This week I have two school visits, and doing the first one yesterday reminded me just how much I enjoy going into schools to talk about books, writing, the world and cake (in that order).
I’d been invited back to Didcot Girls’ School, where I used to be Patron of Reading, to talk to Year 8 about my novel LOOKING AT THE STARS, which was first published in 2014 and is about a family torn apart by civil war and the power of storytelling in the darkest times. It’s been a looooong time since I talked about this book, and while creating my presentation, I happened across the Bulgarian edition online, which is something I’ve never seen before! I knew the rights had sold to Bulgaria, but I never got a copy or saw the front cover, so this was really exciting! (and also kind of: huh. The author is never told anything.)
I always LOVE seeing my foreign edition covers – the Bulgarian one here is so clever, stringing the stars onto a line that makes them look like the barbed wire of the refugee camp below.
Anyway, I loved talking to Y8 who were intelligent and responsive and asked great questions and even challenged me on a couple of things – it’s so important that we show young people that being open to other viewpoints is a good thing and that we are allowed to change our minds when presented with new information! After the talk, loads of them came to see me in the Library to have their books and planners signed. Looking at the Stars is one of their class reads this year, which is an amazing thought. Not only did I sign books and planners but also some specially made papier mache lemons!!
It was also a great opportunity to mention the upcoming book THE STARLIGHT STABLES GANG, which publishes at the end of March. Year 8s will mostly be a little on the old side for the story, but I bet some of them are interested in horses, and some of them will also have younger siblings who love everything pony.
Tomorrow I’m off to the wilds of Tower Hamlets to talk to a Y7 group about writing and my book JELLY. And in the meantime, edits on the second Starlight Stables book have come in, so I’m nice and busy!