Category Archives: Carden


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Week 2 of Adopt an Author and Rose Muddle Mysteries author Imogen White didn’t hold back in encouraging Carden’s Year 6 to unlock their creative bad side…

Task Two is all about BADDIES! I want you to think about what makes them tick… what makes them bad… and most importantly of all what is their weakness. All great baddies need a weakness.

I LOVE writing baddies, and I have quite a few in my books. I have the ancient warlord Verrulf, the dastardly members of the Brotherhood of the Black Sun and the perfectly ‘perfect’ Missy, who looks like butter wouldn’t melt, but is in fact properly NASTY!

Eeeeek! I don’t know about you but I’m sensing we need to prepare ourselves for some bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad B.A.D eggs to appear before us… Any. Minute.

Team Carden Baddie Discussion:

Before you get stuck into creating your own baddie, take a moment to talk about the kind of book villains you love to hate! What makes them such fabulous villains for you? What do they look like? What does their name make you think of? What motivates them?

To help you along, here is a list of the top ten children’s book villains voted in a poll by National Book Tokens to celebrate World Book Day this year:

Top 10 Most Evil Villains
Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter series)
Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter series)
Cruella de Vil (The Hundred and One Dalmatians)
The White Witch (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe)
Miss Trunchbull (Matilda)
Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter series)
Bill Sikes (Oliver Twist)
The Grand High Witch (The Witches)
Count Olaf (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

Which one is your favourite? Or, are there some others that aren’t on this list?

Voldemort is probably one of my favourite baddies of all time. From his bald head and slit-like nostrils, he commands any room he walks into… Yikes!

He is so evil that he would kill at will – in fact, he was even prepared to kill a baby.

Why do you think Voldemort became the way he is? What made him so bad? Or, was he always like this?

My thoughts: Voldemort, or Tom Riddle as he was, started off in a terrible orphanage where no one really cared for him. Maybe he might have been ‘brilliant’ in a different way if the start of his life had been better? Who knows…

I see Dolores Umbridge is on this list too. Wow! What a super villain she is! I love how she seems so nice, all dressed in pink and her passion for adorable kittens! And her sweetness and light voice – always smiling, even when she is saying or doing something utterly horrid!

Villains that seem like they are one thing – but then turn out to be something else, I think work really well.

What other characters can you think of that are like this? Perhaps you can find some on the list?

Now it’s time to create your own baddies…

I would like you to create your very own BADDIES! I want to see an army of them, and I want them BADDER THAN BAD!

These baddies could be used in the story you started last week, or they could be developed for use in another story.

By the end of this task, you should have a dastardly, but believable, baddie of your very own.

To make a really believable baddie, there are a few things to think about. See if you can answer these questions:

Q1: What is your baddie called?

Try and choose a memorable name, that might also give away a bit about their character. I think all my mother-in-law’s friends all sound like baddies, because they give each other funny nicknames! Perhaps some of these might inspire you…

Pat the Hat, Pick Axe Pat, Scary Mary, John the Scissors, (because he is a barber) Gappy Pete, Jack the Frame (he is an artist,) The Duke, Race Along Rita, and Hairy Harry.

You can see that lots of them rhyme or have alliteration, which makes them memorable! You can use one of these if you like or make up one of your own.

Q2: Does your baddie have special powers?

You can go really wild here! Do they have laser eyes, for example? Can they fly? Are they incredibly strong? When they eat nuts, do they turn into a squirrel? The wackier the better, I think…

It might be fun to tie these powers into their name? Hairy Harry for example, might have a massive beard that he hides things in? Racy Along Rita might run really fast…

(If you are following on from your opening last week, you may want to connect them to your found object – perhaps, your baddie is after it? Or scared of it?)

Q3: What does your baddie want to achieve – what is their goal?

What is your baddie’s end goal? World domination is always a popular one, but you could choose anything – and it’s good to think about the world that they’re operating in. Do they want to steal money, gold, or lots of chocolate? Do they want to become your headteacher and take over the school? Are they trying to kidnap your granny? Or do they want to become Prime Minister?

Or, again, you might like to think how you could tying this in to your previous story?

Q4: Where does your baddie come from?

Maybe they come from space? Or another country, another time in history? Or from your freezer! – you could choose absolutely anything. I’d like to see some really crazy ideas for this!

Q5: What does your baddie look like?

What do they wear? How do they speak? Do they appear to be really nice and normal – but it’s only to hide their more sinister side? Or perhaps they sport a super-villain costume?

Q6: What made your baddie so bad?

Were they born bad? Or did something happen to make them the way they are? Have a think, a good back story really helps to make your baddie believable, and also helps you to understand them more. You can have a think back to some of the villains we talked about above too, and what their backgrounds were.

Q7: What is their weakness?

As you discussed earlier, your baddie having a weakness really helps them come to life. And it also gives your main character a chance to overcome them.

By the way, if I was a baddie, my weakness would be mayonnaise! I can’t abide the stuff. (I’m shuddering at the very thought!)

And that’s it! Hopefully by the end of this you will have developed your very own CARDEN PRIMARY BADDIE ARMY! Scary stuff indeed…

GOOD LUCK Carden Primary – I can’t wait to meet your baddies!

*Rushes off to hide…*

*cowering in the corner* is it safe to come out????!!!!! Well no. quite frankly it isn’t and quite frankly if you are of a nervous disposition, you might want to look away now…. because Carden have created some of the baddest creatures in the cosmos  (be brave be brave and please please don’t give us nightmares!!!)


We are all a bit terrified and hope never to encounter the Black Knight, Bad Bob, Snaky Saisha, Dead Beatrice and the rest of the horrifying gang IRL.

Equally frightened was Imogen….

WOW! I am so super impressed by the work you did on this task! The amount of creativity and ideas you showed when developing your own baddies totally blew me away! You are all really great storytellers. Huge congratulations!

(Your baddies actually gave me goosepimples!)
I have written each of you a little note on your work…

Oo, ‘Black Beard.’ A great name! How sad that Bob, (as he was previously known!) was badly bullied and called a nerd – this made me feel sorry for him and gave the character more depth, and therefore more believable. Great stuff!
But then… Bob got so annoyed he began to change… His blue eyes turned dark red. Yikes! And his hair too. I love the idea of him running to his garage as the full change takes control, and hebecomes…
Black Beard! (Did he ever get a black beard by the way?) Oh, my word, he really does go bonkers doesn’t he! I’m terrified of him!

Best of all I love that his weakness is HOTDOGS! – who would have thought! I really loved the addeddetail of, ‘especially those with mustard in!’ I am so glad you gave Black Beard a weakness, so someone can overcome him – otherwise I would have sleepless nights! Great task work here. Well done!

‘The Black Knight’ sounds really dastardly! I loved his red eyes, and how you had developed a nemesis for him, ‘The Red Knight.’ Excellent!
You also gave him a really great backstory about why he became so bad. How he failed in a knight mission – an event he never recovered from. This detail really helped me understand why he became the way he is, making him more believable as a character. You followed this task perfectly.

Sintha Star is very disturbing! Well done! I loved how she isn’t normal because she is from Mars! Ace! And her big hair, and her ‘cold soul eyes like ice’ – what a fabulous description. Really impressed! And then, you managed to introduce your ‘orb’ from the previous task too! Full marks. What a great story!

‘Snaky Saisha is really cold blooded.” This opening line had me hooked straight away! Fabulous. And I loved the alphabet part, where she could say all the letters perfectly until she got to ‘s’, Ssssss. This idea was really in keeping with her snaky character – which I thought was brilliant! I felt really sorry for her when her classmates were mean to her – and then she turned BAD! This backstory gave your baddie real depth. Well done Fatima, you totally nailed this task!

I loved the way you described your baddie, ‘Dead Beatrice.’ A teenager with ‘royal red hair,’ and, ‘sky blue eyes,’ and how you made her complexion spotty and that she wore a long black leather coat. I can totally visualize her. Fantastic work!

But, WOW, didn’t she turn spectacularly BAD! Doing away with her own mother! YIKES! That is sooo BAD!
You also managed to give her a weakness – that being ‘Love.’ But more than that, it was a teenager type of love – falling for a boy, which again is in keeping with her character. Well done you. Great work!
Then, to top it all off, you managed to include your ‘bronze amulet’ from last week! Totally brilliant! And Dead Beatrice’s goal is world domination – NO! (I am quaking in my boots!) – thank goodness you gave her that weakness, so someone could overcome her! Super, fabulous work!

I really like how you started up your story, “…when something happened…” It certainly made me want to read on!
The Red Knight sure did have a sad start to life, which made me feel sorry for him. But now he’s gone BAD, all down to that fantastic sword you created last week! The one from The Fire Age! Brilliant work. The Red Knight is now half black and half red, equally full of darkness and death. He really is a
proper sounding baddie, well done! You also managed to include his motivations – getting that sword back! – which is also his weakness. Excellent.
My favourite bit was how he graffitied the word ‘MAD,’ all over his castle – ‘The Tilted Towers.’ Ha! I love this – what a nutcase! Jake – you have totally nailed this task. Brilliant!

‘Bad Bob’ – a great baddie name! Very memorable. I love how he wasn’t always bad… once he was just Bob! This really made me laugh! I’m glad his mother at least loved him. Until… he went on that school trip to that chemical plant! And you left me on the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers… Bob stuck in that vat of chemicals… Oh no! My word, I so want to know what happened next. I love Bob already. Great work, and nice clear story telling. Fabulous!

‘Stealer Sam’ is a great baddie name. I felt so bad for him being sent to the orphanage – not because he didn’t have family, but because his parents couldn’t get a big enough family home to keep him. This is so sad – it made me feel really sorry for him. Great work on this backstory! But, who could have thought that a bite from his cute, fluffy pet mouse, ‘Bubbles,’ could have had such an effect on Sam. This part is totally brilliant! Because, the next day he transformed into Stealer
Sam – his hair turned black, he was now wearing a black cloak, and, (my favourite detail…) bright blue trousers. He felt very ANGRY!
I found your story totally fabulous, and I so want to know more about Bubbles the mouse. Where on earth is he from and how comes he has these devastating powers? Does he have an outfit too? I loved it Emma, well done!

Mystery Mark – is a totally great name, it makes me immediately intrigued. I love how no one sees him or what he’s up to. These traits suit his name perfectly. Ace.
Mystery Mark started out so nice, didn’t he? But then he went from being bullied to becoming a bully himself. Very sad – and a great backstory.
Well done for bringing in the Sarsen Stone from last week’s task. But, I was interested to know whether Mystery Mark felt drawn to touch the stone in the museum – is that why he broke the glass? I really love this and want to know what exactly happened when he touched it. This is such an intriguing idea and his character is wonderful. Best of all, for me, is that the only way to overcome Mystery Mark is to talk very calmly to him, even when he is shouting and being very
angry. Excellent! (Another thing I thought of, with his name being ‘Mystery Mark,’ I wondered whether maybe he could have a symbol of some sort? An actual mystery mark of his very own, perhaps have it on his top or something? What do you think?)
I love your amazing ideas. Well done Harry!

Your baddie, ‘Tigger Tiger’ is a nasty teacher – I love how her name sounds all friendly and nice, when really, she is dangerous!
Wow! Excellent detail about her being so hungry at the orphanage that she would escape at night and hunt like a tiger. I love how this detail ties in with her name.
And Tigger Tiger is after the magic zoo book you found in task one! Well done for getting this in. I am very intrigued to find out what happens next! Fantastic.

Harrison C M
Great idea having your baddie, ‘Tragic Trophy,’ starting off good but explaining how his dastardly parents sent him bad!
And well done too on getting your magic trophy involved from last week’s task! I love the trophy’s magic powers – how it can give its owner the ability to mind read. Ace. And also arm cannons and makes them able to fly! Wow – I can totally see why his evil parents want it so badly! Great work Harrison CM!

‘Dimond is an evil woman,’ – oo, I love this straight away!
I adore Dimond’s costume she wore before she turned bad: pigtails, dungarees and pink glasses! – I can really see this in my mind. Brilliant!
Great idea that the Science Fair turned her bad too.
Dimond being trapped in a ship bottle is a very interesting idea – a bit like a genie? But then, she snuck off each night to burgle rich people’s jewels. But, best of all, I LOVE how only mustard can defeat her! Ha! Brilliant! A great task Eva!

‘Deadly Dan,’ – I think is a great and memorable baddie name. I love the set up of Deadly Dan being rich and owning everything he ever wanted. And, I really like dogs being his weakness – I think you could have a lot of fun with this! Especially as it’s a dog that runs off with the family’s money! (is this the moment he cracks and becomes Deadly Dan?) A great start here – with some fabulous ideas!

‘Miss Bee likes eating humans…’ What an opening line – I was totally hooked! Well done. She’s a human bee – who looks like an ordinary girl. A genius idea. I love it. (I really want to know what she wears? In my mind she wears a yellow and black stripy jumper!)

Then she eats her friends and they become her worker bees – which is frightening and brilliant! – I love how the facts of your story reflect real bee behaviour. It is quite a horror story, isn’t it! You certainly have a very brilliant imagination! Great stuff!

‘Mal’s’ back story about how her best friend’s betrayal and her brother’s death is so very sad! I was really impressed that you got in your bracelet from last week’s task! Excellent. I really want to know how this bracelet is going to make her all powerful, so she can take her revenge and rule the world – Mwa-ha- haha!
I loved how you made her allergic to prawns, and I did wonder if her best friend, (who betrayed her,) would know this and perhaps use it against her? – what do you think? Fabulous work!

Harrison G
‘Keeper Kev,’ is a great name! I love how you chose him because you are a goalkeeper! (I thought he was going to go around keeping everything he found when I first heard his name! – I like your idea much more.) Poor Keeper Kev getting bullied like that. I felt so sorry for him, especially because the teachers didn’t
help him at all. But, WOW, that magic potion turned things around for him, didn’t it?
I totally adore his super long arms and legs – a brilliant goalkeeper super power to get hold of! FANTASTIC! I love how no one can get a goal against him. Ha!
I’m not sure if Keeper Kev is a baddie or not? Because, I really like him and want him to succeed. (Although putting salad cream in my sandwiches, as he did to the others, would floor me – what with my mayonnaise problem!) But, what you have created is a fantastic character in Keeper Kev. He is really well thought out and I am super impressed! Well done you!

I love your description of your baddie ‘Marv’s’ hair – ‘black like tarmac.” A great description. I also enjoyed how you gave Marv, a button nose and blue eyes – he sounds cute and harmless. But looks can be deceptive, because he is really evil! A great contrast here – well done! Well done too for getting your magic football back in from last week! The one found at the Waterhall that smelt of wet dog! (I loved that description!) What I wanted to know at the end, was how Marv uses the powers of his teleporting football to his advantage? – To become, perhaps, an even bigger villain? Well done Lewis – I really enjoyed this!

I love how colourful your baddie, ‘Silly Billy’s’ clothes are. And, wow! that cup of coffee really did transform him into someone evil and angry, didn’t it? I love how he wants that magic teleporting football to himself! (The one that you cleverly included from last week’s task!) His weakness of tomato sauce made me laugh too! I think you could have a lot of fun with this! I must say Tommy, you have really lovely handwriting! And your story has some super ideas. I really want to know how Silly Billy would use that teleporting football now! Well done!

Ooo…’Deathsythe’ – what a fabulous baddie name. I love his black hair and purple eyes – they totally compliment his name, don’t they? I want to know where that transforming purple cloud came from? It’s brilliant! Oh. My. Word. Deathsythe eats human shadows? – erm, yes please! This is totally fantastic! I love it.
I really want to read on and discover how Deathsythe gets defeated now! A really BRILLIANT idea. A massive thumbs up from me!

Super brilliant work from my super brilliant Adopt an Author Team at Carden Primary!

You have developed an army of truly terrifying baddies. Full of interesting backstories that explain why your baddies became the way they are. And amazing evil super powers and objects – and some really inventive weaknesses too. You have really impressed (and terrified!) me this week. Wonderful!

Wow Carden amazing work! We can’t wait to see what you’ve in store for us next week!

Team AAA


The Amber Pendent

We are SO EXCITED that it’s the first week of 2018’s AMAZING Adopt an Author project! We will be eavesdropping on the conversations between classes and their adopted authors and sharing some spectacular work right here – so settle down and come take a peek…..

Carden’s first week of Adopt an Author has been brilliant, Year 6 have kicked off the conversation with their author Imogen White and they are getting to know each other really well! They’ve exchanged a fantastic task and we’re already blown away by the amazing work they’ve completed!

Here’s the Rose Muddle Mysteries author Imogen White saying a big HELLO!

Hello Team Carden Primary!

I am so excited to have you as my Adopt an Author team! I love this picture of you all! 😊

Team Carden Primary

The Amber Pendant is the first book in The Rose Muddle Mysteries. It is based around your area in Brighton and Hove!

This week we are going to think about: Found things. Buried things. Magic things.

When I write, I use local history for inspiration. I feel like a detective sniffing out clues about the past. In fact, rather than ‘Local History’ – I like to think of it as ‘Local Mystery.’

This once-buried object, Hove’s Amber Cup, inspired me to write The Rose Muddle Mysteries. It’s 3,500 years old! But it looks like a teacup, doesn’t it?

Hove’s Amber Cup: (Picture credit: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove)


You can see this cup displayed at the Hove Museum. It was discovered in the Victorian times, beneath a massive burial mound (which looked like a hill, around twenty-foot-high – so probably taller than your school!)

When the Victorians flattened the burial mound in 1856 to build the houses near Palmeira Square, they discovered the skeleton of a Bronze Age person. From the goods that were arranged in the grave, they realized that this person must have once been very important. And in amongst these things, was the amber cup.

I wonder how the workman felt who discovered all these things? I am imagining a sea mist sweeping in on an early winter’s morning, when a worker’s spade suddenly hits something solid – something wooden… (Apparently the coffin turned to dust when it was exposed to the air, revealing the bones inside… Spooky!)

Once all the valuable objects were removed from the grave, the bones were just dumped with the topsoil to make up the gardens of Palmeira Square. So, the next time you wander through there, just remember those bones are still there somewhere!

When I found all this out, I couldn’t stop thinking about who this forgotten person might have been? And why were they buried with this cup? And that’s how The Amber Pendant and The Rose Muddle Mysteries began!

As well as local history, I like to include lots of magical objects in my books. In The Amber Pendant, Hove’s Amber Cup contains ancient and dark magic. And my heroine, Rose Muddle, who is plucked from the workhouse, inherits a pendant that gives her special abilities too.

But, I want to know what magical object you would like to find and what it would do? So…

First Task: Imagine you have found a magic object!

  1. Choose an object:

What exactly is your object? – it could be anything. Is it old? New? Broken? Maybe it smells of something? Write a sentence describing it.

  1. Give it magic!

What magical powers might your object have? (I love this bit!) Does it contain good or bad magic? Maybe it gives its owners special abilities? Write a sentence describing its magic, and what it can do.

  1. Where do you find your object?

Maybe you found the object in your school, in your back garden, or even washed up on the beach. It can be anywhere – you decide. Write a sentence describing where you found your magic object.

  1. Let the story begin!

Now that you have settled on all the ideas above. (And if you have time!) I’d like you to bring them all together and to write about the moment you found your object, using all the details you have decided upon above. Try and add as much atmosphere and description as you can.

Remember to include Whereyou found it, what it is and what it looks like.

How do you feel when you discover it? Are you excited? Scared? Anxious? Intrigued?

What does it feel like to hold? Is it rough? Smooth? Does it vibrate or do something unusual? Do you think it might be magic straight away? If so, why?

And, if you can, try to leave it on a cliffhanger!

If you can bring all these parts together, you should find you have a pretty ace opening to your own book! I really hope you enjoy the task – and I can’t wait to hear how you all get on.


Speak soon,

Imogen 😊

And well, let’s just say Team Carden Primary were up to Imogen’s challenge – check out these AMAZING magical objects…!

Imogen was super impressed….

Wow! Carden Primary – what extraordinary objects you imagined finding, and I loved the descriptions, magical powers and cliffhangers! I was on the edge of my seat! So much talent and creative ideas. I have written a little message for each of you:

What a great idea to have a football that upgrades to a new one each time you kick it! I like that it was a bit old and stinky when you first found it. I think that would be a very brilliant football to have it, as it would always the very latest model! Great idea.

A diamond encrusted, golden orb – with magic strong enough to make you telepathic, sound great! I love the image of you finding it in the forest and your hands were trembling when you held it. And then the spooky vision at the end, of the abandoned house all dusty and cobwebbed – what a cliffhanger! Excellent.

I loved your dancing shoes! And the way you described the moon glinting on the
crashing waves, and the wind blowing you hair – great atmosphere building writing! PS I want those shoes! Do they make you dance well? – I can’t dance at all!

A football with dark magic – I’m hooked straight away! And it can transport you to other places – I wonder where it would take you? And you found it in a graveyard. So, so cool. I think you could have a lot of fun with this story. Love it.

A pencil that brings your drawings to life is extremely exciting. I also loved your
description of the basement: Dark with creaking floorboards! Yikes!

Harrison CM
A ‘glimmering trophy’ that you found in the forest. Love this – its like a chalice, and there are lots of old legends about such things – like King Arthur. A very magical and brilliant idea.

Harrison G
Your football sounds great! It transports you to wherever you kick it – that could be
really handy! And gosh, it smells of old people’s feet! By the way, I love your description in the graveyard, “There were no cars, no people and no lights…” Really atmospheric.

I love the idea of your object, “glowing in a dark purple way.” Very scary sounding. And then it gave you magical armour – I want one! And a great cliffhanger, leaving us with the monsters getting bigger! Yikes!

Your idea of a magic, yellow water bottle from the future is very unique. I like how it
never runs out of water and gives you invincibility for two minutes! I wonder how it feels to be invincible?“I walked over to take a look. I could feel the atmosphere change…” Great writing, I definitely wanted to read on – well done Ruby!

A sparkly pink pen that shoots lasers, burns things and teleports you – what an object! And, hang on a minute – you were reading The Rose Muddle Mysteries in your story! Ha! Wonderful!!

Your football smells like a wet dog – yep, that’s stinky!
I love that you found it at Waterhall. Those football pitches always seem so cold and
windy, don’t they? – even when the rest of Brighton isn’t. I always think that place has its own weather system! If your magic football could transport you anywhere – just imagine all the football matches you could sneak in to watch! (Maybe even back in time to when England won the World Cup!)

Wow – I love the sound of your diamond necklace that glows at night! And that it always gives you good dreams. I also really liked you finding it down a rabbit hole – a great idea! And, I love your cliffhanger of the voice calling from the bushes. Brilliant!

A Zoo Book that you found in the school library that smells of animals – genius!
Also, a great idea that it called to you and glowed! I really wanted to read on after your cliffhanger, what did you see??? Excellent!

No Name
A dark red crystal shaped like a glue stick – a great sounding object! Plus, it shoots out magic bolts! And it also gives the owner an armour and sword – are these dark red also? Love that you found this on Halloween. I found the police searching for you in the darkness with searchlights very visual – I could really see that in my mind. Then one goes missing… Really great ideas here. Well done you!

A dusty, bronze amulet – lovely! And its magic changes the weather – that’s a good idea. Nice cliffhanger too, inside that restricted building… Fabulous!

My goodness me – a Sarsen Stone! You and me definitely seem to like the same kinds
of things! A magic standing stone that takes you through its history – that is incredibly brilliant. I wonder what secrets it might reveal? “The trees were like goblins.” Wow, such a fabulous description. Then you left me with “I went to touch it…” Brilliant ending. I absolutely want to know more!

I am loving your idea of a diamond bracelet with the power of invisibility. And having it washed up from the sea is a great place to find it. I also loved your ending, how you put it on, and completely disappeared! Totally fabulous. I wonder what adventures you could get up to with such a thing?

Is yours a sword that glows when you touch it? I love its magic and how it comes from a time known as The Fire Age. I want to know more about The Fire Age for sure! A great idea. I wonder who this sword once belonged to in The Fire Age?

Your clock sounds brilliant! So, it starts to glow red when you touch it? That sounds very magical indeed. I wonder if it could send you shooing through time? A great opening to a story. Well done Elizabeth.

Wow! Carden Year 6, you certainly conjured up some pretty special magical objects! Amazing work, we can’t wait for the next instalment!

Love team AAA

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We are currently experiencing same level excitement as Charlie Bucket, you know when he peels away the foil from his golden ticket chocolate bar??!! Yes, yes, we are THAT EXCITED….. because we can now reveal the Brighton & Hove primary classes who have successfully ADOPTED THEIR 2018 AUTHOR’S…..




We are absolutely thrilled that Rob Lloyd Jones will be returning to the project to take Year 6 from Mile Oak on a fantastic adventure with his wonderful book Wild Boy.

Next up we welcome Imogen White to the project who will be introducing Carden Primary to Rose Muddle in The Amber Pendent – an exciting magical mystery full of captivating twists and turns…..

Alex Milway brings to Benfield Primary the adventures of Pigsticks, the world’s most optimistic pig, and his sidekick Harold, an over-anxious hamster in his joyous and hilarious story Pigsticks and Harrold.

And finally, M. G. Leonard will be sharing insights into her beautiful and brave Beetle Boy to Year 5 & 6 Stanford Juniors. We can’t wait!

Running for 15 years by Collected Works as a Brighton Festival project, Adopt an Author is a very special programme promoting literacy and encouraging creative writing and illustrating. Over 10 weeks children will be corresponding with their paired writers, sharing thoughts on the book and making intriguing discoveries about the creative process. Pupils will be posing questions to the authors such as – ‘what encouraged you to be a writer?’ and ‘if you were stranded on a desert island and only had two historical people for company who would you choose and why?’ – I bet that one’s got you thinking!

Please check back for updates on what is going to be a very exciting Adopt An Author 2018!




Adopt an Author Parties 2017!

Did anyone say party?!!!! That’s right, we’re at the end of the brilliant 2017 Adopt An Author. St Luke’s, Goldstone, Mile Oak and Carden have all read, written, illustrated and taken care of their adopted author’s superbly, so it is now time to celebrate this fantastic project coming to an end for this year and what better way than for classes to meet their authors in person!

First up Ali Sparkes took us back in time to her childhood and on the road to becoming an author in the 1970s….

Goldstone’s Year 3 met their adopted author Guy Bass AND his character STITCH HEAD at The Brighton Dome, where they ate yummy Pizza Face Pizza…

Excitement levels were high when Mile Oak met their Perijee and Me author Ross Montgomery – was pineapple on the menu…?

And for 2017’s last Adopt an Author party, Carden chatted Ninja films and Egyptian tombs with Rob Lloyd Jones!

The 2017 Adopt an Author project has been a wonderful success, it has been an absolute joy to see the incredible work all the children have produced and to hear how confidence has grown amongst many readers. We’ve been blown away by the stories written, character descriptions, cover art and illustrations to name just a few tasks and delighted to see the relationships with classes and authors blossom! What a fun project! Can we do it again next year?!!!

A huge thank you to all the teachers, assistants, authors and of course the children who took part. It’s been brilliant!

Team AAA x


Beginning, Middle, THE END…!

…Well not quite the end of our 2017 Adopt An Author project for Carden but over the past couple of weeks Year 6 have been focussing on their STORY ENDINGS….

So, for the next challenge, I wonder if you could write a paragraph telling me how your story ends! It doesn’t have to be very detailed at all, just enough to make you think about it and have an idea of where the story would be going once you got going.

Look forward to reading them!


Carden, as ever had great fun with the challenge – we’ve picked a few of our favourite’s to share with you…


Thanks so much for all of these great story endings – I really enjoyed reading them all. You all seem to be using your imaginations to their full, and it sounds like you’re enjoying the stories you’re telling – which is the most important thing by far. If you enjoy your own story, then others will too, and it’s much easier to write as well.

Your endings were all exciting and full of twists. I did think though that some of them didn’t quite feel like ENDINGS to stories. A story end should bring your character’s journey to a finish – your character should finally achieve his or her goal. Once that has been done, then you can throw in a big twist or ‘cliff-hanger.’ To make readers want to carry on to the next book.

But my advice is DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE NEXT BOOK. Just tell the story you want to tell as if it is the ONLY book. Finish the story fully and then worry about what might occur next in your main character’s life. As an example: If your hero is a tough but lonely detective who is trying to catch a criminal – for instance – but the end of the story that character should have caught the criminal and become less lonely by making new friends. THAT is the ending – a satisfying and happy one for your character. BUT then you can reveal that the criminal he caught is just one of many criminals from a huge gang of genius thieves. So we know there will be lots more adventures to come. The cliffhanger there is good because we have already had the happy ending before.

The other important thing about an ending is that your main character should have been changed by the adventure. So they began as lonely and ended up with friends, or they started the story as mean and ended up being kind. IT can be very a very simple change, but there should definitely be one.

They were all great fun to read, so thank you!

Full of enthusiasm for such great work, Rob set the next challenge…..

I think it would be good to work on this more in the next task. So, could you all write for me in just one or two sentences how your main character changes in your story? Don’t write a chapter or paragraph from your story – just a sentence from you to me saying ‘My character changes because (and then give the reason)’

This should be a change in your character’s personality – not in the action. So they go from being nice to mean, or good to evil maybe? Looking forward to hearing your answers!

Now, normally we might make you wait for the next instalment to find out what brilliant work Carden have created, but we’re feeling especially generous this week, so…. HOT OFF THE PRESS! Here’s head teacher Helen who sent Rob their work…

We finished the book this morning too so I suspect there might be a spike in sales (to the tune of 21) of Wild Boy 2 this evening.



We’re nearing the end of our Adopt An Author journey for 2017, and it looks as though these wonderful characters that Carden have created have been on a pretty fantastic journey themselves – we think all the authors have too!

We’ll see you next time at the party, when Year 6 meet Rob!

Until then,




Welcome back after the break! Was the Easter bunny kind? Did we all eat a teeny tiny bit too much chocolate?! We hope you’re looking forward to the summer term -we’re all very excited to hear what our adoptees have been up to! So let’s head over to Carden to find out….

A few weeks ago adopted author Rob Llyod Jones asked Year 6 to think about their characters normal life and then to think of a THING that could happen that would thrust their character into a story!

It’s safe to say Year 6 fully embraced this task! We’ve picked a few of our favourites to share with you and Rob had some great feedback too.

Hello all,

Again I really enjoyed reading about all the events that start your exciting stories. I really liked how many of you described your character’s ‘normal life’ before the event that throws him or her OUT of their normal lives and INTO the adventure. Many of you begin by saying your character is living that ‘normal life’ and then use words like these: ‘But then…’, ‘But one day…’ ‘or Then suddenly…’ That’s perfect! Most stories go exactly like this:

Once upon a time there was a (CHARACTER)
Every day he/she (NORMAL LIFE)
Because of that (THE REST OF THE STORY!)


Great Aurittri! I can’t think of many better story starts than a bullied schoolgirl discovering a secret dragon! What happens next, I wonder?

I enjoyed reading about Loliea, Hailey – and liked that you used the words ‘Just then’ in your paragraph. That’s what all stories are about : things happening.

Puggi is a fun character Taylor! I think you’ve got a GREAT story starting moment here, as Puggi meets a puggicorn and swaps identities! Perfect!

PERFECT Connor! Stevie Wellard is a fun character, and you’ve given him a really clear and interesting ‘story start moment’ when he finds a portal in the loo!

I like that you begin by describing ‘Thats what he did everyday’, Max. That’s how stories begin, then they tell us what happened to change all of that – and you have your character being hit by a car! That’s great, now the story has REALLY got going!

Kate is a fun character, Humayra –with the power to control the weather! Is the big event that gets the story going that she loses this power? That is an interesting twist on a usual superhero story! A superhero becomes normal, rather than someone normal becomes a superhero.

Carden you clever lot! The THINGS that happened to your characters have really captured Rob’s and Team AAA’s imaginations! Coming up Rob has a brilliant task for you guys, so until next time….!

Team AAA x



Cool Characters at Carden!

Carden have been chatting all about character these past couple of weeks and in response to Rob’s last task have come up with some very interesting beings of their own – some we’d even like to meet IRL! Here’s a few examples of their brilliant work below:

Hello all

I loved reading your character descriptions. All of them were brilliantly described.

Bradley, Tayla, Darcey, Tommy, Max, Ella, Junior, Nillab,
All of your characters were so much fun to read, so thank you for telling me about them! It seemed that you had fun writing abut them too, because you told me a lot of great detail. You told me how your characters looked and Some of you added interesting background stories too, which is great. It would be good though to know a bit more about how your characters behave now. Characters should always be ACTING – that’s what teaches us about them, rather than how they look or dress. Have a think about how your characters act – are they kind, caring, or evil? Can you give me examples of them being so?

I love that you describe Violence Violet as ‘Nice and Brutal’ ! That is a very interesting way to describe someone – can you think why she is like that? And how does she show these two sides of herself?

The Noose is cock and childish – that’s a nice bit of character description. Can you think of examples of how the character shows this?

Siera Everett is a cool character name! I love that you told me about how she took in the orphan boy – is shows the kind side of her character by the way she acts – which is perfect writing.

I like the background details about Katie – and that you say she is Nosy and naughty! Can you think of ways she shows this about herself?

I loved this Aldric! DJ sounds really interesting. You’ve created world and characters full of possible stories, with loads of good detail.

Ollie Wow – Dagon sounds really interesting! Why is he so evil though? You tell me how he became the god of the undead, but I’d like to know more about his feelings.

This is a great character description, Phoebe. You tell me a lot about who Sophie is, rather than what he looks like – which is perfect. She sounds like someone who would be a lot of fun to write a story about.

This is such a lovely, simply idea for a character, Hailey – with loads of good background. I’d like to know a bit more abut who Loliea is NOW though. Think about her daily routines and hopes and fears…

Jonny Gibson sounds like a really interesting character, Michael. I like that he ‘hates children’ – but can you tell me why? You describe him well, telling me about who he is rather than what he looks like, which is great.

Ziggie sounds like a very interesting character Lilia, and you describe her really
well. You say she is mischievous – but can you give me any examples of when and how?

Connor W
Its great that you chose to write a made u story about a real person, Connow – and a really interesting one too. There’s good background detail here = but can you tell me more about how Paul Pogba thinks and feels?


Rob thought that these characters were so great that they should take them further….

Now that you have thought up such great characters, lets do something with them. Most stories begin with a character living their normal life (some people call this the ‘status quo’). That normal life doesn’t have to be a USUAL life to you and me – but just one that for them in their world is normal. So Wild Boy’s normal life at the start is to live on a freak show and fight with Augustus Finch and spy on people using his detective skills. Then SOMETHING HAPPENS to thrusts the character from their normal life and into an adventure. In Wild Boy that SOMETHING is when he defends Sir Oswald and so he has to run away. So then he has to steal money to survive, which ends up with him stealing the mysterious letter – and after that the story takes off. I would like you to think of your character’s normal life that you have all described, and then think what THING could happen to them that would thrust them into a story, and maybe a little more in a paragraph about what that story might be.

Good luck!



We can’t wait to see what Ziggie, DJ, Siera Everett, Violence Violet et al have been up to! Nice work Carden!

Team AAA x


Amazing aliens, a giant rainbow unicorn & cool characters!

Wow, week 2 of AAA and our classes are impressing us and their adopted authors with their creativity!

Ali emailed class 5p at St Lukes’ to share her enthusiasm for her fictitious or fact?! challenge!

Your FACTS all look completely believable. I don’t doubt that Naomie has walked in a jungle, that John has a cat called Mango, that Natty does not not have a pet, that Sami knows how to ride a bike, that Ivy sticks her tongue out when drawing, that Brendan bellyflopped and it didn’t hurt and that Jake has six fingers on his left hand.

I believe ALL of this. The stories were fantastic too.

Naomie, the Ferrari showing up just in the nick of time was excellent. How do you think this happened? Was it complete chance or did Sam have a secret fairy godmother?

John, the miniature alien was inspired. But hey – you went for the old tried and trusted ‘Ooooh – it was ALL a dreeeeeam’ line. COP OUT!

Natty – another alien (you can’t go wrong with aliens) – and THREE GOLD STARS for mentioning a fox called Dax. 😉

Sami – the whole iPhone thing was very believable. Is Sam really going to get a fake plastic one. Can you get such a thing? If not he may have to make one.. out of papier mache or clay or chewed up Haribos…

Brendan. Hmmmm. Vomit. Blood filled eyes. Friends dropping dead. I’m a little concerned. Are your mates edging away from you right now? They should be…

Jake – I love the tension and build up of the demonic thing under the cloth. I’m not sure where the big fat fib comes in but – hey – A trail of sparkly death! What a great line!

My favourite has to be the tomato ketchup beast, though! The kids are thrown backwards, crashing into chairs and tables, knocking over lamps and computers…. tomato ketchup being squirted everywhere. BRILLIANT description, Ivy!

This is all VERY promising.

Breakdancing, bad hair, a giant rainbow unicorn, a soggy phone and a blob fish that goes WOOF are just a few of the themes from the next task Ali set – 5p we LOVE your imaginations!

Miss Liddle from Mile Oak shared the children’s thoughts on Perijee and Me’s first chapter and the mixed reviews about the first draft!

The children said that they prefer how the first chapter is like a flashback to when Caitlin first met Perijee and then it goes back in time to fill in the gaps. They also liked how it ended on a cliff hanger.

  1. Your first draft starts as many other stories do, whereas this one is more unique.
  2. They thought your first draft gave too much away too quickly. In the book we’re reading, you drip-feed us information about Caitlin and her life/family.There were mixed reviews about whether the children would’ve enjoyed the chapter about Caitlin’s school life. Some preferred that you had left that out and that we know that Caitlin is upset due to her actions e.g. smashing the pineapple and crying to Frank. A few children would’ve liked to have known a little about her school life and the children’s reactions to her bringing in a pineapple.It was funny what you said about Caitlin getting annoyed about her name being spelt incorrectly, as we have a Caitlin in our class and she feels the same way.

Ross is delighted that 6L enjoyed his first draft and made a great point – “I hope you can see that even authors start off a little rubbish before they improve!” Thanks for sharing Ross!

From writing to illustration – what a talented bunch! Just look at these amazing aliens!

6L you blew Ross away with these kooky creations and stunning similes!!!

I can’t tell you what a delight it was to open my inbox and find your alien drawings! There were so many different and (let’s be honest, bizarre) varieties of aliens – everything from cute and cuddly to outright disgusting. I loved your use of descriptive similes as well – you’ve clearly been hard at work on your SATS! It’s very hard for me to choose a favourite from so many great drawings but here are some similes I thought were excellent:

  • Nayeema: “swirled patterns as strange as surprises”. LOVE that recurring Sssss sound you make!
  • Evelyn: “heart as sad as the lonely sea at night” Wow! It almost made me feel sorry for the alien despite the fact it’s chopping off someone’s head…
  • Caitlin: “kind as a shy doe” There are lots of “i” sounds in this that make it sound wonderful!
  • Bradley: “horns as pointed as the summit of a mountain” Love this! You could have said “top of a mountain”, but summit sounds so much better (and pointier!)

Next up Ross answered some intriguing questions….

Was Perijee responsible for the storm? (Ellie)
This would be giving everything away! I’m afraid you’ll just have to read on to find out… 

Is the island based on a real place? (Jack)
Good question! I didn’t set out to base it on any place, but I was thinking of remote islands off the coast of Scotland when I started writing it. In fact, in the first draft I used actual place names and the story took place in Scotland! In the end I thought it worked better if it was just a nameless country very much like ours…

The kind of island I was thinking off was a place like the Outer Hebrides – I’ve always wanted to go and finally got to visit last summer! You have to get a boat from another island to get to them – they’re miles away from anything and such a strange, magical place. The water is absolutely freezing – if you look off the coast in one direction the nearest land is the Arctic – but its sky blue, and the island is FILLED with sea lions and crabs and dolphins and thousands of sea birds.

How long have you written books for? (Bilal)

I’ve always written stories because I love doing it – and not just books either! I used to love making comic strips and writing film scripts – in fact, I feel like I learned just as much from comics and films about how to make stories. Of course, you can’t write stories if you don’t read a lot, and I did that too.

I started writing a proper book when I was 17, so 13 years ago now – I did it with my sister and we spent 4 years writing a children’s book together! Then the moment we finished it we realised it wasn’t very good. I decided to have another go at another book on my own, and wrote ALEX, THE DOG AND THE UNOPENABLE DOOR. It took me two years to write it, then another two years to edit it after I got signed to my publisher… so that’s a good eight years of writing until I finally saw my book on a bookshelf! It’s all worth it though – the only way to get good at something is to practise it, and writing stories is the best practise you can have to be a writer.

Do you believe in aliens? (Fin)

I have no idea! But I believe that in the scope of the enormous, vast universe, there must have at some point been another species living on another planet. Perhaps they died out millions of years ago. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, they’re still alive. But whether or not we’ll ever be lucky enough to talk to each other is another matter…

Where do you get some imaginative ideas for your book? (Mothakin)

I wish I knew! An idea tends to jump at you when you least expect it – if you’re like me, you have to scribble it down before you forget it. I have a whole notebook I carry with me where I put down my ideas – then, when I need to come up with a new idea for a book, I look through and see what captures my attention. It might just be a tiny detail, but then I’ll build on it until it becomes an idea and then a character and then a book…
To give an example: I was walking though Charing Cross station when I saw a man selling small toy boats. they were made of tin, and powered by a little candle – like this! 
Image result for toy boat candle
I thought “Imagine if a mouse had to ride that across the sea!” I wrote it down, then when I revisited it I turned it into a story about a mouse who carries a candle across the ocean because he wants to take it to the stars. I gave it to my editor, we changed loads of things – including the main character – and now it’s coming out next year as a picture book! It’ll be called SPACE TORTOISE and the illustrations are by David Litchfield, who did the front cover for PERIJEE & ME. I’ve attached a sneak peek of one of the pages!
It sounds as though 6L and Miss Liddle are really enjoying Ross’ book!

We need to slow down reading Perijee and Me as we want to read it everyday!

From Carden to China (what an exotic bunch!) – which is where author Rob Lloyd Jones currently is and he’s got some feedback and cool insights into character!

I really enjoyed reading your answers, and especially how many of you told me not just about the lot of your favourite stories, but also how your favourite stories make you feel. Good stories are full of different feelings – anger, excitement, sadness, happiness, relief and lots more. Authors use those feelings to draw the readers into the story, and make have empathy for the main characters.  Once a reader feels for the characters, they want to follow them through all their adventures and will be totally gripped by the story.

A lot of you also talked about your favourite character in those stories, which is great! Character is SO important – as we’ll learn form the next exercise.

I’ve written some comments on your thoughts for each of you below.  And I thought I’d give you another little task.  Now that you know how books can make you feel, and how authors use feelings to make you like their characters, I want to think a bit more about the actual characters.  So think of your favourite character in any story – and describe that character in a few sentences. You can write what they look like, but it’s more important to describe what sort of person they are. It doesn’t have to be the hero in a story – it could be a villain, or just a small character in a book that you particularly remember.

Bradley and Leah:
You both liked the BFG – great choice! Leah said Sophie was brave and Bradley that he liked the characters. That’s great! Characters ate very important!

Evan and Connor:
I love the Walking Dead too! You both likes certain characters, which are the reason these stories are so popular- not because of the zombies, but because you love the characters fighting the zombies.

You said Harely Quinn makes you think about your own life – that’s brilliant! It means you were really involved in the story.

I liked that you said Star Wars left you on the edge of your seat. Good stories always leave you wanting more like that.

You liked Miss Root in the Demon Dentist. I agree, she’s great! Well written villains can sometimes make stories really special.

I LOVE the Ruby Redford books!! Mystery books are great because they keep you guessing, and wanting to know more.

I’ve not read Has anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins, but it sounds great. You said you love it because it has lots of action – but I bet what you really love is the character in the middle of all that action?  

I haven’t read the Gone books, but they sound really good. You said you love the cliffhangers – which is great. The writer has managed to grip you, to make you read more.

I love the Gone in 60 Seconds too!  You said you like it because it’s full of action, but I wonder if that is more that you like the characters in the action? If the characters were not unique, or interesting, then would the action be enough to make you love the story?

Life of Pi is wonderful! I was interested that you said you feel emotional about the characters. The best authors will draw you in like that – to draw the reader into the story, and make them feel the same emotions as the main character.

Harry Potter stories are brilliant. You said your favourite art is about Hermione – so I’m guessing she is your favourite character? You could maybe write more about her in the next task?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a great choice. You said you feel on the edge of your seat. The author wanted you to feel that way, so you would keep reading and be gripped.

The Cat in the Hat sounds like fun! You said it has funny characters, so its great that you were thinking about the characters – which are what makes a story great.  

I’ve never read Young Sherlock Holmes, but I love the older books. I like that you said you feel the main character questions everything. Sherlock Homes has been very popular for a long time, for the same reasons that you loved it so much – because the author makes you intrigued, and want to read on.

You like Sofia Sofa in Worlds Worst Children because she is ‘unique’. That’s brilliant! The best stories all have unique characters, who you want to find out more about.

I adore the Percy Jackson books. They are packed with so much fun and crazy action – but I was interested that what you spoke about Annabeth, and how she feels. All that detail and fun action wouldn’t be very interesting unless you cared about the characters, which you do.

I’ve never read Shadow, but it sounds great. You said it makes you think more about your own life, which is very interesting.  Authors try to make you feel that way, so you get drawn into the story more.

Off to Goldstone now where Guy had set a challenge for Year 3 to create their own pieces inspired by the action scenes in Stitch Head…

Here’s some great examples!

“He’s in the dungeon…he’s smashing the great door down!” mumbled Stitch Head nervously to himself. Right at the end of the dungeon, he could see a small bar silhouette pounding at the crooked door. Stitch Head silently crept towards the disturbing creature.

The strong, long door was splintering, the padlocks were rattling, and there was no time to think. He had to act now. With his body quivering with fear, Stitch Head silently crept towards the sinister creature.

He swiftly launched himself on the creature’s head with the magic potion securely in his pocket. With arms and legs wrapped firmly around its head, Stitch Head desperately hurled the potion into its disgusting, drooling mouth.

“It’s in the courtyard…it’s trying to clamber over the great wall.”  Stitch Head snivelled to himself. In the far corner Stitch Head saw the creature falling down the mossy wall. It was frantically pulling itself up again. Stitch Head silently crept into the gloomy courtyard..

The creature was almost at the top of the wall, the time to act was now. Any second, it would escape. Stitch Head bolted through doors and clambered up the wall using the deep holes left in the stone wall and grabbed onto its shaggy hair. He climbed up his tree-trunk legs, over his mighty back and onto his huge head.



“It’s in the entrance hall…It’s trying to find it’s way out of the castle.” shivered Stitch Head cautiously to himself. At the end of the corridor, he could see a creature shaped silhouette crashing around frantically. Stitch Head quietly tip-toed to the shadows of the entrance hall.

It had almost broken down the wall, bricks and rubble were flying everywhere! Any moment now, it would smash the wall and be free. Stitch Head raced like a bolt of lightning, up to the beast and clambered up the wall, finally onto the beast’s shoulder.



Reports from Goldstone is that word is spreading about how great AAA is….!

Still having lots of giggles at the Creature and the children are loving the book. Other year groups are now asking who ‘this Stitch Head is’

Brilliant work from everyone! See you next week!


Chapter 1 – The First Week!

The first week of Adopt an Author has been brilliant, classes have received emails from their authors and are getting to know each other well. They’ve exchanged some fantastic tasks and we’re blown away by the amazing work they’ve completed!

St Luke’s said ‘hi’ to their adopted author Ali Sparkes!

Dear Class 5P

I can’t help thinking of you like this…

I know there are 31 of you and you are perfectly normal children. Well… mostly normal children. You’re not 31 small, round, shiny metal discs. But I still keep seeing a whole class of 5ps, sitting eerily at tables, glinting… maybe the naughty ones at the back flipping themselves to heads or tails every so often…

So you should probably send me a photo of you all, if you can, so I can actually picture you rather than 5p coins. After all, I am your author. You have all just ADOPTED me. I should know what you look like. Here’s what I look like today…

This is me in my POD. POD stands for Place Of Dreams and it’s my little space up the garden where I write my books. The fox is called Dax. Some of you may know why. Here’s what the POD looks like from the outside today:

Daffodils are my favourite flowers so I love this view of the POD in March.

I’m really looking forward to meeting you all after the Easter holidays. At the moment, at the start of March, I’ve got an epic amount of school visits and festivals and launches and whatnot to do. I’m doing launch events for my brand new book – Thunderstruck.

You can check out the trailer for it on   Then, when March is over, I stop all the driving around the country and get back to the POD to concentrate on a book I’ve got to finish by the end of April.

In the meantime…

Here are three facts about me. But one of them is made up. Can you guess which is the made up one?

1. I can play two recorders simultaneously – one in each nostril.

2. I was once the sequin-clad assistant to a juggling unicyclist.

3. I have webbed toes.

You can have a vote to decide which is made up (I’ll tell you in my next email). Then I’d like each of you to write down three ‘facts’ about yourself and then challenge the class to guess which is the made up one. MAKE SURE your teacher, Paul, does this too.

When you’ve done that, you’ll be nice and warmed up, so you can write the rest of THIS story…


Sam should never have said it. It was a big fat fib and everyone knew it.

‘Go on then!’ said Emma. ‘Show us!’

‘Yeah!’ said Callum. ‘Prove it!’

Sam looked down at the thing on the desk and felt hot and sweaty. Oh no… what now?

What is the thing on the desk? What does Sam have to do with it? What will happen next? I want to KNOW!!!

So have fun with this and share your stories. They don’t have to be very long. Paul can send me the top five to read. I’m already agog to know what you’ll dream up…

Anyway, I’m off travelling again. This week I’m going to Maidenhead, Shaftesbury, Bristol, Chichester and Great Dunmow in Essex. Hope I don’t lose my voice…

See you soon, 5p! 😊

And to help differentiate 5p from 31 shiny silver coins – here’s what they really look like!

st lukes 5p.JPG

The class created some brilliant BIG FAT FIBS! All of course in the name of creative writing! Check some of them out and see if you can spot any fabrications…

And now, over to Goldstone, who welcomed their author Guy Bass with some super questions!

Hi Guy,

Well the Stitch Head fever has started. The children love it!

stitch head 2.jpeg

This week we are reading the prologue and finding out all about Fulburt. We are looking closely at how you infer about the character by the way he speaks and acts.

Later in the week we are reading chapter 1 and designing our own monsters as if we are Professor Erasmus.

But before we even looked at the book, the children wanted to find out a bit more about you. Wow, have they got a lot of questions for you!

Here goes…

And here’s Guy with some excellent insight into writing and his love of fried doughy confectionary!

Hello! It’s seventeen different kids how lovely to hear from you. I love getting emails. The sugary coating, the jam in the middle– No wait, that’s doughnuts. I love doughnuts. The electronic format, the words written in a particular order– No wait, that’s emails. Where was I…?

Oh yes! Thanks for your email! I especially like it because it’s written to me. I’m sure you’d like to know a bit about me. Well, I’m taller than my mum and I have all my own teeth. But enough about me. It’s time to answer your questions! About me.

What would be your top 5 tips on writing a successful book?

  1. Read! Good writers are good readers.
  2. Write! As in, as much as you can – flex your mighty mind muscles and they’ll get stronger.
  3. Rewrite! Chances are you won’t get your book right first time round. Be ready to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until you think you might go bonkers from all of the rewriting.
  4. Tell stories that excite you. If you’re passionate about the belly button fluff of elephants, that passion will come across in the book. Similarly, if you couldn’t care less about robot dinosaurs, you really shouldn’t be writing about them.
  5. Believe. Doubt in your own ability is all part of any creative endeavour, but if you think you have a great idea, believe in it and see it through to the end. You owe it to your idea.

Where do you write your stories?

Anywhere! On trains, in hotels, on the toilet … but usually in my study at home.

What inspired you to write?

I’ve always loved telling stories. As a child I spent my evenings and weekends and holidays making up characters and then putting them in all sorts of scrapes and situations. I’d write stories, draw comics or act our different scenarios with my brother. It usually involved play-fighting. A lot of play-fighting.

I also love eggs and cheese, but that’s a different story. It’s called Eggs and Cheese and Why I Love Them.

When did you start to write about Stitch Head? Once you have the main character, is it easier to write a series of books?

I started writing the book pretty soon after I’d come up with Stitch Head. It was a tricky start though – I wrote a good chunk of the story but Stitch Head’s character just wasn’t right so I had to go back and start again. Once I’d sorted out Stitch Head, the other characters started to fall into place. The Creature was deliberately very different to Stitch Head – it’s loud and carefree and could get Stitch Head into trouble without meaning to. On the other hand, Arabella (who doesn’t appear all that much in book one) was so much fun to write I made her a major character in subsequent books. It’s definitely easier to write more stories once you really ‘know’ the characters … easier, but never easy!

Where did the idea of Stitch Head come from?

I started out with the idea of a mad professor who made monsters in the grand tradition of Dr Frankenstein. But what if Frankenstein made his first monster what he was just a boy, out of leftovers from his dad’s own mad experiments. I did a little sketch in my notebook and the story unfolded from there.

At what age did you start writing books?

My early 30s. Before that I wrote plays. And, very occasionally, shopping lists.

What is your favourite book that you or someone else has written?

My favourite children’s book of ever all time ever in the world ever is George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. If you get me talking about it, I WILL NOT STOP.

How many books have you written in total?

I’m hoping to finish writing book 29 next week…

Which was your first book to be published?

Gormy Ruckles, Monster Boy. When I was growing up, my mum used to say “I’ve got the Gormy Ruckles” when she wasn’t feeling well. I always thought it would be a good name for a monster. Thanks Mum!

gormy ruckles.jpeg

Which book did you spend the most time on and why?

Gormy took ages (despite being quite short) ’cause it was my first book! I’m not sure which took the longest but the toughest to write was The Mighty Frog, which was the last in a trilogy. Tying up all the loose ends was a right pain in the plot!

Which book did you enjoy writing the most and why?

Possibly Secret Santa: Agent of X.M.A.S. ’cause it really fed my love of puns. Or the Atomic! books… or Dinkin Dings and the Frightening Things … oThe Legend of Frog. Definitely one of those. Or one of the others. These questions are hard…

Is there a particular time of day when you prefer to write?

I’m not bad in the morning but I write best in the evenings, from around 6pm. It’s frustratingly anti-social but then, so am I 🙂

What is the scariest book you have written?

Probably Stitch Head: The Ghost of Grotteskew, because GHOSTS.

How long does it take to write and then publish a book?

How long is a piece of string? Well, in this case the piece of string is about 3 months long. That’s about how long it takes me, give or take a month either side. But I’m not writing solidly for 3 months! Right now, for example, I’m writing this email. And later I’m going to eat an apple.

How many times do you, or the publisher, edit the original story?

How long is a piece of– No wait, that was the last question. So, I rewrite a LOT before I deliver a first draft. Then it’s usually one or two more drafts before it’s more or less sort of ready. I think I’m getting better at delivering stronger first drafts but you’d have to ask my editor! My dream is to one day write the perfect, air-tight first draft. But. That. Will. Never, Happen.

When did you start writing for pleasure?

As soon as I could pick up a crayon!

Did you get on well at school?

School? Never heard of it. Is it some sort of new dance craze?

Was there a particular author or person who inspired you to write?

Too many to mention! But Roald Dahl and anyone writing comic books in the 1980s spring to mind.

Your books are published into different languages, do you speak any of the other languages?

Uh … Un petit peu français peut-être – mais c’est tout. Désolé!

What do you enjoy most about writing?

The humbling thought that an idea that occurs to me – possibly on the toilet – might one day become an actual book that someone else might actually want to read! Possibly on the toilet.

Do you have ideas for your next book?

Yes! Most of them are 100% brilliant, except the one about the cupboard that dreams of going on an adventure … but then doesn’t. That one needs some work.

Will you use any of our ideas in your next book?

Are they all brilliant? They’re all 100% brilliant, right? In which case yes, but only if I can take all the credit and horde all the riches and eat all the eggs and cheese myself.

Do you like reading your own books?

Well, by the time a book goes to print I’ve read, re-read, checked and combed its hair so many times that I’m not usually in the mood to read it again. Plus there are a lot of books out there that I haven’t read and didn’t write! But I do enjoy reading my books aloud at school events and festivals.

Why did you start to write children’s stories?

The voices in my head told me too. Also, as my wife will tell you and my toy collection proves, I’m still about 8 years old in my head, so it was a comfy fit…

Phew! I’m off for a long lie-down. But not in the swimming pool, this time. That was a bad idea. Not as bad as the cupboard who dreams of going on an adventure … but then doesn’t. But still pretty bad.

E-speak to you soon, Year 3! And have yourselves a DINGLE DANGLE!

(That’ll make sense when you get further through the book…)



Heading over to Mile Oak now – here’s class 6L with their book Perijee and Me by Ross Montgomery.

Mile Oak 6L.JPG

Dear Miss Liddle and 6L,

Well here it is – my first proper email to your class! I think I’ll start by answering some of your questions!

Did you base Perijee on anyone or anything and how did you come up with the name? (Lauren and Amelia)

As far as I know, Perijee isn’t based on anyone or anything I know – I know that sounds like an odd answer, but sometimes it takes me ages to work out that I’ve based a character on something! For example, it took me a while to realise the character of Frank was based on a friend of mine called Rael who sadly passed away before the book was finished – if you look at the front of the book you’ll see I’ve dedicated it to him. Fun fact: in the first draft of PERIJEE & ME, the alien wasn’t called Perijee – he was called Parsec! However my editor told me that was rubbish and that everyone in the sales meeting had laughed at it, so I had to change it. Boooooo! A parsec is a measurement of distance in space – how far light can travel in 3.25 years. This is roughly 19 million-MILLION miles! (That’s 12 zeroes!)Why did you choose a pineapple? (Lauren)

Because it is the best fruit. Obviously. This is a lie – in the first draft of PERIJEE & ME, the opening scene started with a drawing Caitlin had made of her family and her describing it. I’ve actually found the scene and attached it to this email – have a look and see if you can notice any differences between the first draft and the finished book! There was also a whole deleted scene in the first draft which showed Caitlin having a horrible time at her end of term party. I wanted to show how she stood out from the other children and didn’t fit in – so while everyone else bought crisps and sandwiches, Caitlin brought a pineapple but nothing to cut it with. My editor said the scene was too sad and I should cut it out.

What inspired you to write Perijee and me, a book about friendship? (Nayeema)

This is a very good question! I think when I started writing it, I didn’t realise I was making a book about friendship – I thought I was writing about a lonely girl who wanted to look after something. However, the more I worked on the book, the more I realised that the book should show how important friendship is – how you can make a connection between you and someone else, no matter how different they may seem. This happens a lot with writing a book – you start out thinking it’s about one thing, but then it changes into something else. Just like Perijee! The original inspiration for PERIJEE & ME is a very strange story – but that’s a tale for another time…

What made you think of the name Caitlin and not something else? Is she based on someone you know? (Brooke)

Caitlin is based primarily on a girl I used to teach. I won’t say her name as that wouldn’t be fair! She was a very sunny and kind and enthusiastic, but she struggled at school and you could see how hard she found it. I was very touched by the fact that even when she found learning difficult, she never gave up – and she always fought to stay positive even when it must have been very sad for her. She was an inspiration! Fun fact: in the first draft of PERIJEE & ME, there was a whole scene where Caitlin explains how much she hates her name because no one ever spells it right. She’s made to write her name on the board but spells it wrong, gets flustered, tries to sound it out and confuses herself – then when the teacher shouts at her she writes I HAIT SPELING on the board and throws the teacher’s sandwich out the window.

What made you think of the name Perijee? (Louis)

After my editor told me to change the name from Parsec, I had to look at a lot of different options – I wanted a name that Caitlin would have taken from her astrobiologist father, so I got researching and started looking up astrophysics terms – here’s a good selection!

I looked up the names of stars, names of constellations, names of NASA space missions and astronauts, names of animals who have been sent into space… I must have looked at hundreds until I found the right one! Other possible options were:

  • Quark!
  • Gordo!
  • Vol!
  • Tarf!
  • Kappa!
  • Marfik!
  • Praxidike!

As you can see, they were all rubbish. I eventually came across “perigee” – this is the word for when the moon gets closest to earth in its orbit. This happens once a month – the point where it’s farthest away is called the “apogee”. If it happens to be a full moon during a perigee, we get a “supermoon”! It normally gets mentioned in the news because it means the moon looks massive and beautiful, like this:

Image result for supermoon

Fun fact: The next supermoon is apparently due on May 25th, 2017 – look out for it! However the biggest supermoon of the whole CENTURY will be on December 6th, 2052. I will be 65 years old when this happens – feel free to message me on my floating millionaire’s astropad on the tenth moon of Jupiter.

I hope you found those answers helpful. One of the things you might have noticed is how many times I mentioned something was different in my first draft – this is going to be an important theme in my correspondence with you! I completely rewrote PERIJEE & ME about ten times before I was happy with it – and the same will be true of every single book you know and love. Rewriting and editing is invaluable to writing – no one ever, EVER gets it right on their first try. You can always go back and make it better!

With that in mind, Ross set about giving 6L their first task…

I want you to focus on the very first chapter – a nice short one! Have a go re-reading it as a class if that helps. I wrote this chapter to create a little bit of a mystery, and make the reader want to find out more about Perijee. You might have found it a bit of a shock when it suddenly said he grew fingers, for example!

In order to help the reader visualise Perijee, I used two SIMILES to describe him – can you find them? Why do you think I compared Perijee to these things? What do you think is the point of using similes?

(I’ve written what I think the answer is at the bottom of this email – you might disagree!)

Then, I’d like you to use similes to describe different parts of it – its eyes, its teeth, its hair, its nails, its skin, its arms…

REMEMBER: if your alien is scary, then you should compare it to things that are scary!

GOOD EXAMPLE: The alien’s eyes were as red as erupting volcanoes.

BAD EXAMPLE: The alien’s eyes were as red as nice tasty tomatoes.

Let me know how you get on – I’m looking forward to seeing some beautiful pieces of descriptive writing!

Have a lovely rest of the week and speak soon,


Secret answer:
I think similes are often used because they put an image in your head. No one knows what a shape-shifting alien looks like, but pretty much everyone knows what a candle looks like. So if I describe Perijee as “like a candle in a jar”, the first thing in your head is a glowing candle – as a writer, this is how you can make a reader see what’s in your own imagination!

Here are some great examples of simple similes:
Mr Gum: “Mr Gum was a fierce old man with a red beard and two bloodshot eyes that stared out at you like an octopus curled up in a bad cave.”

Harry Potter: “An old man was standing before them, his wide pale eyes shining like moons through the gloom of the shop.”

And here’s a more advanced example of how similes, metaphors and personification can be used to turn something you probably haven’t seen before – a school burning down! – into something you can imagine just by cleverly placing images in your head:

Cider With Rosie: “Then the schoolhouse chimney caught on fire. A fountain of sparks shot high into the night, writhing and sweeping on the wind, falling and dancing along the road. The chimney hissed like a firework, great rockets of flame came gushing forth.. yellow jets of smoke belched from cracks in the chimney.”

Ross left the class with a genius task for next week – to come up with their very own alien! We look forward to hearing about 6L’s awesome other worldly creatures!

And now popping over to see what Carden’s been up to – ah, I see Rob Lloyd Jones posed some interesting questions to Year 6!

Favourite stories – describe your favourite story, and tell me why
Favourite character – Tell me about your favourite character in any story
Story starts – how stories begin, and how yours now can
Scene settings – how to describe a place, with a task to do so
Villains – tell me about your antagonist
Story endings – how good stories end, how does your story finish
Themes and messages – after all of this, what was your story really about? Does it matter if you have a theme?

Some brilliant recommendations. Right we’re off to the library with a list of books to borrow as recommended by Carden’s Year 6 – they all sound fantastic!

We can’t wait to check in next week and find out what our authors and classes have been up to!


Romance blossoming in Lizzy Bennet’s world

The girls at Carden Primary have been reading Marcia Williams’ next book (yes, they get TWO!)

The story is inspired by a book called Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen which was written in 1813 (ages ago!) Marcia’s book is written from Lizzy Bennet’s point of view. When Lizzy Bennet’s father gives her a diary, she fancies she will use it to write a novel, as her real life is exceedingly dull. Then the handsome Mr. Bingley moves to nearby Netherfield Park, and suddenly life is every bit as thrilling as a novel would be. Who will he dance with at the Meryton ball? Who is his haughty friend? Will Lizzy ever receive a marriage proposal?

Marcia set the girls a writing task:

Dear Year 6,

I have been rereading Lizzy Bennet’s Diary up to the same page as you, and it strikes me how very difficult Lizzy is to please.  How will she ever find a husband with such high standards?!
I wondered if you could each write a description of the man you would have Lizzy fall for, if you were the author instead of Jane Austen.  Just close your eyes and imagine him walking into the room and Lizzy falling in love!
1.  How does he enter the room, does he stride, shuffle or even trip?  Maybe he is shy and just pokes his head around the door?  Is he dark or fair?  Think about his clothes, his hairstyle, his shoes?  Maybe, he has a scar or a moustache?
2.  Is he clever?  Cold or warm hearted.  Friendly or shy?  Funny or severe?  How does his personality differ from Lizzy’s?
3.  Is he rich and aristocratic or does he come from a modest background? Is he a soldier?  What if any occupation does he have?
4.  What are his likes and dislikes?
5.  What are his strengths and weaknesses?  Maybe he eats too much chocolate – has dozens of dogs – or falls asleep at the table!  Only you know!
These are some of the things you might like to think about when you are writing about him.
I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!
Good luck,
And the girls did a great job, they wrote very descriptive pieces detailing the moment the two meet. How romantic! These are two of our faves…

Well done girls and we hope you are looking forward to meeting your author Marcia Williams TOMORROW! So exciting!

Team AAA x