I recently attended the Franche Primary school in Kidderminster for my first Author visit. I had been approached by one of the teachers who wanted to buy several copies of my latest children’s book ‘Every White Horse’ and so I was thrilled when they invited me to go and join their weekly enrichment class.
The pupils aged 7-8 had worked on my book for several weeks before the visit and put in a lot of hard work to prepare.
I had fun in the previous days too with my own preparations as I wanted to take some props with me. I hit the local charity shops and found so many things that I could use, including an old leather camera case which I could fit everything into and a tiny white horse. I also took along a unicorn glove puppet, some unicorn food and of course, my story telling cloak, all of which were scenes from my book.
When I arrived I was shown to the classroom by the form tutor. I was spellbound when she showed me the huge computer screen with scenes from my book! It was an incredible sight to see it broken down page by page and on such a grand scale too!
The class of seven then joined us. They were nervous to start with but after a little chat with me and a promise that they could all try my cloak on, they started to relax. They were amazing as they acted out every part of my story applying story telling techniques to each section. It was so exciting to see my story so animated; they really brought it to life.
Following this, I fetched my case and one by one brought out the props. The glove puppet went down very well, so well I thought I would never get it back when one little girl asked if he could go home with her for tea! They all had a go at touching the unicorn food and holding the little white horse.
More excitement followed as in turn they all tried on my cloak and had their picture taken. It’s a beautiful green one with gold brocade around the hood and it was a magical experience to share it with them. They loved it, even the solitary boy ran round the class room exclaiming that he was Harry Potter!
After that we had a question and answer session. I was thrilled with the type of questions they came up with as prior to going I thought they may really put me on the spot but they were great and relevant. We had so much fun and it resulted in some wonderful topics of conversation.
They also chose their favourite part of the story which was photocopied for them and I signed them all in true book signing style.
Finally, we just had enough time for me to read my story back to them. I usually hate reading out but this felt so different, my confidence grew as I could see those faces genuinely interested in what I was saying. It was an experience that I will never forget. I just hope I get the chance to do it again.