Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Dragonsitter's Party

The dragons are back - and this time they've got cake. And crisps, and balloons, and hats, and presents. It's Eddie's birthday, and he's having a party...


 The fifth book in the Dragonsitter series will be published in March 2015. As always, the pictures are by Garry Parsons.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Otter class

Thank you, Otter Class at Stanwell Fields Primary School, which I visited a couple of weeks ago. I did an assembly for the whole school in the morning, then taught some creative writing sessions for the rest of the day; as I was packing up to go home, one of the teachers presented me with this lovely little booklet that her class had made:





Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A day in Derbyshire libraries

The librarians of Derbyshire invited me to their fine county last week to talk about my books and launch their Summer Reading Challenge.

I spent the morning in Chesterfield library and the afternoon in Ilkeston.





The first photo shows me with Councillor Dave Allen and some pupils from Abercrombie school; the others are from Chesterfield and Ilkeston libraries.

More on the library’s pages:

https://www.facebook.com/DerbyshireLibraries/photos

https://www.flickr.com/photos/derbyshirelibrariesheritage/ 
http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/services/children_young_people/summer_reading_challenge/default.asp

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

This is what a good writer looks like

Thank you, Lilyrose - you came to my talk at Teddington Library last week, and did these two brilliant pictures to show just what a good writer looks like:








Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Cholsey and Agatha Christie

Just around the corner from Cholsey Primary School, where I am currently the Patron of Reading, is a small and beautiful church. When I was visiting the school a couple of weeks ago - I'll write about that visit here very soon - I nipped away at lunchtime and, rather than sitting in the staffroom, wandered through the churchyard, past mossy graves, to a heavy stone squatting in the furthest corner from the entrance. This grave belongs to Agatha Christie, who lived a couple of miles away on the outskirts of Wallingford, and attended the church.

Here is the front of the grave:


This is taken from the other side, with the church in the background: 


And here is the entrance to Cholsey church: 


Next time I visit Cholsey, I'm planning to walk across the fields to Christie's home, Winterbrook House. And I'll also ask the children at the school how much they know about their famous neighbour, and whether any of them have read or watched the exploits of Poirot and Miss Marple. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Patron of Reading

I'm very pleased that the staff and pupils of Cholsey Primary School have asked me to be their Patron of Reading for the next three years. 

I'm going to visiting the school tomorrow, talking to classes, seeing the library, talking about my books and hearing about the books that Cholseyites love. 

(Cholseyites? Is that the correct collective noun for a group of people who live in Cholsey? I don't know, but I'm sure I'll find out tomorrow.)

I've been to the school once before. After that, I was sent some letters from the pupils to forward to Uncle Morton. I'm afraid he took several weeks to reply, but he is very busy at the moment.

I was also sent this picture of a fantastic display that the children have created.


If you don't know about the Patron of Reading scheme, you can find out all about it here: http://www.patronofreading.co.uk



Friday, 13 June 2014

Was football taken to Brazil by an Englishman or a Scotsman?

I've noticed a few mentions of Charles Miller in the run-up to the World Cup, mostly in arguments about whether football was introduced to Brazil by an Englishman or a Scotsman.

I get emails every now and then from strangers, asking the same question. What was Charles Miller's nationality? Was he English or Scottish? I don't think my answer satisfies nationalists of any persuasion: I always say that he was British.

As for the other question that strangers often email me to ask - was Miller really the first man to play football in Brazil, or should Thomas Donohue get the credit? - my answer must be equally unsatisfying: I don't think it really matters. The first Brazilian footballer probably wasn't either of them, since I'm sure some sailors on a British boat would have brought a football - or even an apple or a rolled-up ball of paper - and played a quick game on the quayside at Santos or some other port along the coast even earlier in the 19th century. For me, the most interesting thing about Charlie Miller is his place at the heart of the British community in Brazil, and the way that community has, just like football, been absorbed into the country and utterly transformed. 

If you want to read the full story of Charles Miller, my book God is Brazilian is only £1.99 from the kindle store:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/God-Brazilian-Charles-Brought-Football-ebook/dp/B0076AB1ZA/

Thursday, 1 May 2014

I Wish I'd Written

Books for Keeps asked me to choose the one book that I wished I had written. My answer was...

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Dragonsitter's Island

The 4th Dragonsitter book will be published at the beginning of March.

Garry Parsons and I are going to be doing several publicity events together, including the Imagine Festival on the Southbank on Saturday 15 February. 



In The Dragonsitter's Island, Eddie, Emily and their mum travel to Uncle Morton's island in Scotland.

They're just supposed to be looking after his dragons while he's in Outer Mongolia, but they soon discover that the island is full of surprises....