I love animal sidekicks. My children’s series ‘The Cogheart Adventures’ features an animal sidekick named Malkin. Malkin is a mechanical fox. Unlike a real fox he can talk, but, just like a real fox, if real foxes could talk, he has high-minded opinions about everything.
Here are six of my favourite animal sidekicks from children’s literature…
Who are you favourite animal sidekicks?
Why not write a story with your own animal sidekick in?
Two weeks ago I went to do a workshops with A Tale Unfolds as part of a new Readingzone project that will be coming soon to help children create book trailers for their favourite books in classrooms. We had a fantastic time at Copenhagen School in Islington working with the kids to create a trailer for Cogheart
Afterwards Dom from A Tale Unfolds asked if I would like to do an interview for their ongoing youtube series: The Secret Staff Meeting, which is aimed at introducing authors to teachers. Here are the results. We chatted about how I got my start in writing, my background in film, the books and how I write them, things I think should be taught in schools, and my new book Skycircus. You can check out the interview below…
I am delighted to announce that on the third of May (over a month ago now, but I am a woeful blogger) Cogheart won the Awesome Book Award 2018!!
THE GOLDFISH BOY
THE SECRET OF NIGHTINGALE WOO
The book was up against some stiff competition in the form of: Erica’s Elephant by Sylvia Bishop, Radio Boy by Christian O’Connell, The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange, Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, and so I was walking on air when Cogheart was finally announced the winner!
I am absolutely delighted to announce that The Cogheart Adventures Trilogy is to be published in the U.S by Jolly Fish Press, which is a division of North Star Publishing Ltd. I am so excited to work with everyone at North Star and Jolly Fish Press, and the plan is to bring the first book in the series, Cogheart, to the U.S. for Spring 2019. Here is the official announcement…
This year – on the 22nd of June, quite a long time ago now, but that’s how I roll with the blogging – I took part in the PopUp Festival.
The Popup Festival is celebration of reading, writing and visual storytelling, taking place annually in 500 classes in schools from regions of the UK with the greatest literacy needs. Every participating class, from nursery to year 9, is matched with an exciting, engaging book, and provided with a set to work with over a period of six weeks. Then, over two weeks in June, each class meets the writer or illustrator of their book for a creative workshop.
Thanks to PopUp and the organiser Saul, I was able to visit schools I might not ordinarily. The best thing about it was the kids in the classes had ALL read Cogheart, or had it read to them in class, and they were ALL engaged with it and excited to meet me. And because they had been so engaged with the book recently, their questions in the sessions were very unique and interesting.
The two schools I visited were Priorslee Academy and Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge in Telford and they were both fantastic sessions. The kids had made artwork and done projects around Cogheart which are always amazing to see, and had great questions – even about specific characters and events in the story – that they had prepared beforehand. Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge School had even made some fabulous book trailers. Here are a few pictures from various student’s gorgeous work around the book…
There are some PopUp Resources for schools, featuring books from their other events here
Check out this beautiful little trailer Waterstones has made for the Waterstones Book Prize 2017 nominees in the children’s category. If you go to their instagram account you can see a trailer for each category of the prize — they are all brilliant. I am really looking forward to attending the awards ceremony this Thursday evening at Waterstones Piccadilly and meeting the other nominated authors and some of the fantastic Waterstones staff. Keep your fingers crossed for Cogheart, and I will let you know how it goes!
The award recognises the top 6 books for teens published during 2016 as nominated by teen readers.
The six shortlisted titles for 2016 are Peter Bunzl – Cogheart, Jane Elson – Swimming to the Moon, Stuart Foster – Bubble Boy, Ann Martin – How to look for a lost dog, Laura Martin – Edge of Extinction and Ally Sherrick – Black Powder.
School libraries and library staff are promoting the award which promotes reading and fosters a love of books. Library customers, reading groups and school book groups are being encouraged to read as many of the titles as possible but young people can still vote for their favourite if they don’t read all the nominations.
St Helens and Sefton Super Reads
Cogheart has been shortlisted for Sefton Super Read 2017. Super Reads is an award voted on by high school children from across Sefton’s 20 High Schools. It has be running for over 10 years, previous winners include Ali Sparkes, Sally Gardner, Curtis Jobling and Eleanor Updale. The award winner is announced on the 30th of March.
Lovereading4kids. HARINGEY CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD SHORTLIST 2017. The Haringey Children’s Book Award is now in its 3rd year, set up by the librarian community in Haringey to promote literacy across the borough through interaction between schools.
Check out the little animated trailer I made for Cogheart as Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month. I re-used all the animation bits from the original book trailer and a created a couple of new animated titles from quotes and blurbs for the book. I think it looks rather spiffing! And Waterstones are now also running it on their youtube channel too…