Updates coming!

Hello book friends.

Don’t worry, i haven’t forgotten about you, i’ve just been very busy. I thought i would write a quick note to say that lots of updates will be coming soon; including lots and lots of books reviews- i’ve been writing them down, some recent events that i’ve been to and some information on some of my new work! I’m sorry if you guys suddenly start getting bombarded… bare with me, i’ve got lots to tell you guys about.

In the meantime here’s a picture from when i met my favourite illustrator, Chris Riddell at The Albany Theatre late last year. He is genuinely one of the nicest men but that’s a story for another time.

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Speak soon,
Megan

 

Curse of the Nomed Launch Dinner at Birmingham Library

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Now i’ve recovered from an epic night celebrating the launch of Curse of the Nomed and helping to raise money for Partnership for Children i thought i’d share with you all what the evening was like. I’ve never been to such a fancy launch for a book before, it was a spectacular night filled with buzz for the new book, admiration for the children who took part in the workshops- coming up so many brilliant ideas and lashings of love for the author and illustrator who brought it all together.

Some information about Curse of the Nomed: The Whizz Writers are students from Four Dwellings Academy in Birmingham who took part in the ‘Look at our Book’ competition by Wesleyan, to create a story with the goal of it being turned into an actual book that would ultimately help pupils with their move to secondary school. That’s such a beautiful idea isn’t it? You can learn more about the project here.

Susan, Michaela, Joshua, Great, Farhaan and coach Jess were named the winners a short while ago, a very big and hearty well done to them for coming up with such brilliant ideas! It was then up to BB Taylor to bring their incredible ideas to life and wrap that mummy in impermeable bandages! Which she did superbly! We all know what a fan of BB’s i am! Then it was up to Holly Bushnell to bring the story off the page with her fitting and fabulous illustrations.

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By the sounds of this book, i hope it will come across, that so much went into making it. Friendships were forged not only in the book itself but between those helping to create it. Inside the book, the characters suffer from anxiety and returning negative thoughts, and from what i understood during the evening, this was also felt by everyone who contributed to bringing this book to life and i genuinely hope that self believe and self admiration has replaced those anxieties because everything that has been created here is wonderful. If you’re not cheering for these people yet, let me help you with that..

Not only was the book a triumph, an amalgamation of all these people’s ideas but by being part of the ‘Look at our Book’ Project by Wesleyan it has helped to raise money for the charity Partnership for Children, who help to promote coping skills and good mental health for children. Something i hope we can all agree is tremendous! On the night itself they raised more than £15,000 for Partnership for Children. Now you’re cheering! And rightly so, how incredible is that?!

You can buy a copy of the book on Amazon here, Waterstones here, Foyles here or if you are a school, at Peter’s here. And if you’re not sold on buying a copy just yet, you can read my review of the book here. I know i’m hitting you with a lot of links but here’s another one for good measure, Partnership for Children. I will also be running a competition to win a copy on the blog too.

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I’ve now told you all of the important information i know but if you’d like to stick around you can read and see just what i got up to during the evening celebrating the launch. I’m too young to dance on tables or get drunk but regardless of those things i still had a spectacular time. Although dancing on tables does sound like fun!

Thank you so much to BB Taylor for inviting me (and my family) to attend and thank you to everyone who accommodated me. I don’t think i’ve ever had a more worthy reason to dress up and celebrate!

We arrived at Birmingham Library at 7pm, where we were greeted by beautiful happy smiles and were lead to the 3rd floor roof deck. I can honestly say i have never had the pleasure of seeing Birmingham from this view and despite my Mummy repeatedly ‘reminding’ me not to get too close to the edge, the view was far too spectacular not to take in. It was breathtaking!

I’m pictured here with my Daddy and my Mummy on the deck- i swear i was drinking orange juice- just after i’d checked in with BB Taylor who was sporting some very beautiful Egyptian themed jewellery.

There were lots of people handing out drinks and an absolutely epic steel band playing. Birmingham? It could have easily been the Caribbean! Well, nearly.

We were escorted inside where i had been seated with BB Taylor herself, the Egyptian dressed Holly Bushnell and a host of other amazing and interesting people… and my Mummy and Daddy of course. No seriously i love them, i kid, i kid.*

*I have to say that.

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It was awesome to have a reserved place at such a prestigious event. I felt very lucky and honoured to be included. I also partnered some Egyptian themed jewellery to my outfit like BB and Holly. Fits in quite well, doesn’t it?

There was some beautiful live music playing, well done to the two ladies who played superbly during the event. They did a thankless task and kept the ambience right on key.

Our first course was served quite quickly, mine was a tomato soup while others had a curried one. It was delicious and I was pretty happy that I didn’t manage to get it down my front- i’m terrible with soup! BB’s lovely husband fancied my soup more than his but I can safely say that there was none left to share.

During the meal some people got up to speak about why we were all there and what the book hoped to achieve for the charity. Ahmed Farooq was one of the first people to explain what had proceeded the evening, Ahmed is the Chief Financial Officer at Wesleyan and the very lovely Jess told everyone about the workshops and the brilliant children who had been involved, they had truly done a brilliant job and everybody was very proud of them. I was proud of them too.

 

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Between our main course and pudding we were introduced to the team, everyone who had been involved in the project. It was explained how quickly everything had come together and just how hard everyone involved had worked. The project started in December with Four Dwellings Academy taking part in many workshops and activities to come up with not only ideas for the book but really build up the students confidence. The culmination of this was Lion’s Lair on 5th March- which I have to say sounds absolutely epic! And for those of you that don’t see the subtle similarity, Lion’s Lair was probably a bit like Dragon’s Den but with much less scary people involved.

The Whizz Writers were named the winners that day and all their brilliant ideas found their way to the capable hands of BB Taylor who crafted them into this wonderful book.

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What I really love about this book is not only is it a brilliant story with themes taken directly from those incredible year 8 pupils, that one of the authors I love moulded it into the shape it now houses and that the brilliant Holly whipped up a storm of superb illustrations, it is a book made especially to raise money for a good cause AND aimed to be in the hands of as many year 6 pupils as possible. It is a talking point for any anxieties those pupils have about moving up to secondary school which is so important. This book is not just designed to be entertaining but to help pupils think about the changes they are experiencing and to ultimately cope better with any challenges they face. That’s a really beautiful thing.

We heard from Wendy Tabuteau, CEO of Partnership for Children and watched a video highlighting the importance of the work they do and how building good coping skills to anxieties can help you throughout your entire life.

Next came a delicious pudding, a deconstructed apple crumble I believe, which was divine! But enough about food!

 

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Lets talk about famous faces. There was a few in attendance at the launch dinner that I knew of, Ed James- disc jockey extraordinaire and journalist and fabulous chef and restauranteur Glynn Purnell. Both extremely nice gentlemen too.

Here I am at the end of the evening with Glynn.

During the evening they also hosted a series of auctions for absolutely amazing prizes and thankfully everyone dug deep to bid on them. It was entertaining and quite exciting to see a live auction with people ‘fighting’ over such spectacular prizes!

One of my absolute favourite prizes was the chance to dine in Glynn’s restaurant, i’m a big foodie so I thought this was the best prize for like minded folk. All the auction lots were snapped up, for very good prices I might add!

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I even got the chance to draw a special prize in the raffle! This winner was going to receive a personalised illustration from the talented Holly Bushnell! I wasn’t jealous at all…well, a little jealous sure!

Jessica Wilkes-Reading, CR Officer at Wesleyan got me up so that I could dig deep into the donation forms and choose a winner of this excellent prize. She also told everyone all about my reading challenge which was super cool!

I understand there was a conversation between Ed James and Glynn Purnell, with some ‘not for my ears’ anecdotes. Both my Mummy and Daddy found it very funny but I can honestly say by this time I was scribbling ideas down in my new notebook for my next book. I didn’t hear a thing. That’s my story and i’m sticking to it!

And that was it, that was the whole night re-capped for your entertainment and for my memory!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the Curse of the Nomed Book Launch Charity Dinner. And, because it has been a rather long post, here’s those important links again:

You can buy a copy of the book on Amazon here, Waterstones here, Foyles here or if you are a school, at Peter’s here. And if you’re not sold on buying a copy just yet, you can read my review of the book here. I know i’m hitting you with a lot of links but here’s another one for good measure, Partnership for Children. I will also be running a competition to win a copy on the blog too.

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The Curse of the Nomed by BB Taylor

Hello book fans and welcome to the Curse of the Nomed blog spot for the weekend! I’m so pleased to see you here ahead of the launch of the new book and i’m sure you’re eager to know just what’s going on in BB’s new book.

I’m here to give you all the goss.. well without spoiling the story of course!

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Curse of the Nomed began life as an idea by the ‘Whizz Writers’ of Four Dwellings School Birmingham as part of the ‘Look at our Book’ project by Wesleyan Financial Mutual Services and has been written to raise money for a charity called Partnership for Children which supports positive mental health in children across the world. I think we can all agree how incredibly important that charity is and all net proceeds of this book are being donated to the charity which is so wonderful and generous, although i wouldn’t expect anything less of BB Taylor and everyone involved.

You can come and support BB, and of course the charity on Thursday 24th May for the book launch from 6.30pm at Foyles in Birmingham.

You can also find out all about the project and how they are raising money plus awareness for Partnership for Children in regards to promoting positive mental health in children around the world at www.lookatourbook.co.uk.

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OK, OK that’s all the important official stuff let’s get to the goings on in Curse of the Nomed!!

Wrapped in adventure, peril and Egyptian mythology, Curse of the Nomed is the perfect story for fans of The Demon Head Master and Harry Potter alike. Along the same stem as Percy Jackson and with lashings of Librarian appreciation, BB Taylor encapsulates the insecurities of children starting their first day at a new school, never mind the Egyptian God hoping to enslave the students there. This is obviously a theme that came through from the Whizz Writers and BB captures this expertly!

Curse of the Nomed offers us burgeoning friendships between our three protagonists, that develop into deep, strong bonds that will stay with them throughout their next exciting adventure- high school!

Imprisonment, ancient rites, trials and a riddle or two, or three, Curse of the Nomed has excitement in spades!

 

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From what i am lead to believe starting secondary school is a pretty nerve wracking experience so imagine what it’s like not only embarking on their first day of school but also running late. Let me try that again… embarking on their first day of school, running late and stumbling upon something rather sinister going on in the assembly hall?! Scary right? You’re not wrong! That’s exactly what befalls Nora, Jacob and Stef on their first day at Nomed Academy.

A daring adventure ensues that sees our protagonist friends end up in the one place that i would be heading for- the school Library, which is the beginning of this epic tale. Of course the Librarian is incredibly important and useful to their new mission, aren’t they always? *We should probably look at investing in our libraries.*

Now they have to learn to trust each other, in themselves and that good always prevails over evil or else everyone at Nomed Academy is in deep, deep trouble.

Again, with some of BB’s other books Holly Bushnell’s illustrations are a delight, they really capture the story and are a pleasure to look at. They compliment the book nicely and are lots of fun.

A really fun book, for a superb cause. Really looking forward to seeing you all at the launch.

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Meeting Jeff Kinney at Bath Literature Festival

On the 3rd December this year, which actually feels like forever ago now, Jeff Kinney was in the UK to promote his new book The Getaway and of course i had to go!

This was my second experience of a Jeff Kinney event, last year it was held at Blackpool Tower which was really cool and you can read all about it here.

It was funny because the Blackpool Tower Ballroom is massive but it felt like a lot more people turned up to the Bath event, there were loads of us in there!

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The lovely Lindsey Russell presented the event which was really cool- she even took a selfie with the whole audience! That’s pretty impressive.

Jeff talked about his new book and showed us an incredible video of all the places that he has visited recently, there were a lot of them and every single one of them looked amazing! He’s been all over the world and he has fans in every corner of it too.

I loved how the event was put together, the way they used the idea of Greg’s family going away to create a really interactive experience.

Upon entry i was given my boarding pass to fly with Wimpy Kid Airways (admittance to the show) which was a superb idea, i felt connected to the book straight away. There were even luggage props and air plane security.

I didn’t manage to do all these things before the show mind you as the queue was extraordinary and i probably wouldn’t have seen them going in but the good thing about hanging around until everyone has left is getting the time to take everything in!

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The show was a great way to start the festive period, it was fun and entertaining, Jeff travels to so many places that the UK usually has one big annual event and it is well worth the trip, he is genuinely one of the nicest guys i have ever met!

He is truly very friendly and he always appears to appreciate his fans, he seems to really take his time with them which as his fans we all love. He was kind enough to sign my book and he’s the first author to sign my new WRD about books bag.

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Jeff was so nice in fact that he filmed a little interview with me. Yes, really! I was almost lost for words that he was so happy to do it, i thought i might have time to prepare and print up one of my cue cards but he was willing to let me interview him there and then, which when you think about it means a great deal to us fans because he has been none stop touring with his new book and had just spent the last few hours preparing for his talk on stage. If that’s not the nicest thing ever, i don’t know what is. What a legend!

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If you want to know what The Getaway is all about, hear the first news on what’s next for The Wimpy Kid series and just see what an absolute gent Jeff Kinney is, watch the interview below.

The Tales of Nibiru, volume one: Z.I.R.M launch party with BB Taylor

The very lovely BB Taylor invited me to join her for the launch party of her new book ‘Tales of Nibiru’ at the Write Blend bookstore in Liverpool on Saturday.

Daddy drove us up to Liverpool all the way from Coventry which sounds like an incredibly long journey but i wasn’t the one driving and i like to listen to CD’s in the car so actually it was quite peaceful, especially as the nights are drawing in and it’s getting darker sooner.

It was probably a long drive for him but he’s good people and he knew i was very excited to meet BB Taylor so i’m quite sure he didn’t mind!

Actually, he ended up fangirling over the book so he definitely didn’t mind!!

We spied the bookstore on the road and headed towards a nearby car park, this was where Mummy turned me from Megan to Catrina in honour of Día de Muertos which i’m learning about in History and Geography this week. I think she did quite a good job!

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Anyway, let me tell you all about BB Taylor.

She’s more than just a fabulous writer with great stories to tell, she’s also a really lovely person! BB greeted us when we arrived, she was really excited about revealing her new book and i was starstruck! It’s always lovely when you meet the people that you love reading the stories by but sometimes you forget to be your chatty self- thankfully i relaxed a bit as the night went on.

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There were lots of other guests arriving and BB Taylor made sure that she spoke to everyone that had come to see her introduce Z.I.R.M to the world.

For those of you that don’t know BB has written some lovely picture books, my favourite of which is Murphy and the Monsters- lucky for me a sequel recently came out, Murphy and the Monster’s Itch.

The new book, ‘Tales of Nibiru, volume one: Z.I.R.M’ offers us readers the chance to see zombies in a new light. Zombies are not the nightmarish creatures we’ve so often heard about. Instead they are overworked, violated and treated like second class citizens. Z.I.R.M or The Zombie International Rights Movement plot to change all that.

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Sounds intriguing doesn’t it?! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, even though i knew i was going to have to fight my Mummy for it!

Having followed BB Taylor for a while i knew that this event would not go without a piece of cake finding it’s way to my lips and my cake hungry stomach- she did not disappoint and the cake was delicious!

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It was so delicious in fact that i ended up having two, yes TWO slices! Let me just wipe off these crumbs.

BB treated us to a short extract from her book that sounded absolutely awesome, she’s a fantastic story teller and really captures your imagination. Suddenly we were off to a place called Nibiru and then to Yomi!

I bought my copy of the book as soon as i could with the sequel to Murphy and the Monsters as i hadn’t gotten that one yet. I had a quick peek at the back because i was interested to know what kind of monster Murphy was helping in this book- it’s a Werewolf by the way. Eeeek!

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It was a lovely night and meeting BB was a real pleasure. If you’ve never been to Write Blend, it’s a great little independent bookstore where they serve food and drink upstairs. I found a whole bunch of books i’ve never seen before in high street book shops so i was in book heaven!

I delved into Murphy and the Monster’s Itch as soon as i could, it was nice to find out what Murphy is up to at the moment. As you will know, in the first book he helps a Yeti called Yoshi who just happened to pop by during the launch. He’s a cheeky thing, a little bit mischievous but very funny! I can see why children love meeting him at Libraries. He’s much softer than you think but be warned if you have a photo with him- he likes to have all the limelight and in all fairness, why wouldn’t he? He’s a Yeti!

Back to ‘Tales of Nibiru’, i was the last to read the book! Can you believe that? Mummy read it first in the car of all places, she’s a really weird reader! Then Daddy read it as soon as she had finished- how rude! Finally i got to travel to Nibiru where i met a whole host of new and unusual characters but you’ll have to wait for my review i’m afraid if you want to find out all about them. We’re doing our first ever family review of a book so keep your eyes peeled!

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I took along the book that i had written earlier in the year, The Sandman and the Pyjama Farmer for BB to have a read of. She read it out to all her guests! How amazing is that?! She really enjoyed it too, thank goodness and didn’t stumble over any of my wordy rhymes- i can’t help it, i’m a Dr Seuss fan! I love a bit of a tongue twister and saying the Pyjama Farmer’s Farm is definitely that.

I’m looking forward to BB doing some more of her Library tours, i hope i can get my Library to feature one of her events- my book club would love it!

We’ll be talking more BB Taylor next week when i review both Murphy and the Monsters & Murphy and the Monster’s Itch. Keep checking back.

Afternoon Tea with Peter Bunzl

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I was lucky enough to win the best and most amazing prize through Authorfy, an afternoon tea with absolutely awesome author Peter Bunzl! The brain behind the books Cogheart and Moonlocket.

I have been super excited about this event as i’ve been thoroughly enjoying reading Cogheart, we’ve all been fighting over it in our house- Daddy was the first to get his paws on the book and swiftly moved on to the sequel which meant he was itching to have book chat with us, i was next to fall in love with Cogheart and Mummy is still waiting to read it (she’s not too happy about being last!)

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I was offered to bring some friends along to meet Peter so i called upon the best of my bookish friends to come on this mini adventure.

We are all 9 years old and before i was home educated we all went to the same school. Katie comes with me to book club and thankfully likes to take as many books out as i do! Ruby is currently taking on The Summer Reading Challenge, she frequents the library too so i knew that they would provide me with good company.

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We all live in Coventry which was a drive to our super secret (not so secret) destination but the drive provided us with plenty of time to catch up and play a few car games.

It was quite a nice day outside so we had our windows down and lots of music on, although Mummy was perplexed that my friends didn’t know who Steps were despite their recent revival- she treated us to (apparently) such classics as Tragedy, One for Sorrow and 5, 6, 7, 8.

We arrived in plenty of time and i was bubbling with excitement although if i’m honest my Daddy was equally as excited as i was!

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We enjoyed being right on the water and being able to see the boats- it was very relaxing! A great choice for afternoon tea with an amazing author.

Usborne had sent some great bits over for the event like themed bookmarks and bunting but it was the Moonlocket cakes that stole the show! Just look at how cool they are. I actually think it was Authorfy who put these together- aren’t they talented?

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Thank you so much to Mel and Emily for all your hard work organising the afternoon tea and setting everything up with Peter. You were so friendly and welcoming and very easy to talk to. If you haven’t heard about Authorfy i’ve linked the website in at the beginning of this blog, so please go and check them out.

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How cool does our table look? If you’re wondering, those are Cogheart themed pencils and erasers… oh yeah and that’s Malkin heading up the table like a boss!

My Daddy had his eyes on him the moment he came upstairs!

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Peter was really nice. He was very friendly and fun to talk to.

It was great to meet him and find out how he became an author.

Peter explained that he had become an animator first before finding his way into writing. His mother was an artist and she had provided him with a lot of inspiration. She was a costume designer for Postman Pat- the real one not the one we have now. And Peter often accompanied her there so he grew up around the creative process, witnessing something made entirely from scratch. For those that don’t know Postman Pat is created using stop frame animation so making the characters  move on screen takes a great deal of time! Not to mention maintenance of the puppets! Eyes, mouths, hands and clothes! Plus scenes and anything else that needs to feature on screen.

Peter was literally brought up with a creative outlook on the world and it definitely spilled over! He is clearly no stranger to hard work and patience, animations take a lot of time and skill, traits that he’s absolutely transferred to writing.

We talked to Peter about his books, his personal favourite of all his characters is Malkin and i totally get why! That Fox is awesome; he’s independent, protective and despite his mechanical disposition behaves like he is a real animal. Especially when it comes to chewing on things!

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While we were enjoying our delicious afternoon tea and by that i mean, while we were enjoying our cake, The Wizard of Oz was projected on the wall behind us- ironically this is one of Peter’s favourite films! The man has good taste! I love The Wizard of Oz too.

Peter asked the group if they’d read his books, most people were just starting to read them while i was on chapter 16 and things were getting interesting! He asked me if i was enjoying it, which i was immensely.

Mia, one of the girls who accompanied the event asked Peter what his favourite of his books was and he told us that choosing would be like asking a mother to pick her favourite child- in other words something that you simply couldn’t choose one way or the other. It was a diplomatic answer and i think the most appropriate one he would give. Well played Peter!

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Being a book lover himself, Peter didn’t just ask us what we thought of his books, he was interested to know what other books we enjoyed and what our all time favourite book was. As a child who grew up in a house made of books (not literally but almost literally), reading from an early age i have always enjoyed Matilda. I liked the idea of a character who was just like me, minus the horrible parents of course! Oh and i can’t move things with the power of my mind- a little bit disappointed by that actually.

Peter was a huge tease, he had a copy of the next instalment of the series with him. It was like knowing there was ice cream in the freezer and not being able to open the door! But it was exciting to be in the presence of Peter’s amazing world and the next part of the story. Right now it looks like Cogheart and Moonlocket will be joined by another book making a trilogy but who knows if Peter finds more to say…

It was a great afternoon, filled with book love and lots of cake!

If you would like to find out more about Peter Bunzl, please visit his website here.

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Oh and if you’re wondering what happened to Malkin… he came home with me.

Lonely Planet Kids Moana Writing Competition

Lonely Planet Kids recently ran a writing competition inspired by Disney’s new film Moana. The theme was ADVENTURE!

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I wrote about the first time i went on a rock climbing wall and i’m really pleased to say i was named a runner up. 🙂

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Read my runner up entry below:
My Rocky Road by Megan Grace Nicholson

I felt my foot slip off a rock. I’m so scared i might fall but i keep trying. I reach for the next one and put one foot firmly against the rock face as i heave myself up. I’m a bit higher now but i dare not look down.

As i climb, i could feel the whole rope shake.

“This is ridiculous.” I think to myself, “I’m never going to make it to the top.”

My breath is heavy now and i can feel sweat dripping down my forehead. Both my arms and legs are working in unison. There are only a few rocks left now.

Suddenly everything starts to ache. I keep pushing myself despite the pain.

As i finally reach the top, i pull myself up and over the edge. I sit down with defiance. I press the buzzer and cry out “I made it!”

I glance down to the foot of the rock climbing wall. I can see Mummy and Daddy’s smiling faces before pushing off the wall and sailing down. I feel weightless as if i’m floating in the air.

My whole body is tingling with excitement. What a crazy adventure!