Sarah McIntyre (jabberworks) wrote,
Sarah McIntyre

hillcross primary school 2020

Yesterday I went to the last southern stop on the Northern Line to make an Author Visit to Hillcross Primary School...

LOTR graphic kindly supplied by Philip Reeve

...No, one simply SASHAYS into Morden, followed by a dramatic twirl! I wasn't going to accept any more school visits for the year, but Assistant Head and teacher Lee Christy (pictured here) got in touch to invite me; the last time I visited Lee's school, it was one of my best visits EVER. (You can read on a previous blog about how they put on a whole Arts Week featuring my books - it was incredible.) So I took it on, knowing this one would be good, and it didn't disappoint!!

Here I'm doing an assembly about the Roly-Poly Flying Pony books I do with Philip Reeve.

Photo tweeted by @HillcrossPS

I talked about how we think up ideas for the stories and characters together, and then Philip writes it, but phones me up whenever he wants more ideas. And then I do the artwork, but often when I'm pinched for time, Philip will come to my studio and we'll work through the early-stages pencil roughs togehter. So the books are very much collaborative and co-authored.

I did three assemblies, and it was great to see the children were already familiar with many of my books. These were followed by a special tea party with the children who had won Golden Tickets for taking the most interest in reading and engaging with books. Then Lee and the school's Headteacher Lisa Francis took me to the hall where the whole school had set up an exhibition of work they'd done, inspired by my books. It was very overwhelming, in a good way!!

I'll go around the room and show you some of the work from the youngest children to the oldest. Here's an exhibition of monster art inspired by Morris the Mankiest Monster, the first children's book I illustrated in the UK, written by Giles Andreae:

The next class painted dinosaurs and had a very exciting visit from Wimbledon Fire Brigade as they focused on Dinosaur Firefighters:

Another class had a close look at Grumpycorn, and even recreated his writing studio at their stand!

This year featured The New Neighbours, and did some lovely paintings of the bunny characters in different painting media.

Here's a Jampires display! The children created wanted posters and description of rogue Jampires, and also came up with their own food-stealing creatures and paintings of the worlds they might inhabit. I showed them to my co-author, David O'Connell, who was well chuffed. (Dave and I both wrote and both illustrated Jampires! You can see how we did it in a comic over on the Jampires website.) Dave and I teach together in a Curtis Brown Creatives online course for grownups on making children's books, if you're curious about how it's done.

This year created beautifully drawn comics inspired by the adventures of Superkid, my picture book with Claire Freedman.

Here's a closeup of the first panel in one comic called Lightning Girl. (I don't even know what a fronted adverb is!)

This year studied my picture book written by Anne Cottringer, When Titus Took the Train. They paid attention to how the story built up, and also the graphic layouts, and used some of what they learned from the compositions in their own pictures, which was very impressive!

Year six created a new book inspired by When Titus Took the Train, called When Patricia took the Plane. They were very eager for my feedback and clustered around, pointing to each page they'd worked on and talking about its challenges, what they wished they'd had more time to do, their favourite little bits of each other's drawings, it was great.

Photo tweeted by @HillcrossPS

Here's a video of me leafing through the book:

This sophistication of lettering combined with layout isn't something I usually see in primary school work, this was very impressive:

I loved how bold and funny this image was, with the unicorn out on the plane wing:

I love how much is going on on these two pages, and the interesting perspectives looking through the seats of the plane.

Huge thanks to all the teachers and staff who made this day possible! The children were the perfect mix of respectful and enthusiastic. You can get a real feeling when you go to a school about how well it's run, and this is one I'd highly recommend.

Photo tweeted by @HillcrossPS

Thank you, Lee and Lisa (or Mr Christy and Ms Francis) for making my visit such an awesome one! I was genuinely moved to see all the thought the children had put into my books, and excited by their fresh takes on them and their creativity.

Tags: dinosaur_firefighters, grumpycorn, jampires, morris, roly_poly_flying_pony, schools, superkid, the_new_neighbours, titus

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