Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gorgeous sun and writing

Well the sun is out and that certainly makes for a change! About time too.

I'm currently working on some redrafting of the Challenge English series which is at this moment in time being re-enlivened. I will also be doing some additional work for Hodder before settling down to some fiction writing over the summer. A week ago that word- summer had become meaningless but - now that the sun is out, it is starting to look like a summer!

With that in mind I am about to don my sunglasses and hit the road!

Monday, July 09, 2012

A debut novel review

I've just finished reading Jackie Marchant's debut novel I'm Dougal Trump and It's not my Fault. I read it in one evening from start to finish and really enjoyed it. The fact that I was able to read it so quickly is  testament to how entertaining a book it is. The curious creature in the shed that the main character is told lurks there, kept me reading but so did Dougal's funny, at times laugh-out-loud, antics, which were entirely believable.

The book is well written and although initially you may question some of the language, the voice of the main character Dougal, develops into a really distinctive and entirely believable one. He's obviously a bright but clearly misunderstood young man!! And you can't help but like him. Presented as an accident prone, mischievous boy who is forever having to prove his innocence, poor Dougal moves from one laughable disaster to another, hounded by his friends and sister, blamed by his parents and teachers.

A very relatable book for children. I'm sure many boys and girls will enjoy the book which is aimed at readers of  9+, and I whole heartedly recommend it. It's beautifully presented with lovely illustrations and lots of handwritten and scrawled notes which add to the authenticity of events.  Macmillan's website for Dougal Trump will give you a taster of what's to come ... this and the book are sure to grab young readers' attentions, so I'm certain we will see more of Dougal in the future, and I look forward to reading more from Jackie. A great and entertaining debut novel.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Jude's Travels

My last week has been a roller coaster of travel and talk. I was in Liverpool one day, Birmingham the next and finally in Aberystwyth, as part of work for OSIRIS Educational. I visited a few schools in the process, one of which was Penweddig School in Aberystwyth which is a Welsh medium school, where I delivered training on Literacy across the curriculum, particularly in relation to the more able and to boys. With it being a Welsh medium school, the English department and school have their work cut out for them so I hope that my training provided them with at least a few ideas or models of how literacy could be developed further.

I have sampled Holiday Inns in both Liverpool and Birmingham and a rather lovely hotel in Wales which really was beautiful, so beautiful in fact that I am intent on finding a reason to return there!! It's only been recently renovated to its former glory and is currently offering a few good deals. I would highly recommend it for a relaxing break, where you can be assured of excellent service and a good night's rest in beautiful surroundings. I'm not a stranger to Wales but had never been to this part of the country, and unfortunately did not have time to fully explore it. This is reason enough of course to return and stay again at Nanteos.

This week is not quite as hectic with work but I am still travelling - up to Manchester for the Children's Book Festival and then have some more work in London later in the week. I'm looking forward to going up to Manchester and keeping my fingers crossed, but I hope to enjoy myself regardless of the outcome at the Commonword Children's Diversity Writing Prize Award Ceremony.

More on my writing and reading next post, particularly in relation to some work for Hodder. Until then, in  words akin to those of a famous Sci Fi character, this is Jude Ensaff of the Travelling Circus signing off.