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.

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 ┬ámove 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.

Interviewing illustrator Ashley King

Recently i have been filming vlogs and i was not only lucky enough to meet illustrator Ashley King but also interview him for one of these vlogs.

Ashley is the illustrator of The Bookshop Girl and Erica’s Elephant. He studied at Coventry University and he is probably one of the nicest, genuinely, nicest people you could ever talk to. He also knows a thing or two about other books so he’s awesome to chat to.

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Ashley is a superb illustrator, his whimsical but heart felt images are beautiful and a real gem in any book! I look forward to following a long career in children’s book illustration.

You can find the vlog of our meeting below:

Thank you to Ashley King and Waterstone’s Coventry for letting me film this vlog.

The Honesty Library

I visited West Orchards Shopping Centre today with my Mummy and Grandma- here i am enjoying the Honesty Library.

For those that don’t know, an Honesty Library is some where you can donate books to, exchange old books for new books or leave a donation to take a book. I think it’s a fantastic idea and i love that there is one currently in my city.

Not only do parents get to teach their children about being honest- you can only take a book (or you should only take a book) if you have donated another book or money for their charity- this one is for Zoe’s Place. As well as showing them that charity begins at home. They also get to show them a whole heap of cool books that people and places have offered for the Honesty Library.

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I donated some books i have duplicates of and emptied out my piggy bank.

While i was there The Book Master interviewed me to find out what my favourite book was- i know right, how do i answer that question!? He’s there to offer advice to children on what kind of books they might like to take home. The Book Master was super nice and we talked for ages- i’m sure by now you all know that i could talk about books for hours!

Blue Peter

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Never have i been more surprised than finding Lindsey Russell of Blue Peter at my local library!

Mummy and Daddy had told me that my library wanted me to film a short video about my book challenge and why people should visit the library, i was super excited to share my story and i love encouraging people to use the library- it’s a place i go to every day!

Mummy asked me to put on something nice so i chose my favourite warm jumper and my best boots! I also chose to wear my favourite necklace- it’s a scrabble letter ‘M’.

When we arrived someone i didn’t know came out to talk to my parents, it was very hush hush and i didn’t know what was going on. The same person put a pack on my side and wire for a mic- i’ve never one one of those before!

As i walked into the library, i was manoeuvred to the children’s area where Lindsey was waiting for me!! I was so shocked i could barely speak. The most i seemed to get out was ‘yeah’!

I love Lindsey, she’s so cool and i have to admit i was completely star struck!

She asked me questions about my challenge and why i’d decided to do, how long it took me and what kinds of books i liked to read. She then asked me what i planned to do next and obviously i told her all about the book i was writing. She asked if it would take me another 10 months and i said i thought i would do it in less time than that!

Lindsey was really friendly and so were the camera crew, we chatted for ages and took lots of photographs. It was lots of fun and Lindsey invited me to go back on Blue Peter when i finished my book!

Best of all i earned my first Blue Peter badge!

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