I love doing school author visits. For a start it’s a chance to meet my customers: the people who I write for (okay, okay: for whom I write!). It’s a wonderful opportunity to tell them what it’s like to be an author, how life-changing books can be and how easy it is to obtain them from a library. Most important of all, a school author visit enables me to inspire children to read.
This is what I enjoy most and what I do best. I share some of my favourite giggly bits from my own books and show children that reading can be fun. I tell them that authors get to do exciting things like travel and open fan mail and maybe even appear on Blue Peter! I reveal the amazing fact that when I do some writing, people give me money for it. And I tell them that being a reader can make them clever. Into the mix I throw some wonderful stories, a few jokes and some fascinating insights into the world of publishing. And they are hooked.
I get them excited about reading, as you can see. And often, the teachers are excited too. But what I really want is for the excitement to carry on after the visit, for kids to pick up a book, for them to get down to their local library and, most of all, to carry on reading – to pick up the habit. I often get lovely emails from schools thanking me for kick-starting a change of culture and creating the kind of buzz that will launch a campaign for children to become readers, reading for pleasure. There are excerpts from some of these messages on the visits page of this site.
But the letters I like receiving the most are from parents. These are people who have gone to my website and tracked me down after their child has come home enthused. I love getting these very special thankyou notes and one arrived recently which was so wonderful that I asked if I could share it. Here it is.
If you’re a teacher and would like me to visit your school and inspire your children to read then please get in touch.