My new book comes out on 5 May and is a children’s biography in Scholastic’s “Life Story” series.
I really enjoyed putting together this list for Booktrust of 7 incredible books for children learning about Ancient Egypt. Four of them are fiction and three are non-fiction. I won’t paste the whole thing here, but please do follow the link above for my reviews of all seven books.
I’ve been doing lots of World Book Day events these last two weeks, talking to children about the amazing Egyptological anniversaries coming up this year (200 years since the cracking of hieroglyphs and 100 years since the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb). Some of them are going to be doing THE ANCIENT EGYPT SLEEPOVER as their next whole-class read.
Teacher Paul Watson reviewed the book on his Great British Bookworm blog recently. He wrote:
Heist stories are always thrilling, and this one is no exception. Mo and his friends find themselves in a situation in which the adults are useless and the peril they face is very real. Stephen Davies does a great job at making the story rattle along at a good pace, while developing characters at the same time.
My hope is that THE ANCIENT EGYPT SLEEPOVER becomes the go-to book for KS2 teachers studying Ancient Egypt with their classes. If your class is reading my book and you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I am an award-winning author with over twenty published books for children and teens. I enjoy giving talks and creative writing workshops in schools, and am now able to offer these as online sessions, via Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
- Engaging, interactive workshops for young people
- Good knowledge of Zoom and Microsoft Teams
- 100 Mbps wired ethernet connection – no lag or pixellation
Years 1-2: African picture books
I read my picture book DON’T SPILL THE MILK, accompanied by hi-res illustrations onscreen (Christopher Corr), and then help the class to produce ideas for a sequel, DON’T DROP THE MANGO!
Years 3-4: Creating interesting characters for your stories
Using photographs of children from around the world as a springboard, I lead the class through the process of coming up with intriguing and believable story characters.
Years 5-6: ‘Limited third person’ point of view
Using examples from my book SURVIVOR TITANIC, I introduce the advanced technique of ‘limited third person’ storytelling and give students opportunities to experiment with it themselves.
I also offer thriller-writing or travel-writing workshops for secondary level students.
Read testimonials about my in-person school visits.
For more information, or to make a booking, email Yvonne at Authors Abroad firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to joining your class from afar, wherever in the world you may be!
Dear friends, what a difference two months make. Re-reading my start-of-year newsletter, it seems absurdly carefree. All of us are affected by the various challenges presented by Covid-19. It is good to see friends and neighbours pulling together to help vulnerable members of their communities.
The closure of schools means that all of my school events this term have been cancelled or postponed. I do hope to offer virtual school visits at some stage. Watch this space for videoed talks and workshops.
A LOT of children’s books are going to get read over the next few weeks. If you can’t get to a library, the Libby app is brilliant in bringing your library to you.
For parents needing further literacy resources, the industrious librarian Mr Maxwell at Glenthorne School has compiled this useful list:
Reading & Literacy Resources
Authorfy (www.authorfy.com) Free to join, contains several videos of authors reading from their books, creative writing challenges and much more.
Book List (https://bit.ly/3b6O8oY) A searchable list of over 200 books that are popular at Glenthorne. Unless otherwise stated, all books are suitable for ages 11+.
Booklings Chat (www.soundcloud.com/booklingschat) Hear Glenthorne students interview 30 different authors when they visited the school.
BookTrust Book Finder (www.booktrust.org.uk Click “Books & Reading” then “Book Finder”) Great resource on finding books on a wide variety of genres.
British Library (https://bit.ly/33tLmas) Make your own mini book with instructions from the British Library.
English Media Centre (https://bit.ly/2xInjsE) Free Home Learning Pack for Key Stage 3 students.
Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) Free to join, students can write their own reviews of books they have read, find book lists, take part in quizzes and discover new books to read.
Grammar Cereal (www.classroomcereal.com) Practice your grammar with downloadable short stories.
NPR Comic on Coronavirus: (https://n.pr/33s261Q) A short comic book and 3 minute podcast for kids that will help dispel fears, bust myths and reduce panic surrounding the coronavirus.
Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org) Project Gutenberg offers over 50,000 free e-books in various formats.
Reading Realm (www.thereadingrealm.co.uk) Creative writing resources that can be used with a free app.
Reading Zone (www.readingzone.com) Book reviews, competitions and activities for all ages.
Scholastic Learn at Home (https://bit.ly/33rFZss) Four new learning experiences posted every day for a wide range of ages.
Toppsta (www.toppsta.com) Giveaways and hundreds of book reviews and activities for a wide variety of ages.
Warmest good wishes to you and yours. Keep home, keep well, keep reading.
Warmest wishes to all my readers for a happy and productive 2020. Looking forward to reading lots of great new fiction this year, and to writing some more of my own stories as well. September sees the long-awaited release of Hilda season 2 on Netflix as well as the publication by Flying Eye of the first of three brand new Hilda books written by me and illustrated by Seaerra Miller (numbers four, five and six in the series).
Since visiting Cairo with Authors Abroad last year I have become obsessed with Ancient Egypt. I have surrounded myself with books on the subject, am learning to read hieroglyphs and am haunting the British Museum like a very tall, camera-wielding spectre. Here’s hoping that something creative will come out of this obsession in the not too distant future.
In the meantime, I have loads of school visits planned for this term and next, both in the UK and further afield. My Key Stage 2 Titanic-themed workshops (based on my book Survivor: Titanic) are popular and space in the diary is rapidly diminishing, so please do enquire sooner rather than later if you’re a teacher wanting to organize a visit. Drop a line to Yvonne Lang at Authors Abroad email@example.com.
A special shout out to Sayes Court Primary School in Addlestone and Ditton Park Academy in Slough who I’m glad to serve as patron of reading this year. I’ll be keeping an eye on all new mid-grade and young adult fiction coming out over the next six months, and shoving plenty of recommendations your way.
One rather special book I discovered over the Christmas break is Pharaoh’s Fate by Camille Gautier and Stephanie Vernet, illustrated by Margaux Carpentier. It’s a thrilling story set in Ancient Egypt where YOU play the part of detective, following clues and deciphering codes in order to foil a plot against the pharaoh’s life.
Keep adventuring and keep reading!
Lovely review of HILDA AND THE GREAT PARADE over at Booktrust this morning.
The arrival of HILDA on Netflix means that more girls than ever are dressing up as Hilda for World Book Day this year. Daughter 1 has never before shown any inclination to dress up as a character from one of my books, but apparently she makes an exception for TV tie-ins.
Hilda is a quick and inexpensive costume to put together. We already owned a black beret, so our only expense was a blue wig. Once that arrived, Daughter 1 was kitted out in minutes.
Daughter 2 wanted to dress up as Twig, to accompany her sister. I searched online for Twig costumes: nothing. I looked at polar bear onesies, thinking we might adapt one: too expensive. We decided to make a Twig costume ourselves.
I won’t pretend that making Twig’s head was a quick job, or even that the result looks much like Twig. But it was a really fun craft project to do together. And if you start well in advance of World Book Day, you can do it step by step over a week or two with no stress.
Our guide on this journey was the wonderful Mr Otter Art Studio, who made the video below. This video is a foxfox instead of a deerfox, but the process is the same!
Is there a more fitting way for an author to celebrate the new year than with the release of a new book? I am pleased to announce that 1 January 2019 saw the publication of the second Hilda TV tie-in HILDA AND THE GREAT PARADE. This story sees Hilda getting to grips with her new life in Trolberg and (as usual) getting embroiled with magical creatures. The book contains plot threads from The Bird Parade and three other episodes from the Netflix series.
This book was great fun to write and it contains one of my favourite characters from the Hildaverse: the Lindworm. Beware, the Lindworm is bigger and more dangerous than her name suggests!
Now that my daughters have read THE GREAT PARADE, they are eagerly awaiting Book 3 HILDA AND THE NOWHERE SPACE which I believe comes out in May. In the meantime they are getting their ongoing Hilda fix from the engrossing game Hilda Creatures. You place food, plants and other items in various locations around Trolberg and the wilderness, and then you wait to see who or what shows up. Here are some of the familiar and not-so-familiar friends my daughters have encountered over the last few days – usually accompanied by squeals of delight.
My family and I are just back from the Pyranees, where they went skiing and I made valiant but pitiful attempts to stand up. During the week we happened across a couple of isolated Hilda-esque cabins in the valleys. Can you spot them?
The Pyraneean setting was perfect inspiration for the fourth Hilda tie-in, which I started work on yesterday – a festive, snowy story containing plot threads from various episodes of Hilda Season 2. (Yes, that’s right, the award-winning Netflix animation has been re-commissioned for another series – watch this space!)
Later this month I am off to another snowy setting, Kazakhstan, where I have been invited to visit two international schools with Authors Abroad. 2019 is shaping up to be a busy year for school visits, so if you are interested in a visit, please book sooner rather than later. You can find session content, testimonials and fees on the school visits page of this site.
Warm wishes to Hilda fans everywhere, and thanks as always to Luke Pearson and Flying Eye Books for the opportunity to be involved with such warm, life-affirming stories.
I confess, I hadn’t heard of Hilda until this time last year. I first encountered her in the article Here Comes Hilda in the New Yorker. I was intrigued. Then I read HILDA AND THE TROLL and joined the ever-growing tribe of Hilda fans worldwide. Now I have the comics beside me as I write, an ‘Ancient Giants’ poster on the wall in front of me and Hilda herself for a desktop wallpaper.
Hilda was created in 2009 by Luke Pearson, when he was still at school. He drew a picture of a blue-haired girl wearing a beret, scarf, red top, blue skirt, and big red boots. She had a Scandinavian city behind her and was surrounded by all kinds of strange creatures.
That one picture led to five comics (published by Flying Eye Books), a Netflix animation (coming soon) and now an illustrated fiction series. That’s where I come in. I am grateful to Flying Eye Books for introducing me to Hilda, and even more grateful to them for the opportunity to join Team Hilda and write stories about her. She is a delightful character to write – warm, brave and boundlessly optimistic. The books themselves are TV tie-ins. They are based on plots from the Netflix series and illustrated by Seaerra Miller. Our hope is that the books will bring the irrepressible Hilda to a whole new audience.
On Thursday this week (6 September), we’re having a launch for HILDA AND THE HIDDEN PEOPLE at Waterstones on Tottenham Court Road. Come along at 6.30pm for an exclusive preview screening of Episodes 1 and 2 from the Netflix series, followed by a Q&A with me and Sam Arthur, co-founder of Nobrow and Flying Eye Books. The event itself is free, and of course copies of the book will be available afterwards for sale and signing (retail price £9.99).
Update (7 September 2018)
The Hilda launch went really well last night. It was exciting to see some of the Netflix animation (up until last night I had only read the scripts) and to chat to lots of Hilda fans, almost all of whom have been following Hilda’s adventures for much longer than I have. I really liked the way Bella Ramsey voiced Hilda, and I loved the two woff-ride sequences!
Sam Arthur was unfortunately not able to be with us last night, but my daughter Liberty (8) stepped intrepidly into the role of interrogator. She asked me some lovely questions and also a couple of downright uncomfortable ones, including this zinger: Daddy, we have the Hilda comics and now the Hilda Netflix series, so why do we need YOUR books too?
Many thanks to all who came, and to Waterstones Tottenham Court Road for hosting.
I do find it hard keeping secrets, so it’s a great relief to finally be able to make this announcement. I have a new book out this September!
HILDA AND THE HIDDEN PEOPLE is a fully illustrated story starring Hilda, a blue-haired girl with a thirst for adventure and an uncanny talent for making friends with magical creatures. My book is based on the forthcoming Netflix series HILDA, which in turn is based on Luke Pearson’s popular comic book series. Over the last six months I have enjoyed getting to know this brave, kind-hearted girl and her friends. They’re wonderful characters to write, and I hope you’ll come to love them too. HILDA AND THE HIDDEN PEOPLE comes out in September and is published by Flying Eye.