapeze. Raw, compelling, and compassionate, this is a biting and beautiful examination of why we run, what makes a home, and how we find who we are.’ Kiran Millwood Hargrave (author of Girl of Ink and Stars)

‘A punchy explosion of a book’ Kathryn Evans (More of Me)

‘A fascinating setting, heart-cracking writing, and a big bold friendship at the centre. A deeply satisfying read about desperation and determination, with an ending that takes your breath away.’ Sue Wallman (Lying About Last Summer, See How They Lie)

‘Fed up with her life at home, Willow runs away to find her long-absent mother, a trapeze performer, and join her in the circus. This compelling journey of reinvention is studded with struggles, revelations, fire eating, and wire walking.’ Booklist magazine

‘The story never romanticizes homelessness; it’s represented as the harsh reality it is. Women in their infinite variety are celebrated… A beautiful and unforgettable story about a girl who learns she must lose who she thought she was before she can become who she’s meant to be.’ Kirkus

“A journey of self-discovery that is at once beautiful, sad, and—for anyone who has ever felt alone—familiar. Levez’s style is lyrical, infusing the story with atmosphere and emotion.” ForeWord

‘Much like the circus performances her protagonist longs to join, Olivia Levez’s (The Island) tale of life, love and family is thrilling and brilliantly alluring. Willow describes the circus by saying, “Some giant has dipped a brush in watercolour and splashed in the yellow amongst all the gray. A little patch of magic.” Her words can just as easily describe this enchanting sophomore novel. With equal parts coming of age, adventure and love story, under the big top of Levez’s Circus, readers will find grace and wonder.’ Jen Forbus, Shelf Awareness

‘Readers will enjoy this book a lot. The story is beautiful and amazing, with a lot of heart and heartache that arises from friendship, loneliness, and the desire to be loved by family. It will be easy for readers to care about and like Willow, as easy as it is to relate to her—she wants what everyone wants, to belong somewhere and to be wanted and needed. Levez’s writing is strong, the voice powerful, and the characters fully developed. With a unique, vibrant cast, this book has something for all readers.’—Rachel Wright, VOYA, USA.

 

 The Island, published by Rock the Boat (Oneworld), March 2016, Age 13+

Frances is alone. Cast away on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, she has to find water, food and shelter. But survival is hard. Especially when she is haunted by memories of the things that she did before, the things that made her a monster. Pushed to the limit in extreme conditions, she battles to come to terms with her past, and find a future worth fighting for.

This is a gripping and thought-provoking story about one girl’s journey to become the person she believes she can be.

(Nominated for the Worcestershire Teen Book Award (WTBA) 2017; starred review in Publishers Weekly; selected for CLS Leicestershire’s Ten For Ten reading scheme)

‘Through short chapters, Levez effortlessly balances Frances’s past, present, and imagined future… Echoing O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins, Levez’s story will keep readers riveted as determined, hard-edged Frances fights to survive.’ PW Starred review

‘This right-of-passage story has a vigour that will grip the reader from the first page and carries on to the last. Told by Fran as she faces present dangers while remembering the circumstances leading this point, the narrative has a powerful immediacy. It will not be easy to forget Fran, and Olivia Levez is a talent to watch.’ Books For Keeps

‘A book you can’t put down…. Fran’s story is one that is relatable. She has a depth; she isn’t perfect. Due to the harshness of life she has built a wall and become ‘a rock.’ But once she reveals all the intricate pieces of herself-—she is a character worth loving. This is one book that should be on everyone’s radar. Fast-paced and incredibly written, readers will be captivated by Fran and her desire to just survive.’ YABooksCentral

‘It’s strong, raw, harsh and filled with the kind of uncut emotion that will leave you stunned and feeling it all.​​’ The Guardian

Reviews and recommendations

“…a big success, both students and staff had a great time and were instantly drawn in by Fran Stanton’s story and listened with complete attention. Our students were thrilled to ask Olivia questions about being an author and the whole process of creating a novel.”

Amandine Neyses-van Schelven, SEN teacher/Literacy Coordinator, Mulberry School for Girls

 

“She gave us very helpful tips for creative writing, which we will all be grateful for and use in our writing in the classroom.”

“Overall, listening to a talk and participating in a workshop with Olivia Levez was undoubtedly a beneficial experience. She is definitely somebody to look up to and listening to her talk about how she became an author was inspiring for many of us.”

“She spoke about the characters and bits of the plot and read an extract, which was gripping and certainly made me want to read the entire book.”

Student, Mulberry School for Girls

 

“Olivia was really entertaining and immediately involved the students.  She had a variety of props and techniques which were fun for the students too. It was fantastic to see the way author and audience engaged throughout the hour talk.  This was an author visit that kept the children talking about it for ages afterwards.  A very successful event.”  Linda Bromyard, librarian, Blessed Edward Oldcorne

“It’s inspiring for students to hear how success can be achieved through dedication and determination.” Hannah Talbot, Head of English and Specialist Leader in Education at South Bromsgrove High School

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Olivia Levez, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

 

Anne Stairmand

Anne has had an extensive career as an education literacy consultant, director of humanities college, and been in charge of school improvement to raise standards.

Anne has done countless workshops and author visits, worked as an author in residence in Barking and Dagenham with London Libraries and schools; author in residence Waltham Forest with libraries to raise awareness of reading in libraries; trained and mentored tutors and organisations to improve literacy in FE and work; school improvement for National Literacy Trust; literacy activities at Latitude festival (5th Year).

Anne’s School’s Visits

Anne loves to use drama to inspire pupils of all age ranges to enjoy her books. She uses her books as a platform for drama, with all pupils wearing and using props to get into the spirit of the workshop. The pupils then show their drama to each other and share with a key stage or the school.

For KS2 once the drama from the books is completed and shared, the books are used as a platform to improve writing. Pupils work in very small groups with challenging and differentiated vocabulary sheets to create their own writing. This is shared with other class members and invariably shared with parents in a special assembly.
All the workshops are great fun and allow the pupils of all ages to be involved in the drama and writing.

You may wish Anne to work with specific academic groups to challenge and develop literacy skills, and these groups may include; Gifted and Talented, challenging pupils, SEN or, pupils who struggle to engage with writing. Anne will inspire and stimulate pupils to think and write creatively so they challenged and proud of their work. These processes and skills can be embedded back in the classroom and support a range of writing opportunities.

Anne can work with all primary aged pupils from reception to Year 6.

 

Anne’s Books

Desmond’s Dragon

Ages 3-5

Imagine finding a dragon outside your bedroom window one night, just like Desmond! Follow the adventures Desmond has with his dragon when he takes him to school.

Archie Dingletrotter’s Flying Caravan

Ages 4-6

Archie Dingletrotter is nearly seven years old and travels with his family from village to village in a caravan painted in wonderful colours. One day they arrive at a beautiful village and Archie loves it so much the family decide to stay, so that Archie can go to the local school. Find out what happens when he makes new friends and when he is invited to other children’s parties. Find out why Archie’s party is so special and magical. Enjoy the book!!

The Phantom Sock Snatcher

Ages 7-9

Who was pinching all the socks, leaving people with odd ones? Joe thought it was strange when his socks kept disappearing, and never thought about it Until one night…When his life changed and he was whisked away on an unbelievable adventure, with the Idgits and the Phantom Sock Snatcher. Where did they go? Why did they go? What did they do?

The Idiot Family at Home

Ages 9-11

Can you imagine having a mother who eats mountains of doughnuts, has a waist of seventy inches, owns shoes with black diamonds imported from mines in Africa and, who worships at the Church of Harvey Nichols? Meet Jimmelta Chew Van Der Bratt of German descent and, who is very tired of her golden table and chairs. Can you imagine having an Idiot of a father who buys up countries on a whim and, is so ridiculously rich? Can you imagine your children named after materials, being taught a firm lesson or two by their servants, the Inherited Australian Convicts? Find out about the trials and tribulations of this disgracefully spoilt family and the punishment bestowed on Jimmelta Chew Van Der Bratt … And be very grateful that you are not part of this tasteless, but amusing lot. This book has characters with names that will make you laugh, situations which are tragic, appalling, but funny, with the hope of redemption in sight. Meet the Idiot Family….At your peril!

The Idiot Family on Holiday

Ages 9-11

Jimmelta Chew van der Bratt is at it again, dragging her family into the silliest situations and creating chaos in the most unusual places. This time the family go on holiday! Nothing has changed! Find out about the ridiculously designed, handbag-shaped yacht stuck in the Thames. Read about the exploits with the family, and the children’s dastardly tutor, The Tank, all on the magical, Marmalade Island. Which is not so magical after all…

 

Petronella Pumpernickel-Pinkstocking-Berck and Big Wart

Petronella Pumpernickel-Pinkstocking-Berck is not your normal sort of girl. She lives in a house made of scrape metal and old bits of wood at the edge of the town with her family, Pa, her mother Ma Metronella, and her sister, Catronella.

Instead of enjoying ballet or dancing like other girls, she plays with tractors, builds them and loves pulling them to bits and loves getting messy. She even rides a tractor to school each day. But that’s not all.

Petronella has a list of all the boys in the lower forms in her school that she has to either kiss – or get their pocket money! And she is determined to get through that kissing list each year!

Find out what happens when the new boy Big Wart starts school and he ignores her! Find out about the spell cast on her and about all that grass…growing out of her mouth.

 

To Make A Booking

To make an enquiry about Anne Stairmand, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Seth Burkett

Seth Burkett uses his experiences as a professional footballer in Brazil to tell engaging football stories. Inspired by his gran, herself a writer, his two interests in life have always been football and writing. At 22 years of age he became the youngest person to be shortlisted for the British Sport Book Awards when his debut title, The Boy in Brazil, was shortlisted. This led to other books, including his first children’s fiction title and several ghostwritten books, one of which was long listed for the William Hill Book of the Year. More recently he’s diversified into social media, and is currently writing a book for two of the world’s biggest YouTube stars.

Seth’s School Visits

With books aimed at a range of ages, Seth is equally happy working with university students and Year 2 pupils. He’s been into schools, colleges, universities and businesses to share his story. With a key theme around resilience and developing a growth mindset, he aims to inspire reluctant readers and book lovers alike. Seth has worked with Loughborough University as an Outreach Programme Ambassador, professional football clubs and the Premier League Primary Stars programme to put together workshops. These include:

  • Assembly on how to become an author and the creative processes involved
  • Creative writing workshop
  • Book marketing 101
  • Sport, social media and advertising
  • How to write a sport story
  • Football and futsal coaching sessions

Seth tends to begin the day with an assembly detailing his own journey from footballer to author, before leading one of the above workshops. He can adapt each so it lasts anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes each, while there’s an option for the Sport, Social Media and Advertising workshop – developed in partnership with Loughborough University – to last the entire day. He is happy to work with any number of pupils.

 

Seth’s Books

The Boy in Brazil

When Seth Burkett travelled to Brazil for a youth tournament with his local team Stamford, he was stunned by what happened next. Spotted by a scout, he accepted an offer to join Sorriso Esporte Clube in the central state of Mato Grosso and became a media celebrity as well as the only English professional in the football-crazy country. THE BOY IN BRAZIL is a charming and insightful account of his magical season in the sun as an 18-year-old in Sorriso – Portuguese for smile – and takes a bittersweet look at the beautiful game and cultural concerns of the vibrant nation which would host the 2014 World Cup finals. On his journey from boy to man, he would discover an uncanny and unexpected family link to the foundation of the sport in Brazil. He would also come to see, through a tragedy in Sorriso and the sad fate of its football club, that a childhood dream joyously fulfilled also had a dark side.

 

Football’s Coming Out

Being gay in football – as fan or player – is to risk the homophobia that has run through the game for years. But things are changing. Gradually a few brave professional players have come out. And someone like NEIL BEASLEY now feels able to tell his poignant and uplifting story in Football’s Coming Out. Coventry City fan, player for Birmingham Blaze – National Gay Football Supporters Network League champions – as well as chairman of the club, Neil tells honestly of the pains of growing up gay in the sport and fighting for his right to enjoy the game he loves without prejudice.

 

No Final Whistle

Alfie Bennett is going to be a superstar. He is absolutely sure of it. Every second of his life is dedicated to football. And when he gets signed up by the famous Borough Academy, it looks as if he’s well and truly on the way to achieving his dream. Yet life at Borough isn’t all that it seems…

 

Reviews and Testimonials

‘Seth has worked on a number of Creative Writing and English-related workshops for both school groups and the community as part of Loughborough University’s Outreach Programme. He has always remained punctual and professional – preparing any work to deadline – but, most importantly, he is a really personable character with an inspiring story that manages to truly capture students’ imaginations.’  Loughborough University

 

‘Seth has been kind enough to visit my school twice. On both occasions he has captured students’ imagination and interest. He speaks brilliantly and is able to engage youngsters. They wanted to know more and ask questions. It was fabulous from the perspective of teaching them about Brazil. However, Seth went further in inspiring the students to think out of the box and have ambitions – both from the football angle and also in writing a book. I would have Seth in again without any hesitation.’  Nene Park Academy, Peterborough

 

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Seth, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Chris Vick

Chris Vick writes books for young people (12+) about the sea, danger and the wonder of magic and stories.

He spent years working in whale and dolphin conservation and a lot of time surfing before enrolling on the Bath Spa MA in Writing for Young People. He has three books published in several countries. A fourth, Girl, Boy, Sea, is due in hardback, August 2019.

Chris has appeared at festivals including Hay, Bath Children’s Literature festival and Mare di Libri (Sea of Books) in Italy, where he was shortlisted for the prestigious Primo Andersen award. He has written blogs/features for the Guardian and Bustle.com. on YA issues and  has a lot of experience of running workshops and writing clubs for young people.

Whether for my own books, or writers of all ages, my objective remains the same: To help you work out what your story is, and how to tell it, as clearly as possible.

Chris Vick’s School Visits

Chris does talks with Q and A about the creative and writing process; focusing on what stories are; where they come from, how to generate ideas and how to put those ideas into a complete story. He also does workshops, where writers create their own stories and structures, individually or in groups.  He has also delivered workshop series: working with young writers over several sessions to develop full, edited stories.

Example of subjects covered in a workshops

  • Building a story – from scratch!
  • What is a story?
  • What are the ingredients?
  • Creating ideas

Chris’ workshops apply to all forms of story and writing, but he has a real enthusiasm for writing about nature, the sea and conservation.  Chris also works for Whale and Dolphin Conservation and has seen these wonderful animals all over the world.

Session details

Chris can work with any group size up to 30.  Talks with Q and A can be delivered to a much larger number e.g for an assembly.

Talks and workshops are one hour each, or can be combined into a 1.5 hour presentation and workshop.

Chris works with Key stages: 2, 3 and 4.

 

Chris’ Books

Kook

Fifteen-year old Sam has moved from the big city to the coast – stuck there with his mum and sister on the edge of nowhere. Then he meets beautiful but damaged surfer-girl Jade. Soon he’s in love with her, and with surfing itself. But Jade is driven by an obsession: finding and riding a legendary huge wave no one has ever ridden.

As the weeks wear on, their relationship barrels forward with the force of a deep-water wave – into a storm, to danger … and to heartbreak.

 

‘A no-holds-barred love story set in the Cornish surfer scene’ ‘A  fast-paced read for older teens.’  ‘Kook is a gripping and heartbreaking story of love and obsession.’ The Guardian

‘The setting is painfully beautiful, the stakes are incredibly high, the story is a roller-coaster of thrills, and the writing is first class.’

Lucy Van Smit, author of The Hurting

‘Powerful, evocative, beautiful.’ Lucy Christopher, author of Stolen.

 

Storms.

Every storm breaks in the end…
Jake never meant to fall for a girl that night. But plans change and soon Jake and Hannah are together, inseparable. That is, until Hannah gets an opportunity that will take her away, where Jake could never afford to follow.
Then the storm comes, bringing with it an extraordinary discovery, something that could turn Jake’s life around. But the gifts of the sea can be cursed, and the great wave that is forming may break Jake and Hannah’s world – and their hearts…

 

Boy. Girl. Sea

Due for release in August 2019

‘The sea and sky were our universe, and the boat was our world. A planet that had broken gravity and left its star. Drifting in the inky blue.’

Storm, shipwreck, survival, and the power of stories.

A British boy barely survives the sinking of his yacht in a storm off the coast of Morocco. After days alone at sea in a tiny rowing boat Bill rescues a girl clinging for her life to a barrel. Aya, from the nomadic Berber tribe, was escaping to Europe when her migrant ship was destroyed in the same storm. Through endless days and star-spangled nights, they drift – mere specks on the vast, empty ocean – weakened by fear, hunger and the unforgiving sun. Aya tells Bill about The Arabian Nights and Shahrazad, who told 1001 stories to save her life. As hope of rescue begins to fade, they find strength in these tales of magic, brave heroes, wily thieves, cruel sultans, and courageous girls.

When they land on a desert island, they’re surprised to be confronted by a stranger who is not what he seems… and back out on the waves once more in the dark deep, a shadow follows…

 

Recommendations and Reviews

‘Chris Vick was a delight to work with. An easy going friendly approach worked so well with both our British and International students. Our English teachers felt Chris offered us the best author visit we’ve ever had! Thank you Chris, we would highly recommend you to other schools.’

‘To be able to grip and audience of this age-group takes some level of skill. Chris delivered a seamless talk, and presentation, with confidence and a good stage presence. His subject matter resonated with the audience and he clearly engaged them with what he had to say about the creative process.’

‘There were a copious number of appropriately probing questions from the audience which Chris addressed in a friendly, informative, respectful style. This approach would have been appreciated by them because there is nothing worse at this particular age, than an adult trying to be ‘down there’ with the kids. They smell patronisation or insincerity in a nano-second!’

‘Chris was able to connect with the students really quickly, in a workshop pitched to engage students across a range of abilities. Chris’s thoughtful responses to students’ ideas and questions ensured that they felt confident to participate. The practical suggestions for getting started with creative writing were useful for teachers as well as students. Although Chris talked about his own writing, there was no ‘hard sell’ of Chris’s own books, which was refreshing.’

‘An interactive workshop on the principles of narrative/story writing which has provided a great revision aid for those students about to take their IGCSE in English. Chris comes across as very approachable and friendly and was very attentive to all student contributions made, generating a great rapport with his audience and inspiring confidence in less self -assured or shy students.’

‘As part of the Paper Nations’ team of writing tutors, Chris devised and led workshops for young people which gave them belief in themselves as storytellers and helped them to create and celebrate their first pieces of published work. He created a strong rapport with both teachers and students to make the workshop programmes a great success, helping Paper Nations towards its vision of enabling young people ‘to access regular, high quality support to enjoy and develop a talent for the art of writing.’

 

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Chris Vick, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Kate Wakeling

Kate is an award-winning children’s poet with a wealth of experience working with primary-age children. She loves giving interactive poetry performances and running inspiring, inclusive and playful workshops in schools that encourage children to find and explore their own creative voices through poetry.

Kate’s debut collection of children’s poetry, Moon Juice (for children aged 7+) won the prestigious 2017 CLiPPA prize and was nominated for the 2018 CILIP Carnegie Medal. It was described by The Sunday Times as ‘clever, funny, inspiring… full of rich ideas and roll-around-the-tongue sounds that demand to be read aloud.’ The collection explores outer space, bad moods, dodos, hamsters, Indonesian origin myths, the importance of the imagination, the power and value of children’s perceptions and the sheer joy of words as ‘sound objects’ in their own right.
Having also trained as a music workshop leader, Kate has extensive experience working with children and has given poetry workshops in primary schools all over the country. She is a lively and engaging performer of her work and has given interactive poetry readings at venues and festivals across the UK, including at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, the Southbank Centre’s Imagine Festival, the Royal Opera House, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the Verve Poetry Festival, the Bridport Literary Festival and many more.

 

Kate’s School Visits

Kate can be flexible in how her workshops are structured and is always happy to work closely with schools to plan a visit that works for everyone.

Kate’s poetry collection, Moon Juice, is ideally suited to KS2 groups, but she also has lots of material for working with KS1/EYFS groups too.
School visits often start with an interactive performance for assembly followed by 4 sessions (of around 45 minutes to an hour) working with different classes or year groups.

Kate’s sessions in schools usually include some or all of: some lively performances of her own poems, space for group discussion about the poems, group-writing exercises where the whole group creates a poem together, activities for children to work individually or in pairs on new poems, a focus on poetry performance working with children to explore embodied and engaged ways of delivering poems to the rest of the group.
Kate’s only technical requirement is a flipchart and paper, plus usual writing materials for individual pupils.

 

Kate’s Book

Moon Juice – winner of the CLiPPA 2017 (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award)

Meet Skig, who is meant to be a warrior (but is really more of a worrier). Meet a giddy comet, which skids across the sky with its tail on fire. Put a marvellous new machine in your pocket, which promises to solve all of your life s problems. Kate Wakeling’s first book of poems for children is full of curious characters and strange situations. The poems she writes are always musical, sometimes wistful, and full of wonder at the weirdness of the world.

 

‘This clever, funny, inspiring poetry collection, which has just won the CLiPPA, is a children’s debut by a poet for adults, full of rich ideas and roll-around-the-tongue sounds that demand to be read aloud.’  Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times

‘These are not poems created to grab the attention with the quick laugh and a lot of noise; these are poems to seduce, to attract because they reflect the imagination of the young reader. In ‘Night Journey’, Wakeling captures the almost limbo like feeling of driving through the dark so that the car becomes ‘not a mile machine/it is a thought machine’. How perfectly this describes what many young readers will have felt. Or what about the ‘Bad Moods’ who, naturally, wear weird shoes? ‘The Demon Mouth’? Or those ‘Ten dark toes at the bottom of the bed’? These are no cosily romantic lyrics but original works vividly capturing thoughts, ideas, musings and pinning them precisely to the page. Wakeling’s choice of words is pitch perfect – ‘moon is/silver sliver’ – as are her varied rhythms. These are poems to be welcomed, savoured and read aloud to oneself – and to the class or the family.Ferelith Hordon, Books for Keeps

‘The musicologist Kate Wakeling, meanwhile, whose collection Moon Juice, from the Emma Press, illustrated with spiky charm by Elīna Brasliņa, won the 2017 CLiPPA, ranges from dreamy celestial meditation (“Moon is / silver sliver. // Moon is / clipped cup / from which to sip / a first drop / of freshly-pressed / moon juice”) to comet-streaking speed – “Comet” comes with the injunction that it should be read as fast as possible, ideally in a single breath.’  Imogen Russell Williams, The Times Literary Supplement

‘Exuding a belief that young readers are curious about the world they live in, Kate Wakeling’s poems also give her audience a sense of power, of being able to navigate the world they (we) live in… This wonderful collection is full of encouragement and interest.’ Zoe Toft, Playing by the Book

Recommendations and Reviews

‘It was a delight to meet you. Many children have been so inspired by your poetry that they are learning their favourites off by heart. We enjoyed your visit immensely and I am sure that we will be reaping the benefits for some time to come.’
Grainne Rooney – Librarian, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

‘Thank you so much for a fantastic day. The staff and the girls really enjoyed your sessions – you could tell how engaged the girls were and they relished all the creativity and language play.’
Rachel Hickson – Librarian, James Allen’s Preparatory School

‘Kate Wakeling’s workshop and reading from her wonderful Emma Press children’s poetry book Moon Juice was a real highlight of the children’s element of our first Verve Poetry Festival in February 2017. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed her performance and on a busy weekend, her professionalism, enthusiasm and the joy she obviously finds in engaging children with poetry really stood out. Thank you Kate!’
Stuart Bartholomew – Co-Director / Programmer Verve Poetry Festival

‘Kate is welcoming, friendly and has an excellent rapport with adults and children alike. All the children were highly engaged in the session, participated fully and developed their knowledge and understanding of poetry, as well as being highly engaged in listening to, performing and contributing ideas for writing poetry. Kate thought carefully as to how each and every child would feel involved and able to contribute. She wrote a new poem for the session to share with the children, showcasing herself as a writing role model; allowing them to actively see her as a writer and increase their own aspirations to write poetry.’
Charlotte Hacking – Learning Programme Leader, Centre for Literacy in Primary Education

‘Kate took part in our reading for 8-11 year olds, ‘Incredibly Incorrigible Poems’. She was totally professional throughout and it was a pleasure to work with her. She gave a thoughtful and thought-provoking reading and presented her poems in a way that engaged the children. The children did think her poems were incredible and were queuing to get their hands on her book afterwards.’ 
Lorraine Mariner – Assistant Librarian at The National Poetry Library

 

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Kate, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Matt Killeen

Matt Killeen is the bestselling author of the Costa Book Awards shortlisted Orphan Monster Spy, a YA novel set at the outbreak of World War Two.
Building on a horrified fascination with WW2 born out of the war-mad 1970s and having real German friends, Matt was inspired by SOE agent Violette Szabo to explore the idea of resistance to tyranny and its cost.

Matt had always been a writer but spent a good few decades kidding himself as a designer, filmmaker, singer and laser-tag professional. He eventually became a sports and music journalist, then an advertising copywriter, and finally went on to write for the LEGO® group in 2010.

Matt has an MA in Writing for Children from MMU and a 400m swimming badge. The sequel to his debut, Devil Darling Spy, will be published in Spring 2020.

Matt’s School Visits

Matt Killeen discusses heroes in fiction, the history of Nazi Germany, resistance and being a hero in real-life. Usually followed by a Q&A (see below)

Equipment: projector/screen to run a Powerpoint presentation, microphone and amplification for groups of more than 30 and in rooms larger than classrooms.

Workshops: (ideally groups of no more than 30)

            The Sitch and The Thing:

Great openings and how they work, including a look at classic first lines & basic plot structure. A chance to craft your own world and inciting incident. Can feature detailed analysis of the opening pages of four of the 2018 Carnegie shortlist (can be read in advance) and / or more mainstream and universal narratives.

Equipment: projector/screen to run a Powerpoint presentation

Q&A: (assemblies / whole schools / workshop classes / book clubs)

Matt answers questions on Nazi Germany, his books, on his career, being a writer and answers the inevitable question: “how long have you been growing your beard?”

Equipment: microphone and amplification for groups of 40 or more

 

Book clubs:

  • Round table discussions of Orphan Monster Spy and its sequels based on questions prepared by Usborne and Penguin in the US.
  • Round Table discussions of Matt’s recommended Top Ten YA/Children’s Novels dealing with war and Nazi Germany.
  • Discussions of Matt’s favourite feminist characters, based on his non-fiction eBook, The Women Who Made Me a Feminist.

Matt can work with students in KS3, KS4 and KS5 so is able to work with whole secondary schools.

Matt’s Books

Orphan Monster Spy

A teenage spy. A Nazi boarding school. The performance of a lifetime. Sarah has played many roles – but now she faces her most challenging of all. Because there’s only one way for a Jewish orphan spy to survive at a school for the Nazi elite. And that’s to become a monster like them. They think she is just a little girl. But she is the weapon they never saw coming… with a mission to destroy them all.

 

The Women Who Made Me a Feminist

A collection of essays on incredible historical, contemporary and fictional women who inspired author Matt Killeen to become a feminist and create his own feminist hero in debut novel Orphan Monster Spy. From WWII secret agent Violette Szabo to Katniss Everdeen, star of The Hunger Games, Crimean War nurse Mary Secole, physicist Lise Meitner, musician Alanis Morissette and more, their stories are eye-opening and empowering. Powerful, fascinating and thought-provoking, these essays are released to celebrate International Women’s Day and the publication of Orphan Monster Spy – a debut WWII spy thriller featuring a brand-new female hero who readers are calling ‘unforgettable’, ‘kick-ass’, ‘awesome’, ‘empowering’, ‘daring’, ‘compelling’ and ‘unyielding’.

 

 

Reviews and Testimonials from previous visits

“Matt visited Ousedale School in June 2017 and gave two outstanding presentations and a professional and engaging workshop to our students.

The hour long presentations, based on his book, Orphan, Monster, Spy were for our Year 8 and 9 students – a total of 480 students at our Newport Pagnell Campus and 240 at our Olney campus.

His presentation was immaculately researched, showed a real depth of knowledge and understanding of the topic and was utterly confidently delivered with no signs of nerves. Matt used an excellent presentation to compliment his delivery. The whole thing was pitched perfectly for the audience and they were fascinated and interested throughout. At the end Matt took questions and answered with humour and good will. To hold the interest of nearly 500 13 and 14 years olds in an echoey gym for a whole hour on one of the hottest days of the year is no mean feat – but they were captivated.

Immediately following his presentation in Newport, Matt then held an hour long workshop with a group of 25 Year 13 English Language students (with a few Year 9s thrown in who had begged to take part after seeing his presentation!) He taught them how to write an attention grabbing opening to a novel, giving them specific and concrete guidance about how to start the writing process. It was hugely interesting and interactive and by the end of it all the students had written an opening. Again it was pitched perfectly for the audience and delivered with humour and confidence.

I will not hesitate to invite Matt back again – indeed I look forward to it.”

Ousedale School

 

“He was Fab…very challenging for our Students but that was no bad thing…I was pretty amazed at their interest levels…so all brilliant. I also loved the book so really looking forward to the next one.”

Queen Elizabeth’s School

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Matt, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Jane Cabrera

Jane Cabrera is best known as an Author and Illustrator of young Children’s Books.
She has written and illustrated 57 books which have been published worldwide and translated into over 25 languages and won awards in the US and Europe.

Her books range from picture books to board books for babies and toddlers.
Jane designs the whole book, including any novelty aspects and hand typography.

Many of her books are based on traditional nursery rhymes, updated with her own modern fun twist. Great for younger children to sing a-long and do actions to.

She is passionate about creativity and the imagination and keeping that alive in young people and reconnecting it to those who think they are not Artistic, big or small.

 

 

Jane studied graphic design at Art college in the mid 1980s. She grew up just outside London and as a child she wanted to be an Artist and a Detective. Both require being very nosey. Jane loved drawing from an early age.
She worked as a Graphic designer within Children’s book publishing for many years so has a good working knowledge of this industry.

She lives in beautiful Devon between the Moor and Sea with her 2 teenage children. She loves sketching, walking in nature, animals, dancing, gardening and pottery. She also has a fine art practice and paints large murals and signs.

Jane has attended most major UK literary festivals, where she brings her books to life by involving the young children as much as possible. Be it through play, dressing up or making Art. At past events there has been hiding mice, a naughty french dog who did a wee on the Mulberry Bush and a bubble machine Disco!

She has run Art workshops in schools. Most based around her children’s books but also making large display Art with children of all ages. (including a life size paper mache cow and huge plastic bottle flower garlands at the entrance to the school) She has also curated a primary school’s Art exhibition at the local gallery.

Jane’s School Visits

Jane can be flexible for your visit. She can work with children and young people of all ages. Working in communication with your school she can tailor make a class to fit. Jane will bring some of her books for the students to handle, plus sketchbooks and original Artwork. Her classes are more Illustrative based but she will show the link between words and pictures.

Jane also loves sketching. She has a large collection of sketchbooks and has travelled the world sketching its people and places. Longer workshops could involve this too. Taking students out to do observational sketching.

A full list of materials required by the school would be sent in advance. Jane would provide a few bits and pieces herself. Cover up clothes are recommended for more messy Art creations.

If the weather permits, she loves working outside, where creating large works of Art gives the children a chance to be freer to make a creative ‘mess’.

Questions are encouraged throughout. Books can be purchased and signed.

 

ROUGH IDEA OF A SCHOOL DAY WORKSHOPS

The day could start with a short talk to the whole school on being an Author and Illustrator. Showing original Artwork, working rough drawings and books.

If there is time she could possibly doing some live drawing. (A flip chart/overhead projector would be needed.)

Classes can be tailored for each year group. (see below)

Please note, Class sizes to be standard class size or smaller.

Or for select students from different age groups across a school working together for a longer period.

They could create their own picture books or a large communal display.

This could be themed to tie in with the national curriculum.

Jane is also a Mural Artist, which she could organise to create one in your school.

Foundation

Jane would do a little intro and then read some of her books including her versions of sing-a-long, join in action Nursery Rhymes. She’d get the students to join in with noises, actions or maybe dressing up. Then they would settle to make some Art based on her books. This is about 30-40 mins.

KS1 and KS2

As above to start, KS1 would a join in with the action and song books.

For KS2 they would do a warm up large loose drawing or collage.
The students would then create a simple picture book character, maybe design the cover and if time over a few days, write a simple illustrated story of their own. It would be more complex for the older children.

Lessons should ideally be 60-90 mins to get maximum benefit. (with breaks as necessary)

 

 

KS3-4

This would involve a more in-depth talk into the process of writing and Illustrating children’s books. Covering briefly the publishing business, typography, page layout, discussing digital vs non digital illustration etc.
A large drawing/collage would be great as a warm up and then they can design a children’s book character and build a short sentenced ‘story’ of their character

 

KS5-College

As above but with more talk on the focus and passion that is needed to be an author/Illustrator as a Career. Also the different jobs involved in publishing a children’s book.
An honest look at the ups and downs of being a self employed creative. Jane has some great tales on rejection!

Pupils could come with an interest in Art and not necessarily writing.

 

Jane’s Books

Jane has written over 57 books, a full list can be found on her website. Please see a selection below.

 

BOOK REVIEWS

Shapes
Listed as one of the Guardian Best new children’s books Summer 2018

 

Rainbow and Opposites
“This is a lovely book for nursery settings to start children thinking about opposites and to encourage them to think of their own oppositional pairings.” School Zone

“I really like the style of this sturdy board book, which is full of surprises.” Juno Magazine

“Its definitely another lovely board book for little ones to explore.”  The Bookworm baby blog

“Bright and bold, with sweet animal illustrations that make him smile.” Books with Baby Blog

“The exciting and pro-active format of these two shiny, stylish books, and Cabrera’s charming, painterly trademark illustrations, make them irresistible to babies and young children.” Lancashire evening post

 

There was an Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe
“Welcome to a new Old Woman and her little ones, too.” Kirkus Review
A charming reimagining of an originally more cynical nursery rhyme.”  School Library Journal

 

Rock-a-Bye-Baby 
“I
 liked everything about this book, especially the variety of animals in the book and the descriptive language that made up each rhyme.” Youth services book review

 

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
“Cabrera’s winning style—acrylics with bold, black outlines—is perfect for the preschool audience. Both lap listeners and the audience at story hour will be able to see every detail -Another winner from Cabrera.” Kirkus review

 

The 12 Days of Christmas
“Lots of appeal for young children.” School Library Journal

 

Fetch
“a charming, heart warming book”Angels and Urchins

“A sweet little story with adorable illustrations….so attractive for both little ones and their parents too.” The book bag

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
“A nursery charmer.” Kirkus Review
“Charming.” Booklist

The Wheels on the Bus 
“A surefire winner…Not to be missed” School library Journal

Row, Row, Row Your Boat
“A fine addition” Booklist

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush 
“Sure to be successful” Kirkus Review

Old MacDonald Had a Farm
“Exuberant” Booklist

Cat’s Colours 
“Jane Cabrera is one of a number of new picture book illustrators who are breaking the mould in terms of style.” Books Magazine


“…her style exudes the joy of creation…”Publishers Weekly


“…Colours that Zing, my favourite 3 year old (who has great taste) sleeps with it under his pillow.” Vivian French for The Guardian,

The Polar Bear and the Snow Cloud

“A Charming Picture book.”BBC Parenting Parenting magazine

Cat’s Cuddles 
“The language is as alive as the pictures.” The School Librarian Magazine

Snappy Teeth, Twitchy Nose, Floppy Ears, Bright Eyes
“Delightfully bold illustrations and a surprise ending provide added entertainment.” Junior Magazine

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
“A simple Joyous romp.” Kirkus Review

Old Mother Hubbard 
Cabrera’s Illustrations always virtually bubble over with high spirits Publishers weekly

“A real crowd-pleaser” Kirkus review

AWARDS

Many of Jane’s books are on library and school recommended reading lists in the USA.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the year 2015 & Missouri Building Block Award nominee 2015

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the year 2013

If You’re Happy and You Know it  Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Platinum 2006 & Nick Jr, Best Book Award 2006

Row, Row, Row Your Boat Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Gold 2010

Old Mother Hubbard Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Gold 2002

Over in the Meadow Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Platinum 2001

Cat’s Colours Keike Boekprijis, the Netherlands, 2003, shortlisted & The English Association, best Children’s Book, shortlisted, 2003.

 

 

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Jane, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Rowena House

All About Rowena

Rowena House spent years as a Reuter’s foreign correspondent in Europe and Africa before fulfilling a life-time’s ambition to write fiction as well as non-fiction. Her debut short story, The Marshalling of Angelique’s Geese, won the Andersen Press-Bath Spa University prize for WW1 fiction and was published in War Girls, alongside stories from eight of Britain’s top YA authors. Her debut First World War novel for teens, The Goose Road, became an Amazon No. 1 Bestseller in its first week of publication. It was named a Best Book of the Year for younger reader by The Daily Telegraph and has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019. While continuing to work as a journalist, specialised in international development, Rowena gained an MA (distinction) in writing for young people in 2015. Since then she has mentored and taught adult writers, and is currently studying for a Diploma in Education and Training (DET) in order to teach English language to 16+ learners.

 

Rowena’s School Visits

Rowena offers bespoke packages of creative writing workshops, including student writing activities, and talks suitable from Year 6 to Key Stage 5.

Recommended workshop size: maximum 30 learners. Talks: at the school’s discretion.

Resources required: PowerPoint projector; also, for workshops, pens & paper or laptops.

 

Talks: adaptable across the full age range. Duration: 30 minutes illustrated talk, plus 15 minutes Q&A

  • Life as a wordsmith: from foreign correspondent to historical fiction writer
  • Why read & write? The power of stories and storytelling
  • Researching the First World War: a personal journey
  • Historical fiction: a gateway to the present

 

Fiction writing workshops: one hour (or 45 minutes on request) for Key Stages 3 & 4

  • Character creation techniques
  • Voice: what it is and how to create it
  • Dialogue to deepen character and move your plot along
  • The five senses and Place: descriptive writing to enhance character, plot and setting
  • Story structure, including the magic of turning points
  • ‘Show, not tell’ and other professional tips to sharpen your narrative

 

Rowena’s Books

The Goose Road

France 1916. Angélique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. She makes herself a promise: the farm will remain exactly the same until her beloved older brother comes home from the Front. “I think of it like a magical spell. If I can stop time, if nothing ever changes, then maybe he won’t change either.” But a storm ruins the harvest, her mother falls ill and then the requisition appears… In a last-ditch attempt to save the farm from bankruptcy, Angélique embarks on a journey across France with her brother’s flock of magnificent Toulouse geese.

“A gem … House is a wonderful storyteller.” The Daily Telegraph

“A beautiful historical quest bursting with resilience & hope.” South Wales Evening Post

“Gorgeous historical novel … with a tenacious heroine.” The Bookseller

War Girls

1914: war has broken out across Europe and beyond. Nothing will ever be the same again for those caught up in the conflict.

This collection of short stories explores how the First World War changed and shaped the lives of women forever. A courageous nurse risks her life at the Front Line; a young woman discovers independence and intrigue in wartime London; and a grief-stricken widow defends her homeland amidst the destruction of war.

Through these and other tales, War Girls presents a moving portrait of loss and grief, and of hope overcoming terrible odds.

“War Girls gathers together some of the finest writers for older readers to bring to life the impact the First World War had on women … Excellent.” The Bookseller

“Remarkable collection of powerfully moving stories.” Ham & High

 

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Rowena, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Sue Hardy-Dawson

All About Sue

Sue Hardy Dawson is a poet and illustrator. Her first solo collection ‘Where Zebras Go’ was shortlisted for the 2018 CLiPPA prize. Sue’s poems and teaching resources can be found on the CLPE website. Her second collection, ‘Apes to Zebras’ with poetry ambassadors, Roger Stevens and Liz Brownlee won the North Somerset Teachers Book Awards. A new solo collection ‘If I Were Other Than Myself’ is out next spring with Troika. Sue has a First Class Honours Degree. She loves to visit schools and do workshops. As a dyslexic poet, she also loves encouraging reluctant readers and writers.

Sue’s School Visits

Sue can provide both poetry and illustration workshops and generally works with key stages 2 and 3 and has also worked with adults. A typical day would include an introductory performance and up to four one hour sessions with a class per session, however this can be split in other ways see below.

Performances:

KS2: around 30 minutes of puppets and poetry with occasional help from the audience.
KS3: around 45 minutes with time to ask questions and talk about being a dyslexic author

Workshops:

KS2&3: Both illustration and poetry workshops are generally 50mins to produce a first draft or illustration and consider ways of developing them.
Upper KS2&3 multisensory workshops around an hour five minutes including set up and computer or CD player access required.
Upper KS2&3 concrete poetry. Note, these will require two sessions: optional finishing in an IT suite.
Lower KS2 3D shape poems, involves craft activities, also two sessions.
Optional Q&A, book signing etc. during school lunch time for children who wish to attend, however, Sue will require a 30 minute comfort and food break.

Sue can also be commissioned to assist pupils to produce large scale artworks, e.g. a mural or 3D installation. Timing for these would be negotiated on a case by case basis.

 

Sue’s Books

Where Zebras Go

“Where the elephants leave their bones where gazelle and bison follow where the great Sirocco blows where the rains go – zebra goes” Get ready to join in the Poetry Olympics, question a snake, talk to a toad and learn 20 ways to avoid monsters and mythical beasts. Where Zebras Go will lead you leads you on a magical journey across the Savannah, into fairy tale realms, back into the playground and through the seasons, introducing a whole host of animals along the way.

“A celebration of the magic of language. Sure to challenge, amaze and enchant.” Rachel Rooney

“A strong sense of inventive joy and verbal beauty characterise Where Zebras Go…” Playing by the Book  

CLPE Book of the Week  – CliPPA shortlist

“This is a little book full of magic. Sue Hardy-Dawson’s exciting debut solo collection is a triumph…” Poetry Zone

“…It’s always exciting to discover a new voice in children’s poetry – and this debut collection reveals a talent that is very special indeed…quite simply, a triumph…” Teach Primary

“…It is this attention to the visual nature of poetry that makes the collection so distinctive and gives it special child appeal…” The Reading Zone

“…Sue Hardy-Dawson has written a collection of poems to rival any of the well-known anthologies…” School Librarian

 “Sue Hardy-Dawson is both a poet and an artist, and Where Zebras Go is a perfect marriage of these two disciplines…” Carousel, Brian Moses

“…an unusual debut that can genuinely be described as a page-turner…” Book Trust

“…I guarantee every teacher and student will find a verse within its pages to share, perform or marvel at…” North Somerset Teachers Book Award long list

Apes to Zebras

This gorgeous collection of animal poems from Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee and Sue Hardy-Dawson will entrance and delight in equal measure. Featuring a full alphabet of animals, birds, and insects, with the odd extinct or imaginary creature thrown in, these beautiful shape poems are a perfect way to introduce children to poetry. Some funny, some serious, there is something here for everyone.

“This is an inspiring collection that really highlights how fascinating shape poems can be…I love this book…” Parents in Touch

“Featuring a full alphabetical array from the extraordinary and the exotic to the extinct and the non-existent from well-liked and recognised poets Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson & Roger Stevens, this will amaze, amuse and appeal to classes throughout the primary school and have them eagerly wanting to write their own shape poems…” The Reader Teacher

“Apes to Zebras is eye-catchingly illustrated in bright colours with trailing, undulating text forming the shapes of the beasts…” QA Nursery
“This is a book that will set children off on their own explorations of how words and images can be interlinked…” Brian Moses, Welcome to the Ssssssnake Hotel Blog


“Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens have created a truly memorable poetry book in ‘Apes to Zebras’…Every subject is analysed, realised and almost eulogised in its own beautiful poem…” Bookwagon

“There is a beautiful simplicity in the text of the poems that allows you to appreciate the usage of words as a clear illustrative form… A fabulous resource for both home and school…” Philippa Rae, Kidscene

 

Examples of Sue’s Poems and Illustrations

 

 

The Kiss

I found an autumn necklace, in the hedge,
silken threads, strung with tiny beads.
Yet when I touched a strand, it fell,
leaving only scattered tears.

I found a winter diamond on the wall,
cold and sharp as dragon’s scale.
Yet though I locked it in a box,
somehow it stole itself away.

I found spring dancers in the wood,
their faces reaching for the sun.
Yet when I put them in a glass
each grew heavy on its stem.

I found a summer moon beside the road,
floating in a shallow pool.
Yet as I lifted it, it broke.
I cried: I’d meant to let it go.

Mum wrapped me in her strong warm arms,
showed me the moon, still small and new.
Some things, she said, cannot be owned,
then gave me a kiss. I have it still…

 

 

Recommendations & Reviews

‘Sue’s poems are objects of heartfelt beauty and artistry, and her workshops are inspirational in encouraging students to access their creativity and imaginations.’ Award winning poet and Educator Joshua Seigal

‘Sue Hardy-Dawson’s poems are lyrical and surprising – she builds new worlds with words.  Whether funny or sad they never fail to be interesting as she uses language to engage and delight. She is also an experienced educator and workshop leader. What’s not to like?’ Poet and Fiction writer Jan Dean

‘Sue Hardy Dawson is the most poetic of poets – she uses a language rarely seen in children’s poetry today and intersperses this with such original ideas that she is fast becoming one of the freshest and most exciting voices on the scene.’ Poetry Postie, poet musician Sally Crabtree 

 

School/Library Endorsements

Sue…was a real hit with the children.  She happily worked from Year One through to Year Six, capturing and engaging them at an appropriate level in the workshops that she delivered. Her enthusiasm and passion for her work and children’s writing came through in the practical activities in which the children used their senses to create their own poems. She also made a fantastic judge critiquing performance poetry throughout the school as a culmination to Poetry week.’ Mr James Hughes, Acting Headteacher, Willow Tree Community Primary School

‘… Sue got everybody crafting their own poems inspired by objects she’d brought with her. Despite the workshop having a mix of ages and abilities she created a very supportive and encouraging atmosphere and her gentle approach was a great success…we would love Sue to visit us again.’ Ms Jo Huett, School Librarian Rossett School

‘…Sue oozes creativity from every pore! Over many years, she has been at the artistic heart of our busy Easter Holiday Club, bring together dozens of children and adults to create larger than life tableaux on each year’s theme. She values each child, engages with each one at their level, and yet knows instinctively how to bring out the best in them….’

Rev Clare MacLaren Canon for Music and Liturgy Newcastle Cathedral

 

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Sue, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk