We aim to inspire a love of reading in our federation, and one way to do this is to have visiting authors come in or to visit authors in other settings. They talk to us about their work, share their inspiration and expertise with us and answer questions we may have for them. Children have the opportunity to buy signed books, and for those that may be unable to we purchase copies for our library so everyone has access to them.
As part of our work on inspiring children to read more and extend their reading choices, we had a visit from the writer, author, story teller and comedian James Campbell. He told all of us about being a writer, about the things we may find tricky and how to get our ideas down. He asked us where ideas come from and we discussed the world around us, stories and books, and ideas that just come to us. He encouraged us to use our imagination, such as what if we could take the stripes of a zebra.
He also showed us his book Boy Face. He asked where did the idea for stripy super powers come from? Back to taking the stripes off
The children came up with some really interesting questions:
How long to finish writing a book? Sometimes up to a year! Sometimes only 3 hours (but editing might take a bit longer!).
What was your first book? The pale blue egg.
James then introduced his new book, “Funny Pets” and gave us some anecdotes from the new book.
He did sessions with all of the children from Year 1 to Year 6 across the federation, and in the afternoon some of the children from Years 1, 2, 3, 4 were lucky enough to take part in a writing workshop with him where he talked about using a picture as a starting point for a story. The children designed their own machine like the boy face book to design some wonderful machines. One child designed a machine that did your hair for you, and another designed one that created sausages.
The children then used verbs and adjectives to describe their machines and then finally started to write the beginning of their story where there was a problem with the machine.
Speaking to the children, they were excited to read some of his books. There was a chance to buy some after school, but we have purchased sets of the books for all children to borrow and enjoy from our library in Juniors and in classes in KS1.
Some of the children wrote this report on the visit.
‘’On Friday, the whole school was lucky enough to take part in an author visit from James Campbell who calls himself a comedian, a lollypop lady and an author. James Campbell is currently selling his funny books named Boy face (including the magnetic banana on the cover), the funny life of pets including the hamster conspiracy theory. He was really funny with his presentation.
The children at Toftwood Junior School watched his amazing performance, the Infant children came as well to a session where James, showed them how to improve their writing, and brought the funny side into writing for them. The children came back to class full of ideas and excitement. James Campbell achieved his ideas for Boy face by making an image in everybody’s minds which made them laugh so hard some of them cried. Our favourite parts of the show was when he said about the wild lollypop lady’s and the funny life of pets especially the hamster in the cupboard eating crisps. Everyone enjoyed the visit, because he was so funny and made everyone laugh lots.’’
-Isabel WS6 and Amelia WS6.
You can visit James’ website www.thejamescampbell.com