Hi girls (and boys!),
I hope you’re having a great start to the spring. I am! Actually, three very exciting things happened to me today. One, it was warm enough to sit outside in the garden and read for the first time this year (yay! and not long till I get the hammock out, woo hoo!!). Two, I got a gorgeous planted tub of flowers from the lovely Hazelwood School in Oxted as a thank you for being involved in their book week and, best of all, I went to visit the book group in my local library, Haslemere Library, just down the road (and past the cupcake shop – yum!) from where I live.
I go to the library a lot, as they have a great children’s room which Holly and Freddie love, full of books and toys. I also like to borrow books for myself and to use their study room to work during the school holidays when my house is (ahem!!) a bit noisy, to put it mildly. Once when I was there I saw a girl taking out my Pony Camp Diaries books and I nearly went up and said, ‘Hey, guess what, I wrote those!!’ but I didn’t because a. I was too shy and b. I thought she might run away, thinking I was a bit crazy!
The library has a fantastic kid’s book group for 8-12s once a month, and this month they had chosen my Animal S.O.S. books to read. The librarian, Erin, realized they were my books and invited me in to talk to the group. ‘Wow! How cool!’ I thought. And also, ‘Eeeekkk! What if they thought the books were terrible!’
Well, luckily they liked the books (phew!!), and they gave some insightful reviews and comments on them. Here they all are with me and the lovely Nikki Barton, a Surrey County Councillor and generous library supporter, who came along too. Best of all, I got to show the group the (very heavy) folder full of rough drafts and notes and initial illustrations that go into making the final book. They really enjoyed riffling through all these bits and pieces, and I hope it helped to demystify the process of making a book. It really does start with a few scribbles, as they saw!
They had some great questions too, and I’m planning to go back when I begin my next middle grade series and find out which ideas and plots excite them the most. I’m sure I’ll be seeing some of their names on their own book covers, or on whatever awesome digital reading tech we have in the future! I loved signing books for them too!
So a big thank you to them all *waves to book group*, and to Erin and all at Haslemere Library for a fantastic day. And don’t forget to check out your local library or your county’s libraries website – there may be a book group already going that’s just perfect for you – or perhaps you could even grab a couple of friends and start your own!
Happy reading in the just-warm-enough Spring sunshine, everyone!