Thursday, 15 November 2012

Mushroom Adventure by Jake Ostle

I really must apologise as I just cannot upload any pictures on to the blog and I feel that really the stories do deserve pictures! I will keep on trying!

Today's story is by Jake Ostle who is in Year 6 at Western Springs Primary School. I really like his story because you really feel the energy of the challenges faced by the characters. I think the layout enhances the sense of drama too. Well done Jake!

Mushroom Adventure

In this story there are three main characters Steve, Michal and Liam they are all having a good time

then the floor is shaking and everyone is
running back to the Mushroom house
but Steve, Michal and Liam get locked
out! Then they see Monsters so
they start running but they fall in a hole
the Monsters pass and there adventure begins

They see a sign saying if you pass the challenge
You will be free so they go throw the first task
The challenge is there is lava and bricks to jump
On so Steve said let me go first so he jumped
On the first block and he almost fell but he
Got the hang of it and then he got to the end
Liam and Michal zoomed across it. When they
Got to the end they had another task and they had
To swim across some water with sharks in.

So Liam said let me got first so he got ready to swim
As fast as he could and then he jumped in and started
To swim really fast a shark came zooming to him but
He just made it to the other side then then it was
Michal's turn so he jumped in and started to swim
And he made it without anything going after him
Then it was Steve's turn so Steve jumped in and
Started to swim he got bit but he still made it across
He could only limp but fine and then there was
A sign saying this is the last test the test was
There are spikes on the ground and handles
On the wall so they all went after each other. They made it across and then there was stairs going back
Up to the top so they went up the stairs to the
Top and seen there mushroom home and everyone
Was out playing again so they all had a brilliant time

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Pottery Mouse by Emily Wood

Emily is in year 4/5 at Bowling Green Primary School, Stainland. I have worked with her there but she sent me this story some time ago, and I was thrilled to learn that she had written it specially for me. She has a super style and tells a great story, and it's hard to believe she was only 8 when she wrote it! I've seen the lovely mouse which inspired the story and love to think of children letting their imagination go and thinking up stories behind familiar objects. You can tell that Emily just loves to write, so well done and keep it up!


Once there was a little girl called Katie at school they made all these pottery animals. But Katie did not make a dog or a cat or a fish she made a pottery mouse. Now she loved this pottery mouse. In the day time she would put the mouse on her windowsill. And at night time she would rest it on her bedside table. At night Katie would often hear scampering and rustling inside the house every night she would lay down and listen to all the noise. One day Katie was getting ready for school when she saw that her pottery mouse was not on her bedside table. "Where has my mouse gone?" Katie said in a very scared voice. When Katie was ready she searched all over the place but she could not find her pottery mouse . When Katie came back from school she was very glum. She sadly walked up the stairs and went to her bedroom. Then all of a sudden Katie got a big shock there on her bedroom table was the little pottery mouse.

But there was something different about the pottery mouse. It was covered with dust and dirt.

When it came to Katie's bed time she put her little sneak cam up. The next morning was Saturday and Katie rushed out of bed got her sneak cam and played the video. Katie got a really big shock in the night her pottery mouse had turned into a normal mouse sneaked out of the room and into the kitchen.

Now after this Katie rushed out of her room and ran into the kitchen. And there on the table was her little pottery mouse this time it was covered with fur, dust and dirt. Katie then touched her pottery mouse and she could feel a heart beating and the mouse breathing. Then all of a sudden the mouse jumped of the table and ran into Katie's bedroom.

Katie had made a little box which had a feathered bed and two little bowls to put food and water in. And there the little pottery mouse lay and gave birth to five little baby pups. As Katie walked in she saw the little pottery mouse and it's little pups and ran to find her mum and dad. And from that day on the little pottery mouse lived in a nice cosy home. With all her little pups.

The End

Thursday, 8 November 2012

St Mary's and St Peter's Catholic Primary School, Bradford

I've just returned from walking Ted, having spent a frantic few minutes literally combing midges out of my hair after walking through a swarm of them! Nasty!

As I tell children on my visits, walking Ted marks the beginning and end of my writing day (and as it's only mid-afternoon I've knocked off very early today!). We had an early start this morning and a very short walk in the dark as I was heading to St Mary's and St Peter's Catholic Primary school in Bradford.

Despite very very clear directions from good friends (thank you Jennie and Jon) I still managed to get lost in the middle of Bradford. (I am blaming my Sat Nav which I inadvertently turned on to discover it was still attempting to get me to my last destination. I had to reset it and well, it really does like to take me via the most roundabout, awkward routes is all I'm saying).

However, my driving stress was eased as soon as I walked through the gates - someone showed my how to get to reception, I was talked through the very flash signing-in system complete with instant photograph, and was made very welcome with a cup of coffee.

Sitting for over an hour is quite an ordeal for Years 1 and 2 but they were all really great. We had a retelling of Cinderella with some very unattractive step-sisters and a very lively retelling of 'Little Red Riding Hood' with a movie star as the main character, a dual-personality wolf and an animated woodcutter - just fab!

Before the session with Year 2, the lovely Mrs Porter,  told me that the pupils in her class hailed from an astonishing 15 different countries, with English being their common language but in most cases their second. She told me the heart-breaking stories of 2 children from Burma, the family experiencing things no-one should ever have to experience. And yet, when it comes to the dreadful SATs all that the government seems bothered about is ticking some wretched boxes. The children were brilliant, the teachers were brilliant, and their achievements are incredible. I just wish that could be recognised not just a list of targets and attainments.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Video of 'Bankfield Chronicles'

Today I'm going to be a bit self-indulgent and post the video which promotes the 'Bankfield Chronicles' workshops I am involved with as part for the Discover programme in Calderdale. It was such brilliant fun last year and hopefully more schools  will enjoy the experience over the next few years.

I think the video can tell you about it in a much more exciting way than I could. It is a long one but really worth watching (and yes I do appear in it, in the second half!)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

'Weird people' by Ryan Millerchip

Ryan Millerchip is a Year 6 pupil at Western Springs Community Primary School.  All the pupils from Year 6 wrote me a letter as well as sending me their stories. This is what Ryan wrote:

Dear Fiona
It was amazing when you came into school. I loved your picture of your dog. we have done the stories that you asked us to do. We are editing them. Are you writing any new stories. We are sending you some of out work.
Yours sincerely
Ryan Millerchip

Editing your own work is kind of hard, but very necessary so I'm always pleased to hear that it is one of the skills which children in KS2 are introduced to.

Ryan's story is great because it is completely different from any of the others, he has is own style and I love the tie-in at the end - very clever and very funny!

Weird people

On a dark misty morning Phillip and his dad were watching the news with a delicious peperoni pizza. "this pizza is amazing" said Phillip "it sure is" said dad.

BREAKING NEWS!!! Said the TV "oh no" said Phillip. Some weird people are heading for town nobody knows what they are.
Please remain c.....all of the electricity was gone. "oh no" said dad "the power has gone out". Luckily the street lights were still on.

So all they had to do was go to the glass door and open it. It took lots of fiddling but they finally got outside. they could see lots of weird people in the distance.

"It's them the weird people" said Phillip "they do look a bit weird to be fair."
"We need to warn the town" said dad.

"You can't " said a man. "take this and pour it off the town hall roof" so they did
3.2.1 then they poured it off "we're melting " said the weird people "we did it" said Phillip.  "we sure did" said dad.

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Evil King by Jack Johnson

More gummy bears!

Today's story is by Jack Johnson who is in Year 6 at Western Springs Community Primary School.  He was part of the group who created Candy World  as their fantasy setting. When I asked whether it was always a happy place, they agreed that it wasn't all the time but the group had different ideas of how a sinister element should be introduced,  so this is Jack's version of it. I love the ending!

(As always I am retyping the story exactly as I received it.)

The Evil King

On  a bright sunny morning the bell rang and all of the gummy bears woke up. And king gummy went down the stairs for his usual brekafast.

Overnight King Gummy left his cloak on the washing line a thief took the kings cloak. And replaced the kings cloak with an enchanted cloak and the cloak was evil.

Then the king went outside and put the enchanted cloak on. Jelly went to see King Gummy when he got there Jelly nocked on the door the king said go away Jelly said why the king never replied so Jelly went home.

The next day Jelly went back to King Gummies house with marshmallow they knocked on the door instantly they asked are you alright king gummy said yes why because you sound different I now because I have turned evil and I am going to destroy Candy Land the next morning the villager's stormed into the kings house and they ate the king they had a big party with loads of gummy bears.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Sam's letter

If ever there was a post which deserves a photograph it is this one, but after trying for an hour to upload one I have, I'm afraid, admitted defeat. (I swear this computer hates me!) Anway, today I'm going to print out the letter which Sam Whiteley who is in Year 3/4 at Bowling Green School, Stainland sent to me.

I had a brilliant time when I visited Bowling Green for a day and a half in September and can't wait until I visit again on 27th November. When I was asking about hobbies Sam told me that his hobby was farming, but as it turns out it is more of a passion! I really wanted to talk to him about it as I live in the middle of a farming community and I'm fascinated by the rhythm of the seasons and cannot believe just how hard farmers work! Sadly I didn't have time to catch up with him for a chat so Allison Deighton, the fabulous literacy co-ordinator at the school and teacher of Year4/5 suggested he write to me.

I absolutely love this letter because I really feel as though I am on the farm with Sam when I'm reading it. Everyone always says you should write about what you know and love, and this comes across in every sentence in Sam's letter.

Dear Fiona
I am Sam. You came into school to tell us about your book and how to write. I told you all about my farm. I am writing this letter because I want to tell you more about my animals. My pet cow called Binky follows me around the field and sniffs my pocket for biscuits. My show jumping sheep jumps over jumps, she is very cute and is very funny. Her name is Sandy. Bobby the bull is greedy. I have a model farm and I play with it a lot. I have a little Jack Russel called Molly, she is very nice and barks when someone comes.

I help with lambing and calving. I have helped to pull a lamb and a calf out of their mums bellies. My Dad lets me drive the bailer when he is hey meking. I sit on the top of the bails and get a lift home from the fields.

Thank you Sam Whiteley

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Today's story is by Bethany Byrne who is also in Year 6 at Western Springs Commuity Primary School.

What I like about Bethany's story is that she wrote the story she wanted to write. When I visited the school we created fantasy settings. The class were divided into groups and each one came up with a different setting, we then introduced props around which the children created characters for their settings. I feel that Bethany was just desperate to tell this story and used the Mushroom World setting as a way of getting it out there. That so often happens as an author: you know the story you want to tell but you're never quite sure of the form it's going to take.

As before, I have typed the story here with orginal form and spelllings.

The Mushroom Mystery

The red tall mushroom shot through brown trees it looked like a magical world. But it really was a miracle. It was a place you have never seen before. It was red as the red cheeks.

There are lots of tiny people tiny enough to stand on. Blue Smith is having a baby girl today and she is calling her Little Red Tear. Letter that day she had little red tear she can walk now.

Tear is a funny little girl. But one day Blue Smith and Little Red Tear went to the shopping centre was packed of people mum turned around to look at something and when she looked back Little Red Tear was gone.

Blue Smith phoned the police they looked everywhere but they could not see her any were "Oh no" said Blue Smith. Letter that day Blue Smith had a knock on the door we have found Little Red Tear "Oh thank you" said Blue Smith.

Little Red Tear didn't ever wondered off again.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

What I love about 'The Victory over Greedy Ghost'

As yesterday's post was quite a long one I thought I'd wait until today to tell you what I love about Ryan's writing. I think his use of language is just fab - lots of exciting descriptions which make the reader feel as though they're really there. Something else which I am thrilled about is that you can tell that Ryan has planned his story before writing. It is so easy to get carried away with an idea and not really know where it is going to go. Ryan's story really does have a beginning, a middle and an end. And of course it has some lovely funny bits as well, and I always love a funny bit!Top stuff Ryan.

And of course it is very appropriate that we started with a story about a ghost. I hope you all have a very happy Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Victory over Greedy Ghost by Ryan Webster

I've been lucky enough to lead quite a few school workshops lately, something I absolutely love because I come away feeling so inspired. Children have the most wonderful imaginations and have such fun running with ideas. One of the things which makes me a bit sad when I've been into a school is that I rarely see the writing which has resulted from my visit. I mentioned to the last schools I visited that I would try to find a way of putting some of the children's work on my website. As I am rather technically challenged this was a bit of a tall order, until I realised that I could revive my blog for just that purpose. So that is exactly what I'm going to do.

I am having trouble uploading photographs which is a pain but I will try to rectify that. I had intended the first of the new style postings to be a letter from Sam from Bowling Green School, Stainland, but as I wanted to show you the original that will have to come later. Instead I'm going to start with a story by RYAN WEBSTER  who is in Year 6 at Western Springs Community Primary School, Rugeley. Again I wanted to show you the photograph of the accompanying letter but instead I will type it:

Dear Fiona

Thank you ever so much for giving up your own time for us. You have inspired me to write my own storys. I think that the story I've written is my best because of you.

Yours sincerely, Ryan Webster

What more could I ever want - thank YOU Ryan.

I have typed out his story below, with the original spellings and layout, but sadly not the fantastic font!

The Victory over Greedy Ghost

'THE GRAND OPENING TODAY' was written in large print for all the Jelly Babies to see. Built for the kind-hearted Gummy Bear King was the newly built cupcake castle. With the marsh mellow pillows and the scrumptious icing curtains laid all about on the dazzling sparkling windows. It was officially a land mark.

As all the Jelly Babies crowded round to see Mayor Marsh Mellow cut the strawberry lace, there grew a huge silence...then, as sly as a fox, SNAP! There was the most deafening cheer ever made in the history of Cupcake World! But little did they know the dangers that awaited them...

Tick tock, tick tock. 00.01! Spring time was here. The time when the Greedy Ghost and his Fog Crew covered the crumby ground. But this time, after the cheer that had woke Greedy Ghost from his sleep, he was here for revenge..."What the Haribo's is going on!?" cried out the majestc Gummy Bear King.

"Squeak! We think the gullible Greedy...Squeak!...ghost is back!" squeaked the sugar mice. "Right then" exclaimed the King "Off with his head! All these 157 years of being in charge and we still haven't defeated that ruthless rebel!"

"But, Squeak! He hasn't got a head"  The King's face went as red as a strawberry with embarrassment. "Ok, we'll give him one more day and if he hasn't retreated by then, there will be no more of this madness".

So, the next day, King Gummy Bear sent out his sugar mice troops to collect the King's best friend, Candy Candice. As soon as she heard of her friend's trouble, Candice slotted in one of her special ltd edition Toxic sprays, and put it into her Bubble Gum handbag. Meanwhile, the courageous King put his filthy, flour covered cloak onto the shoelace washing line!

Greedy Ghost was watching in the Candyfloss bushes. As soon as the King had closed the door, he pounced at the opportunity to take control of the cloak. It took 2 hours to walk to and back to the King's and Candice's house because Mount Fudge was in the middle and also along with the famous hot chocolate volcano.

Now, on top of Mt. Fudge, candice and the sugar mice had a great view of what was happening. Soon, instead of walking, they were literally running! Now, halfway down the Mountain, they could just about see the King putting the cloak on!
"Stop! No! He will control you!" they shouted together. But, the loud shouting was nothing but the noise of...nothing.

Once at the house, they saw that the King was eating his castle down! The leader of the sugar mice whistled out Raging Rover out of his cupcake kennel. He came racing out and tore of the cloak. Then, Candy candice sprayed her Toxic spray on the cloak. Immediately, the ghost leapt out of the pockets. Now everyone in Cupcake World carry's a spray and Candy Candice is now called Queen Candice as she got married to the almighty King Gummy Bear! You never know if there is more danger around the corner...

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Murderous goings on!

It's all go on the work front at the moment, which is fab! The thing which has been taking up most of my time (because I absolutely want to get it right) is work on The Bankfield Chronicles, in connection with 'Discover' the Calderdale Museum and Library service. It's an exciting project which involves children from Years 5 and 6 (and in a few cases 7) from local schools coming to Bankfield Museum and getting involved in a murder mystery.

There have been 2 pilot sessions so far and the response has been brilliant. When the children were asked what they thought about it there were more 'awesomes' than anything and one boy said 'I could do it again and again and again!' Praise indeed!

What's my involvement? Well, as the saying goes, 'I could tell you, but ......'

It's not called a 'murder mystery' for nothing you know!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Living the dream!

I have a confession to make: I had totally forgotten that I have a profile on Authors Hotline! It is a fantastic website where you get to learn all sorts about your favourite authors. I must have written it ages ago so  I thought I'd better check to see what I'd written. In answer to the question :
"What do you day dream about?"
I've written:
" Having a little place in the country with a couple of cows, a few sheep and a donkey..."
And guess what? I now live in a little cottage surrounded by fields of sheep and cows and I can usually see the two rather gorgeous donkeys - Nelly and Cocoa - from my office window. I truly am living my dream! How lucky am I?
Check out It's a brilliant resource and I check on it all the time now to find out more about MY favourite authors!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Go on, read something different today!

There's always that moment of trepidation when you hear that one of your favourite books has been turned into a film or TV production, isn't there? You think 'please don't spoil it for me!' And that was just how I felt when I heard about the BBC adaptation of 'Birdsong' - how to capture that unbelievable yearning erotica of the love story as well as the total gut-wrenching horror of the World War I trenches. But on the strength of last night's episode at least, justice has been fully done.
In truth I probably would never have chosen to read 'Birdsong' thinking it wasn't really 'my kind of thing'. It was a Christmas present, and I think it's great when people say 'I chose this for your Fiona because I know you'll really enjoy it'. I love having my eyes opened up to new things. As I say, 'Birdsong' is now one of my favourite novels and I have recommended it to so many other people.
A very good friend recently recommended the 'Shardlake' series of books by C J Sansom, and again I didn't think they would be my kind of thing at all. But I find myself lost in a world of intrigue in the time of King Henry VIII; the stench and the strife of every day life, the power struggles of the courts and the political and religious intrigue. The books have opened my eyes to a period of history about which I was shockingly ignorant. And they're a mighty find read on a cold winter's night!
So go on, let someone recommend a book which you'd never have chosen yourself, you never know where it can take you!

Friday, 20 January 2012

New year, new focus!

I have been shamed into kick-starting the blog by a letter I received from Alice a pupil at New Mills Primary school which I visited last year. To say I enjoyed my time there would be an understatement - I had a BRILLIANT morning at the school and came away feeling completely energised. There is nothing to beat thinking on your feet with a class full of excited 10/11 year-olds creating a story about a bunch of rock star sheep in search of new hairdos!

When I received Alice's lovely letter (along with the fab one from Chloe) I realised that I was letting down people who I would love to stay connected with by not updating my blog very frequently. So here we are - along with the usual new year's resolutions involving diet and exercise, I promise to keep up to date with this!