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

Gillian McClure

Gillian McClure has had over twenty five picture books published. Several of them have been short-listed for awards; one was highly commended for the Kate Greenaway Medal and another, Selkie, won the US Parent’s Guide to Children’s Media Award for Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Books. She has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Kent and Essex Universities and has had many years’ experience of giving workshops in schools and libraries.

Gillian’s School Visits

Gillian works with primary aged children, with KS1 and KS2.

Workshops offered.

In a day Gillian can give four one hour workshops plus either an assembly introduction on what she does with a Q&A, or a shorter Nursery/ Reception story telling. Gillian’s objective is to inspire and encourage pupils to create their own stories in a variety of ways according to their age, using illustration as a way into writing.

• Nursery/Reception – a story telling session based on We’re Going to Build a Dam, Flood, Prickly Pig or Dog on Wheels where pupils can enjoy the story using puppets characters and actions 30 mins

• Year 1 – a story telling session based on The Little White Sprite where pupils can act out the story using puppets and then explore the idea of going in into a magical world of their own. A3 sheets of paper and chunky crayons, charcoal or pastels will be needed for this. 1 hour

• Year 2 – a workshop where pupils use puppet characters from Selkie to see how a story develops and then compare their story with Gillian’s 1 hour

• Year 2 –  Character -an illustration/story workshop where pupils can make up their own character; giving that character a problem that needs to be solved – A3 sheets of paper and chunky crayons, charcoal or pastels will be needed for this. 1 hour

• Year 3&4 – a workshop based on Zoe’s Boat: sketching a place in a sequel story as if seen through a pair of binoculars. Black pens will be needed for this. Gillian can bring A4 paper with the binocular frames. 1 hour

• Or – an illustration/story workshop where pupils think of their own special place that can lead them into a story- A3 sheets of paper and crayons or pastels will be needed for this, or watercolour paints if you think this is appropriate for the number of pupils to adults. 1 hour

• Year 5&6 – a general Q&A session looking at artwork, layouts and roughs, seeing how text and illustration are integrated in the picture book and what it’s like to be an author/illustrator. 1 hour

• Years 5&6 – A writing workshop based on Gillian’s book Selkie where puppets are used engage the pupils’ imagination and inspire them to draw and write about one of these magical creatures. A4 paper, drawing and writing materials 1 hour

In all workshops Gillian will have original artwork and rough drawings for pupils to look at and discuss and where required she can do quick sample drawings.

An example of a typical school day – this is for guidance only. Gillian is happy to work with your school day and format.

an example of a timetable :
9.10 – 9.35 whole school assembly
9.45-10.45 years 5/6
Break 10.45-11
11- 11.50 year 1 (Reception )
Lunch 12-1
1-2 Years 3&4
2-3 Year 2
3.10-3.30 book signing

Gillian is able to take up to two classes of children at once for her workshops.

All workshops are one hour long except for nursery or reception sessions which are 30 mins or 45 mins.

Requirements for each workshop are listed individually above, but typically Gillian will need a flip chart, A 3 paper and black writing pens, or felt tips for sketching and chunky crayons – no pencils or rubbers!

Gillian’s Books


Peter has heard of the legend of the Selkie seals who turn into humans – but cannot believe it when he rescues a real live Selkie from the oysterman’s nets. Can he save them both when danger threatens?


We’re Going to Build a Dam

‘We’re going to dam a stream, hold its water back’. Two boys – and a dog – find a place where the streams meet the sea. Can they build a dam that will hold back the water? Well, there are stones and driftwood and strands of seaweed – is it enough to stop the stream? And what is the dog up to? With fluid, engaging line and watercolour illustrations, Gillian McClure’s story captures the spontaneity and excitement of friends working and playing together. And in the visual narrative they can enjoy following the antics of the dog.


Dog on Wheels

Dog pals Dubbin and Todd are going on a walk before breakfast: Dubbin on his skateboard and Todd lagging behind on his paws. Not only that but Todd is also carrying a huge bone which is attracting attention from another, not so nice dog. Can Dubbin, Todd and the bone get home safely? A lovely dog story with a contemporary twist and charming illustrations.


Zoe’s Boat

Friendship isn’t all smooth sailing. Zoe lives by the river with her dear old dog. Seeing all the boats go by only makes Zoe want to go to sea herself. But there is a lot to be done before she can leave and dog is not sure he wants to go with her. So Zoe heads off alone and it’s not long before she reaches the sea and some very dangerous waves. ‘Help!’ cries Zoe – but who can help?


It rained and it rained, water poured down from the sky. Out in a field, Old Slodger the Ox kept his head down, eyes to the ground, and close by, Fussy Hen squawked and looked his way and that for the Hungry Fox. When three animals – an ox, a fox and a hen – find themselves thrown together in a flood, they realise they must work together as a team if they are to reach land safely. Can they manage to cooperate and save themselves?


Little White Sprite

A boy thinks there is something living inside the hollow tree that stands in the park. It is only when he is pulled through a hole and finds himself inside the tree that the boy discovers what it is – a little white Sprite. They play together in the Sprite’s world, but when it’s time for the boy to return the Sprite doesn’t want him to leave. In delicate watercolour illustrations, this is a gentle story showing a mysterious and magical friendship.

Recommendations & Reviews

“The children of Mayfield from year 1 to 6 were inspired by the beautiful story of the Selkie to write their own stories and poems. It was wonderful for them to meet Gillian at the end of Book Week and hear first-hand how the story was written and illustrated. The experience has encouraged our children to write and draw and we have seen some wonderful independent storytelling as a result.”

“The children and teachers were very inspired by your illustrations and the workshop overall. The work the children produced during your visit was in turn so inspiring.”  Sarah Quigley – Bonneville Primary School Librarian

“Gillian McClure gave a fascinating talk on picture books to graduates on masters courses on book illustration and children’s literature from both Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Faculty of Education. She used delightful examples from her own work to illustrate points she was making about the art of picture books. Gillian had an excellent rapport with her audience and took time and trouble to answer their questions. Highly recommended.” Morag Styles, Cambridge Faculty of Education

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Gillian McClure, 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

Gillian McClure