Going Wild at Stratford Lit Fest

jenny and prep cropped

What a fantastic time I had with my fellow StoryVine writers at the Stratford upon Avon Literary Festival today!

I told the story of Henry, the newest keeper at the wildlife park, with the help of lots of animals (look carefully and you might spot a llama, flamingo and  a bison in this picture).

Terri, Sue and I had a very busy morning with lots of visitors, including two groups from local pre-schools. Fortunately we had plenty of stories with us and plenty of craft activities to keep all those little hands busy.

sue cropped jenny and prep cropped 3 terri portrait cropped 2

More pictures here.

You can find out more about StoryVine on our Facebook page here.




Return to Stratford…

logo_mainI’m delighted to report that the StoryVine writers, have been booked for a return visit to the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival this April..

We’ll be at the Stratford Arthouse between 9:30-11:30am on Thursday 28th April,

I’ll be bringing along a bag full of animals to help me with What Shall We Do With the Poorly Python, my second story about Henry the keeper’s adventures at the wildlife park. My fellow StoryViners, Terri Daneshayr and Sue Newgas, will be there too with their own stories of greedy puppies and beautiful butterflies.

There will be craft activities for the children and the cafe will be open for Mums, Dads and carers.

Suitable for ages 2 to 7 and it’s FREE!

You can find more information on the Festival Website (click here).

Christmas is a time for … stories!

Christmas BSP class 3 - cropped - for web #2I’ve just come back from a lovely Christmassy morning at Barford St Peter’s Primary School telling stories to all the children from Pre-School through to Year 6.

HelpersHere are some of the friends I took along to help me tell my story The Perfect Santa Claus

Strangely enough, Years 1-3 didn’t think any of them would make a good Santa Claus!

Pre-school and reception helped me tell the story of Christmas Eve at the Zoo, and Years 4-6 answered the question: Do you Believe in Pink-Nosed Penguins?

Click here to see more pictures from the morning.

Mia’s Marvellous Magical Story

On World Book Day I challenged the children of Class 4 at Barford St Peter’s Primary to write a story about how their character overcomes a fear. They came up with some wonderful tales involving little pigs who are afraid of their own shadows, wild wolves in the forests of Finland, magical trees with quirkily named goblins and a scary shredded cheese monster – to mention just a few!

BSP story winners

I’ve had a wonderful time reading the competition entries, and a very difficult time choosing from such an entertaining selection. Here are the winners:

Overall Winner

The Magical Jigsaw, by Mia aged 10 (above right), is an original and well-rounded story with an enticing opening and a great final sentence.

Runners up

The Elf & the Goblin Kingdom, by Jem aged 9 (above centre), demonstrates lovely use of vocabulary and very quirky character names!

The Wolf Stone, by Joe aged 10 (above left), has an interesting and evocative setting and a real sense of the power of the wolves.

The top three were each presented with a certificate and a writer’s notebook so that they can write more marvellous stories! You can read Mia’s winning story here.



When I went to Barford St Peter’s Primary School this morning to present the winners’ prizes, Class 4’s teacher, Miss Emily Ballard, had some very exciting news:

Class 4 has been Highly Commended in the Reading Zone Design a Picture Book Competition (read more here). Here is what judge David Melling (author of Hugless Douglas and many others), had to say about their book:

“Inventive and original with lively and considered layouts throughout the book. I particularly enjoyed the use of different fonts to emphasis certain words and phrases and how they interacted with the illustrations. A very creative book from the authors and the illustrators that deserved to be mentioned.”

This competition attracted more than 1,500 entries. Great Work, Barford St Peter’s!

Down in the Jungle!

If you went down to the Stratford ArtsHouse on 28th April you’d have found a big surprise!

The StoryViners turned the foyer of the Stratford ArtsHouse into a jungle …

jenny 1 web    terri 2 web   rowen 1 web

For more pictures, click here.

Wonderful World Book Day!

This year I spent World Book Day at Barford St Peter’s Primary School and what a wonderful welcome they gave me!

world book day cropped + comp

The children in Key Stage 1 helped me tell the story of The Hole in Henry’s Bucket by joining in as Henry’s animal friends and helping with all the props. Now they’re all busily working on pictures so we can produce an illustrated book together – I can’t wait to see those animals!


After the children in Key Stage 2 listened very attentively to The Dragon Stone, a story about how 9 year old Louise overcomes her fear of the dark, I set them a challenge: to write their own stories about how someone overcomes their own fear. I’m really looking forward to reading their stories, and to choosing one from each class to put up on this website later in the month!

For more pictures from World Book Day, click here.