World Book week (it’s never just a day) is always exhausting and uplifting. But this week it was extra special.
I get to travel around the country, talking to hundreds and hundreds of young people about reading, writing and dreaming about their futures. I crossed the country from Essex to Surrey, Derby to Harrow and talked to or did workshops with people from Year 6 to Year 12. Why was it special? Well, these things happened. Normally some of them do, but not all of them together. It’s why I write, and why I love creating young readers and talking to them. If you were there – THANK YOU for being so wonderful.
- Year 8s made placards with their questions during my last talk, and held them up so I’d notice them. One was even in code (I’d done a codebreaking section). I did notice! You were awesome.
- Year 10 girls listening to my Winning Like a Girl talk were so shy, but thought about their power words and started to believe that they could do great things.
- Some of them came up to me afterwards and asked for my girl power book recommendations. I know they will find authors like Caitlin Moran and Felicia Day to inspire them.
- I met a librarian who is bursting with good ideas to make her space the heart of the school, and the senior teachers who want to help her. School libraries rock, and this school knows it.
- I got to speak to Year 6s at my last talk, who were bursting to ask questions about writing, and asked so many good ones.
- In one lunchbreak, Years 7 to 9 queued round the block with books to sign – some new, some old and loved – and made me feel like a writing queen. Thank you!
- Chris Priestley did a double act with me in Nottingham and Derby, talking about writing creepy books and keeping big audiences entertained. We must do that again.
- At Trent College, the teachers included Chris and me in the library section of a Mannequin Challenge. I’ll be on Youtube somewhere, reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid over a student’s shoulder. Loved it.
- All the teachers and librarians, and the people at Authors Aloud, put so much effort into making sure each day ran smoothly, the books were there, the students were listening (they all were), and the parched authors got tea and coffee. It was worth it, I promise.
I’ll miss you, World Book week. You were mad, but I know for certain some kids started reading books they would never have thought of, and others started writing stories they didn’t know they had inside them. Thank you.