Posts

Four 5* Books from the first half of 2017

As we reach the middle of 2017, I thought it would be fun to do a short review of my four favourite reads of the year so far. After all, I am first and foremost a reader, and my love of the written word has, over the years, helped carve my path…
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Ignite your Fiction Fire: 5 Tips for Aspiring Writers

Sometimes, trying to write and get our work out there can feel like flailing around in the dark. It can be a fraught journey, littered with the skeletons of defeated writers: I'm not good enough. I don't have time. I need to stop living in my…
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Why engaging in poetry is a way into writing for kids

Ask a child to write a poem or ask a child to write a story. Which is less daunting? A story, on the whole, needs a beginning, middle and end. But a poem? It can be pages long. Or it can just be a few words. That's the beauty of poetry, the…
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Lessons learned about Reading & Writing in 2015

READING Read outside your comfort zone. There is, I can't deny, something so wonderful and luxuriant about snuggling down with a book you just know you will enjoy. But taking a few risks with reading can yield surprising, exciting responses.…
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5 Top Tips for Journalling with Kids

'I'm tired of glossy, re-touched, plastic, overdubbed, laughtracked, advertised experience. I want crude - straight from the soul.' Hannah Hichman What is journalling, if not straight from the soul? That experience of one person and a blank…
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How to get kids writing with jazz

I'm a firm believer in the power of music as a creative force. I've written before about using music alongside creative writing in order to see where this takes children on the page, as well as the importance of playlists for my novels. Rhythm…
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Fighting back against Kenya's alleged 'non-reading' culture

A couple of weeks ago, I ran a creative writing session in a school with about twenty 10 and 11 year old's. This is the place where I do voluntary work about once a fortnight and the kinds of writing exercises I get the kids to do is received…
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Music as a creative force in writing

Katie Basil Screenprint I come from a family in which music is very important. Last week I wrote about the healing power of music as written about and illustrated in Quentin Blake's gorgeous children's book Patrick. As I was growing up, everyone…
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Having fun with Angelica Sprocket's Pockets

  Angelica Sprocket's Pockets is an infectiously fun story book written and illustrated by previous children's laureate Quentin Blake. The wild-haired, eccentric Angelica Sprocket continually pulls one surprising item after another,…
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Natalie Smithson: Unlocking our imagination with stories

Natalie Smithson is a freelance writer and creative at Bobbin About who specialises in work for parenting, children, and baby brands. Here she tells her story of how her active imagination as a child landed her in hot water, but went on to fuel…