When kids ask me how to get books published, I always advise them not to wait until they're grown up, or in art college, to start making books, but to start making them now, in effect, self-publishing. So it was brilliant to see the Green Lane kids doing just that! Year 5 focused on Morris the Mankiest Monster, creating books about their own monsters, also in rhyme, and describing where their monster lives and its personal habits, like writer Giles Andreae did with Morris.
They even included things like endpapers and a back blurb and price, I was impressed. Here's one:
And Year 5 and 6 made comics!
They examined my Vern and Lettuce book and then created their own:
I got such a kick out of this war comic based on Vern and Lettuce, called Major and Ryan. Here's the cover design:
Then the comics inside:
Each class photocopied the comics and put them together into an anthology, as well as having each comic displayed individually:
Year 4 made clay monsters:
Here are some of their monster drawings. The teachers also did some clever things with printing out pictures of Morris from the book and putting them on a grid, having different kids draw a quarter of Morris, so they'd look more carefully at how he's constructed.
A lot of the monsters looked very striking, as good as anything grown-up illustrators might create!
Another clever idea was to give the kids half of Morris, then have them draw the other half:
Here are some fab monsters with dangly legs by Year 3:
Year 2's book was When Titus Took the Train, by Anne Cottringer and me.
They invented new railway journeys and drew them as maps, and created WANTED posters with their own photo in it and a description of their bandit adventure.
Year 1 focused on You Can't Scare a Princess!, with text by Gillian Rogerson. The story includes a bunch of pirates in a hot air balloon, so they made their own hot air balloons:
The story text doesn't mention sea creatures, but I've drawn tentacles sticking out from the waves, and the teacher jumped on that detail to have the children create their own sea monsters and compiling them into Princess Spaghetti's Book of Sea Monsters. How cool is that!
Some sea monsters:
And Princess Spaghetti with real spaghetti hair!
The teacher even used the characters to help with vocabulary words, written on accordion legs they made:
Last, but not least, Reception class focused on the aliens in You Can't Eat a Princess! They made awesome looking paint blobs and stuck googly eyes on them to make them come alive.
I'd quite like to do this, actually. These came out beautifully.
This group did some writing, too!
I was overwhelmed, almost to tears, by how hard the teachers had worked to think up interesting ways to use the books, and walk their kids through the projects step by step; the work showed the great deal of thought and effort that the kids put into them. I think this must be the best school visit I've ever had, the kids knew so much about my books and me before I arrived that I was able to do much more with them than other visits, where the kids haven't been prepped as much. Thank you so much to the teachers and this team who helped me during the day: Deputy Head Alison Reed, Literacy Co-ordinator Rachael Crook and teacher Lee Christy. You people are amazing!
I'll include a few more things the kids created, just because they're so fabulous. Starting with Reginald the Roodest Monster. I love that he "lives in a house made of go-away signs".
Here's Scrbby the Scaredest Monster
Chili the Cheekiest Monster
Louis the Laziest Monster
Thanks so much, Green Lane Primary! You guys totally rock.