Contact, Links and Visits
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School and Library visits:
I enjoy visiting schools and libraries to talk and work with children of nursery age up to Year 6. I share my stories, discuss with the children about where story ideas come from and how they can find ideas for themselves, what a story is, and how to write it. We might use the children’s own ideas to come up with a new story that they can work on in class later. I’m keen to enthuse children with the whole idea of stories and books, and also to make clear that it’s possible to be good at story making even when you’re not the best at reading and writing. I was very slow to learn to read when I was at primary school, but I did love playing stories!
I’m happy to work around whatever suits the school by way of timetable, but suggest that the youngest, nursery, children do best in small groups (so that they can see the pictures close-up) and for sessions of about twenty minutes. By Year 2 a session of about 40-45 minutes might work best, giving time for conversation about stories and writing as well as sharing books. And by Years 5 and 6 an hour or even a bit more can happily be filled with stories and talk and questions and answers.
I usually speak to each year group or individual classes, in turn, but sometimes I do workshops with a selected group of children in which we create a new story. I might speak to a whole school assembly. I’m always happy to answer children’s questions, to judge competitions, or any other reasonable story-related requests!
If I’m coming by car, I can bring books to sell and sign for the children if you’d like me to. If you’d like me to sell books, then parents need to be made aware so that money is brought. If you’d like a suggested list of titles for parents to order in advance, I can help with that. On the day it’s a great help if a member of staff can help with selling books if I need to be busy signing them (I tend to pay for the service with a book or two!). I’m also happy to stay and sign copies of my books if you have a bookstall supplied by a local bookseller or school book fair, or if children bring in books they already own.
Please note that I am the author of the Winnie the Witch storybooks, written under the fake name of Laura Owen, but am not the author of the Winnie the Witch picture books, which are written by Valerie Thomas. If you’d like a Winnie the Witch theme throughout the school, I’m happy to use the Winnie picture books with the youngest children, but I don’t want to mislead anybody into thinking that I am the author of those books!
I charge £375 for a full day or £250 for half a day. Living just outside Cambridge, I charge 45p per mile travel expenses (or train fare) for anywhere outside Cambridgeshire, but nothing for travel within that county.
How to prepare for a visit:
Children will get the most out of a visit if they have been introduced to a book or two of mine before my visit, and perhaps thought of some questions they’d like to ask me. They can find out about me as a child by reading the little stories that appear in the About Me section of this website. You might like to access the teaching materials based on my novel A Dog Called Flow, activities to do with Winnie The Witch, or a colouring sheet for You Choose.
I’d like to have a timetable for the day’s visit emailed to me in advance so that I can arrive at your school fully prepared.
Let me know if you’d like me to bring books to sell.
Please let me know whether or not I will be able to park within the school grounds (if I’m coming by car).
If you’d like display material about my books, then go the relevant publisher websites, and email their publicity departments. NB It’s possible to hire a Winnie the Witch costume, complete with Wilbur the cat, from Oxford University Press.
Critiquing and writing help
Author Visit Agencies
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