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visiting collège du léman in geneva

Last week I got to visit sunny Switzerland! Check out all the flowers blooming at the Collège du Léman:



My trip started with Karen Head picking me up from the airport in a car stuffed with boxes of books. I wasn't sure how we were going to transfer the books from my car to my room for me to sign them, but luckily the hotel used the same lift as the supermarket, and Karen nipped over, grabbed a shopping trolley, and we bundled them through the lobby and upstairs.



These are the books the school ordered. A fun moment of my visit was watching a boy walking down the school path with his nose stuck in Oliver and the Seawigs, so completely absorbed in reading that he didn't notice me walking next to him. Success!



Thanks, Karen! The whole school was involved in Book Week, and so I got to see costumes, second-hand book sales, kids everywhere carrying storybooks, lots going on.



Here's a little Jampire that found its way into my luggage...




As always, I loved getting the kids drawing. Here are some pictures from a Jampires event I did with the youngest class. I taught them how to draw Jampires, but then had them create another creature who loves stealing their favourite food.







The international staff were very enthusiastic and loads of fun, and many of them did craft projects or dressed up for Book Week. I loved meeting Ndidi and Marie-Gaëlle (that's a Paddington Bear nose):



Here are some bunnies the kids drew with me when I shared my new picture book, The New Neighbours, with them:



And, of course, the Pugs of the Frozen North, which always go down a (snow)storm:



Hooray for school librarians! Here's Elsa Carloni, who let me see their lovely cosy reading space.



Lunchtime was SOMETHING ELSE. The day I ate there was Spanish-themed, and they had an actual DJ(!) and a freshly squeezed orange juice station!



And paella, oh my goodness.



The second day I went out for lunch with this great team from the Parent Teacher Association (or I think they call it the PFA). They were good fun and also international: Japanese, American, Croat and Greek. (Darko the Croat made me promise to name a supervillain after him.) Big thanks to all of them for raising the funds so I could visit, when my Facebook friend Tracey Curnow suggested me to them.



And here's Fabienne Prieur in the office, who handled all the tricky nitty-gritties of flights and scheduling for Book Week; she was ace. If any teachers, librarians or parents want to download some of my book-related activities, here's a link.



I had a bit of time when I first arrived to run around and look at things. The school's in Versoix, which was where I was staying, so I ran down to the lake and had a look at some of the houses on its banks.



When it got a bit too midgy, I caught a train into central Geneva. (Not this one, this is a tram. My husband Stuart would love that.)



The day was blazing hot and everyone was out in the cafes.



On my last evening, I caught a train, a bus and a tram to visit the librarian who hosted me on my first visit to Geneva, back in 2014. (Here's a lovely building along the way.)



The librarian's name is Marie-Pierre Preece (everyone calls her 'MP') and she hosted a wonderful dinner and invited the three other librarians from her school, including Susan Boller, whom I'd worked with on the previous visit to the International School of Geneva. (You can read about that here!)



She even had my favourite plate from my last visit. :)



Thanks so much, MP! It's great when these friendships last; MP even went to collect a big award that we won for Raphaële Eschenbrenner's translation of Oliver and the Seawigs, the Prix Enfantasie. (The kids even had her sign the books, since Philip, Raphaële and I couldn't be there!)



I was sad to leave everyone, and my beautiful hotel breakfast view of Lake Geneva (which I learned on this trip is actually called Lake Léman, thus the school's name). Note the approach of flying saucers:



Big thanks to everyone involved in organising my visit, and a big wave to all the kids. Goodbye, Switzerland, I'll miss you!


(I'm in the middle of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, which so far is a great read!)

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Sarah McIntyre

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