November 24th, 2010

sheffield children's book award!

Oh, my goodness! I had no inkling, when I got up at stupid o'clock this morning to catch a train to Sheffield that my book with Giles Andreae, Morris the Mankiest Monster, was going to win a prize. And not just one prize! Here's me with my fab agent, Jodie Marsh, looking shocked.

The ceremony for the Sheffield Children's Book Award took place in Sheffield Town Hall under this magnificent ceiling:

I could hardly believe it when Morris took the Best Picture Book prize. I hadn't even prepared a speech, and since the weather was cold, I wore my scuffy ten-year-old Doc Marten boots and thick socks my auntie knit me, thinking no one would notice (since I wasn't going to go on stage or anything). But not only did they ask me to do one speech, but TWO SPEECHES when Morris won the prize for the Overall Winner 2010! That's up against all the big-kid novels!

The auditorium was massive, and the organisers had packed more than a thousand schoolchildren in there, all screaming and stomping like we were rock stars! They'd all personally voted for the books, so they had a real stake in who won. The enthusiasm was a bit overwhelming... but definitely in a good way! Giles couldn't come because he was in Egypt, but he sent a message along to everyone (dwelling on the shape of my spectacles, of all things. ...Giles!)

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full day at school

This event season has been amazing, but I'm starting to get awfully tired.

I was so wiped out last night, getting ready to leave early this morning for an all-day school workshop and having to cycle over in the dead of night to the studio to pick up some things I'd forgotten, that I was starting to get a bit weepy. When I went to school in the morning, I was so dispairingly certain I'd never make it through the day that, actually, the reality wasn't so bad and I even had a bit of fun. The kids were surprisingly gentle with me. I only took a couple snapshots of their work, but the gang at Drayton Park Primary School came up with some good stuff. As I was making my way back to Holloway Park tube station, I overheard a bunch of them excitedly talking about their day with me, which made it all seem very worthwhile.

But I do think I may need to re-evaluate agreeing to all-day workshops. They're tremendously draining (I don't know how teachers manage to do it EVERY DAY!) At the same time, a one-hour school assembly, when you add in travel time, preparation and general faffing can take up nearly a whole day anyway, and the kids don't accomplish half as much. I think the activity I chose was just on the brink of being too old for 7-year-olds, but I think they benefitted from being pushed a bit. I had to do some rather intensive one-on-one work with at least half of them, wrestling to make their stories clear to someone other than themselves. But they still seemed to enjoy it, mainly because they got to draw monsters and say the word 'poo' a lot.