|One of the best compliments I've ever received after a school visit!|
|Also loved this one saying that my Powerpoint was "well finished".|
|A few of the children's authors and ChipLitFest organisers: (Front) Jo Cotterill, Tamsyn Murray, Cas Lester, teacher Millie Weaver. (Back row) Bali Rai, Adam Guillain, Charlotte Guillain, Candy Gourlay, John Dougherty, Chiplitfest blogger Phoebe and SF Said.|
I've been meeting plenty of my lovely young readers these past few months (as in: doing a lot of school visits). Boy, I had no idea that school visits are such a huge part of the job.
|National Union of Teachers'|
Reading 4 Pleasure pamphlet
But let's be clear: the benefits are not just for the child reader but for the author as well. Because ...
I get ENORMOUS pleasure out of meeting young readers.
You see, one of the reasons I'm a writer for children is because ... I like them. A lot.
My favourite school visits are the ones in which I get some time to just hang out with young people - over lunch or just chatting in the library.
Now I really, really wish I could share some of the fabulous photos I've got of children I've had the privilege to meet but usually I cannot put photos of children on my blog because schools here in the UK have strict rules about photo permissions.
As a result, I have to resort to these work-arounds:
1. Posing with the teachers and librarians instead of the children ...
|With my fabulous librarian hosts (left to right) Annette, Priti and Lauren of East Barnet School (author pals, if you want a great author visit experience, you need look no further than East Barnet School)|
2. Taking photos of the backs of the children's heads
|My very appreciative audience at East Barnet School|
|The children of Wheeler's Lane Primary School in Birmingham show off their work while keeping their identities secret. Thanks to their teacher Simon Haskew for suggesting a photo session and then taking the shot!|
4. Posting artwork the children have created about my books
5. Posing with the bookseller or any other adults available
|Posing with Jaffe and Neal bookseller Ed and Chiplitfest volunteer Jenny, who accompanied me everywhere|
Enjoyed wonderful Liverpudlian hospitality yesterday! Thank you @ESLAOFFICIAL @Lit_liverbird @sdowdtrust pic.twitter.com/clvffP2f0P— Candy Gourlay (@candygourlay) October 16, 2015
Here I am with fabulous @candygourlay at @LintonBookfest today (thanks for the great pic, @pushkasmarbles) pic.twitter.com/2f51wdGtYR— Gill Fraser Lee (@AHappyFlower) May 22, 2016
6. Taking photos of interesting things in the school
|I LOVE this beautiful display made by librarian Amparo at the library of Ashmole Academy in North London|
7. Taking photos of authors misbehaving
|Author Kathryn Evans (More of Me) masquerading as Jeff Norton (Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie) at the Chichester Lit Quiz|
Visiting #QEBoysSchool today! This is a job for Superman socks! #WBD2016 #worldbookday #schoolvisits #kidlit pic.twitter.com/3osvZDeKZV— Candy Gourlay (@candygourlay) March 8, 2016
Today! The #PortsmouthLiteraryQuiz this is a job for SPIDEY SOCKS! With @thejeffnorton Ali Sparkes @JamieTgamebooks pic.twitter.com/Uc7klli7qx— Candy Gourlay (@candygourlay) January 28, 2016
Today is a day for SUPER SOCKS! Visiting Ormiston Bushfield School in Peterborough with @PopUpFestival @SaulArgent pic.twitter.com/icYqNEkM4c— Candy Gourlay (@candygourlay) January 21, 2016
Tonight at the Guardian Children's Book Prize I'm wearing Capt America Minions. @GdnChildrensBks Good luck, all! pic.twitter.com/Dxh7Br9IyT— Candy Gourlay (@candygourlay) November 19, 2015
(The photos above make it look like I change my socks more than I change outfits!)
9. Posing with stuffed animals
|With the Library Cats of Linton Village College at the Linton Children's Book Festival in Cambridge. Photo by librarian Ruth Keys|
10. Asking people to tag me when they take pics of me with their children
George reckons @candygourlay gave the most inspiring talk ever @LintonBookfest !! pic.twitter.com/FupcCwCmbf— Sally Hamerton (@HamertonSally) May 22, 2016
Of course, I absolutely understand the need to be careful about publishing children's photos and I do my best to talk to the schools about photo permissions and carefully follow the rules about what can and cannot be published on my blog.
The rules are not the same in other countries of course. So once in a while, when I'm speaking in schools abroad, the rules do permit me to post photos of my young audiences.
AND THEN THIS HAPPENS!
|Going wild with Grade 4s and 5s of GEMS New Millennium International School in Dubai earlier this May.|
Thank you to all you schools, festivals, teachers, librarians and teachers I've visited so far this year. You are the reason why I love my job.