Sunday, 24 May 2015

Happy Birthday to Queen Victoria

On this day in 1819, Alexandrina Victoria was born at Kensington Palace in London.You can find out all about her in my History Heroes book... Victoria I....

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Cardiff City FC Reading Stars

Here's a BIG HELLO to all of the Reading Stars that are coming along to join in the fun at the Cardiff City Stadium this week... I had a great time last week with everyone at the Swansea Stadium and now I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone from Pontypridd, Cathays High, Romily Primary School, Ifor Hael, Lakeside Primary, Albert Primary School, Dyffryn Taf, Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig and Fairwater Primary School (Ysgol Gynradd Y Tyllgoed)...

A big thank you to the national Literacy Trust for arranging the events and for inviting me to take part.

See you all soon.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Premier League Reading Stars

I had a great time last week visiting The Liberty Stadium in Swansea - home to both Swansea City Football Club and the Ospreys Rugby Team - so that I could meet keen 'Premier League Reading Stars' from lots of schools in and around the Swansea area...

It was the first time I've been to Swansea though Vicky and I will certainly be going back to have a proper look round in the near future. When I go off visiting schools and libraries around the country I usually only get a brief glimpse of places (just motorways, a hotel room and a school or library - but sometimes that's enough to make us want to go back for a better look).

I had planned to arrive in Swansea earlier in the day so that I would have a bit more time to have a walk and a drive around but unfortunately our car was in the garage being repaired so I didn't get there until around 7 in the evening - just enough time to have a little walk before getting something for my tea and then settling down for a bit of  rest before the rest of the week's activities. I was very impressed with the Sail Bridge that spans the river by the harbour...

On the morning of the visit to the Liberty Stadium I was up early for breakfast, a drive over to the stadium, set up for the day's events and still enough time for a little look round.

It was great meeting everyone and a real privilege to be allowed to have a wander around the stadium.
On the way home I took the scenic route over the beautiful Brecon Beacons...

Catching brief glimpses of wild ponies on the way

and past the Brecon Reservoir...

This week I'm off to Cardiff City Football Stadium for another big Premier League Reading Stars with the National Literacy Trust... I can't wait...   

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Premier League Reading Stars

Today I'm in Swansea and very much looking forward meeting everyone at the Swansea City Football Stadium for a big event that has been arranged with the National Literacy Trust. I will blog more about the even and about the Premier League Football Stars but for now you can click HERE to visit the official website to find out all about it. 
I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone involved, an especially the everyone from Beufort Hill, Abersychan School, Ysgol Lon Las, Awel Y Mor Primary School, Pengelli Primary School, St Mary's and St Patrick's RC Maesteg, Newton Primary School, Penyrheol Comprehensive, Cwmbach Community School, Bishop Gore School, and Pembroke Dock Community School. 

See you all soon...

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

School Visits in Switzerland (Part 1)

According recent research carried out by YouGov being an 'author' is the most desired job in Great Britain with 60% of people interviewed stating that it would the job they would most like to have, so I feel very lucky. My wife, Vicky, is a librarian - voted the second most desirable job - so it looks like we have it made.
Being an author isn't the easy job that some people imagine though. Not only do most authors not get paid anywhere near as much as you might think but also there's also the added worry of not knowing when (or even if) you're going to get paid. But despite this, I love it... and for me it really is the best job in the world. There's nothing else I would rather do.

Not only do I love spending my time writing stories and rhymes for young people but, another great (and essential) part of the job is visiting schools, libraries and just about anywhere else that will have me. It's wonderful having the opportunity to share stories and meet keen young readers and writers - and equally great meeting those less keen readers and writers and showing just what they might be missing and how much fun it can be. As an adult it can be easy to forget just how much hard work is involved in learning to read... something which can easily take away the sheer enjoyment of reading for pleasure.

As well as visiting schools and libraries all around the UK I am lucky to get invited to visit schools abroad. Just before the Easter Holidays I spent a few days visiting schools in and around Montreux in Switzerland... Here's how it went:

I was all packed and ready the night before my journey was due to start so that I could set off nice and early and drive to the airport for my flight to Geneva. The plane took off on time and we were soon cruising at 39,000 feet (see picture above). Just time for a coffee, a biscuit and a read of my book and we were flying over Lake Geneva and preparing to land.

The next step of the journey was a train ride along the side of Lake Geneva. The fact that I was on the train for over an hour shows just how big the lake is. The Deputy Head of one of the schools that had arranged the visit kindly met me at the railway station in Montreux and showed me the way to the hotel where I would be staying.

After checking in to my room I had just enough time for a little look around Montreux. Before long the sun was starting to set as you can see in this picture of the statue of Freddie Mercury that looks out across the lake.

It was time for me to head back to the hotel so I could get something to east and have an early night... all ready for my visit to St George's International School the following morning.  

As you will soon see from Part 2 of my Switzerland visit, some of the schools I visited probably look a lot different to the school you go to. Do you have skis lined up outside your classroom?