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ARCHIVE: A visit to Mapledene Primary School, Sheldon, Birmingham

"My son and daughter told me about your visit today. They had a great time, thanks"

I was delighted to be invited to the Mapledene Primary School Summer Fayre on 25th September to meet the Head Teacher, Miss Stephenson and Miss Young who heads up the development of their new library.

We spoke of the lack of funding for primary schools in general but also the lack of funding for books. This is exactly what Cressida Cowell's life-changing libraries project is all about and I was thrilled that not only did they want a copy of my book for their library but wanted my support on the opening day of their new library on 12th November too – and what an honour it was to be asked to cut the ribbon!! After reaching out to my local community we also donated over £1200 worth of quality books to stock their shelves.

Time was spent in the new library, enjoying the new surroundings with various objectives for each class and year group as they visited. And the author of the month for the opening…. T M Jorden – what another honour.

Each class had various elements of the book read to them that supports each teachers’ objectives as well as information on how to care for all their new books in their library.

We did everything from the creation of characters, predicting what might happen from details stated or implied, writing interesting speech and dialogue to describing a setting or just meeting Lord Ted himself and working on adjectives to describe him. Everyone received a Lord Ted Fan Club badge and bookmark, and each class was presented with a Lord Ted Fan Club certificate.

Before my arrival the children had been working with the ‘half-term champion’ book. In the main entrance there was a wall focused on the ‘Writing Champions’ where I could see the effort that not only the children had put into the characters and story but the preparation the teachers had accomplished.

My thanks to all the teachers and congratulations to Sam from Year 3 and Fynley from Year 6 on winning a signed copy of The Adventures of Poppy and Lord Ted for their fabulous work.

A special thanks must go to Miss Young who not only organised the whole day but took on the library project from the beginning – what a magnificent achievement.

A few children thought they could buy the book on the day and many asked for it as a Christmas present so I returned on 7th January 2022 for a lunchtime book signing event and met some of the children who could not make the original day itself. What another humbling experience to see so many children with their own copy of The Adventures of Poppy and Lord Ted ready to sign, and so many wanting to buy a copy. All of the children are enjoying the story, some even reading it a second time!!

What a wonderful school, amazing teaching staff and incredible children who were a credit not only to Mapledene and their teachers but to their parents too.

I had a fantastic time, and I am looking forward to returning again soon – thank you!!

More pictures can be found in our Gallery

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