March 2015

March has been such an exciting month! I visited lots of schools and spent time with some fabulous children making up stories and talking about what it’s like being a writer.

Us Minus Mum -websiteEqually exciting is that Us Minus Mum has not only been long listed for the Carnegie Medal but has now been short listed for the UKLiteracy Association Awards. Whooohoo! I have to wait until July to know more about the UKLA final judging announcement; but thank you to everyone!

TMD coverThen I received my first copies of The Milkshake Detectives (to be published on April 2nd) and it looks amazing. The design and different fonts and styles of writing are great. Thank you Kate and Becca and other lovely people at Little, Brown for what you’ve made my manuscript.

CBUKOn top of all that excitement, I was presented with an award from the charity Child Bereavement UK for raising awareness of the needs of bereaved children in schools.  My yellow jacket is new and I bought it for a fantastic family wedding we had in Sheffield a few weeks ago. It has been non-stop excitement in our house!

Meanwhile, I met up with my agent, Penny Holroyde, at Tate Britain. We thought about what I’ll be writing for the next few months. Next Monday I’ll be writing words as I will be locked in battle over a Scrabble board with two friends. We meet regularly and I won last time. Trouble is, the other two practice in between times on their computers and I don’t! I am not sure whether that is cheating or not… what do you think?

Anyway – enjoy whatever you are doing today and have a lovely Easter. At our church we’ll be celebrating with a special family Passover meal which I am really looking forward to.

tiny dogAll this excitement doesn’t stop me talking to people! Here’s a family I met when I was shopping. They had a beautiful little puppy so I asked if I could take their photograph and put it on my website.

Child Bereavement UK Award

Thank you Child Bereavement UK for nominating me to be one of the 21 Champions to celebrate your twenty first birthday. I did not expect the award and am delighted to accept it. Writing books with you has been a privilege.

Helping...bereavement jpegJill Adams from Child Bereavement UK helped with the writing of  Helping Children Think About Bereavement. The book is four lessons based round a story about a turtle. The same story is told in five different ways for three  age groups – 5-7, 7-9, 9-11 – and also for children who speak English as a second language or have learning difficulties.  There are activities to do and the difficult bits are fully scripted so the adult working through the story with children doesn’t have to worry about ‘getting it right’. The idea behind the book is to think about bereavement before it happens so children have the resilience and emotional literacy to cope if/when loss or bereavement happen. For more details, click here.

The characters in Us Minus Mum came to life as I worked on Helping Children Think About Bereavement. The narrative follows a family from the time when Mum is diagnosed with a brain tumour to her death. As well as being sad, it is also very funny and was nominated as one of Book Bag’s top ten readers, long listed for the Carnegie Book, UK Literacy Association Book and also Warwickshire County Book Awards. The theory and insights I gained from working on Helping Children Think About Bereavement were the foundation for Us Minus Mum. For more details, click here.

To find out more about me, go to my website.