Thursday, 6 March 2014

World Book Day - as an Author!

In the many years I helped out in and then worked in school, I loved World Book Day. Partly because I got a chance to dress up, but mostly because it's a celebration of all things book-y. And I've always loved books.

This year, I was in school again on World Book Day, but this time as an author. With a book, written by me, to share with the children! So please, forgive me if this post is a little longer than normal...I'm just a tad excited!

I wrote an earlier post to explain what I was planning for each of the five 30-minute sessions. I have to say, it seemed to go really well.

For a start, the children actually listened to the part of Granny Rainbow I read. (I was mean - didn't read the whole thing because of the timings - but it was all part of my plan and each class was given a copy of the book so they can find out later how the story ends...) The fact that the children listened might sound a bit obvious, but I've read aloud to classes in the past and know exactly how much fidgeting goes on if you've failed to catch their attention.

The children also rose to my 'three objects from a story bag' challenge. 3KT looked at their teacher in disbelief when I told them I wasn't worried about capital letters or full stops - it was all about ideas today.

And what ideas!

3KT picked out a tin of baked beans, a wooden cat and a shell and were so engrossed in their stories, they carried on writing them after I'd moved on to the next class. By lunchtime, there were around 25 stories about flying shells and talking cats and magic beans and a cover, all ready for binding in 3KT's very own World Book Day book of stories.

3PW also got the baked beans, cat and a single long, rainbow-striped sock. I can't remember many of the stories that were written and drawn, but there was a king who had his sock stolen by a cat who liked to eat baked beans...

3/4IM picked out something totally different - mainly 'cos I took the beans and the cat out of the bag! When a dragon, star and miniature alarm clock appeared, we ended up with a sausage-stealing dragon, time-travelling clocks and all sorts of dragon-defeating heroes. It was in this class that I saw the most effective use of picto-mapping a story. A couple of the boys who struggle with writing told the most fabulous stories from their picture maps, filling in with fantastic vocabulary that they probably would not have attempted to write.

Which just goes to show that capturing a story can be done in a medium other than words and who knows? These little fellas might go on to draw comic strips or be film-makers instead of 'writers' in the conventional sense of the word. They can certainly tell a story...

Over lunch, I discovered that certain staff members had been googling me and wanted to know all about the book - I also received several orders!

Then I was off to 4MC. (Mr C was a beta reader of the very early versions of both StarMark and Rurik; it's thanks to some of his comments that Rurik ended up much better than it started.) Anyway - the children chose a police car, a gold coin and the alarm clock. There were stories with Hansel and Gretel type gold coin trails and pirates who'd stolen gold coins and were forced to walk their own plank by the policemen who caught them!

The final visit was to 4CR - or possibly 4NR - where a combination of the sock, alarm clock and the cat set story ideas whizzing round the room in spite of it being the end of the day. Lots of the socks were coming alive and kicking people, although one ended up on the cat's tail. One bright spark used the sock to deaden the sound of the alarm clock 'cos the cat didn't like the bells...

It was HUGE fun.

If I did it all again, what would I do differently? Use a smaller tin of beans, because the children tended to grab the bigger items in the story bag. Remember to ask if I can take photos! Not because I took them without asking - I just forgot to ask and got stuck in...Other than that, not much.

I came home shattered but buzzing. Although I'd taken Granny Rainbow in to share with the children, and they'll have the opportunity to buy the book through the PSA, I felt that the emphasis was definitely on storytelling, not story selling.

Which makes me one very happy author tonight.


  1. Sounds like it was a huge success. You look very comfortable sitting there too. Well done!

    1. It certainly made me realise I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm for books and storytelling with the children...

  2. Brilliant! Well done, Katherine. Sounds like a fantastic day :-)

    1. Oh, Mandy - it was! I've heard since that some of the children went home begging to be bought Granny Rainbow...which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!