Posts

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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…
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For you are a Kenyan child

For you are a Kenyan Child is a children's book not written by a Kenyan adult, but an American writer by the name of Kelly Cunnane and illustrated by a Spaniard, Ana Juan. As far as I'm concerned (and my own children I read it to), the prose…
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Writing from Art

A very enjoyable activity I did recently was to provide students with a piece of art and then ask them to form in their heads an idea of what had happened just before and just after the scene they are looking at. I chose Velazquez's 'The…
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Would you rather have a monkey to tickle or a bear to read to

John Burningham is such a brilliant illustrator and children's writer. His drawings and prose are iconic and quirky and one of the things I love about his books is that they are left open-ended, loose ends fluttering in the breeze, just perfect…
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Creating new worlds

I am very lucky indeed to be able to hold my after school club in one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen. I don't know what it is about that hour between 4 and 5pm here in Nairobi, but even if it's ben cold and rainy during the day,…