Teachers and Librarians
Talks and Presentations
Each year I visit lots of schools, colleges and libraries.
You can get an idea of how it works from the pictures in the Visits Gallery.
I offer 3 sessions or a combination –
Presentation 1 – ‘Join in with Julia’ –
Presentation 2 – ‘How a Book is Made’
Presentation 3 – ‘Tell Me,’ in which I launch a discussion about my work.
For more details, including prices or to book a visit, please get in touch using the form at the bottom of the page.
Presentation 1 – Join in with Julia!
Based on my picture books, this is a fun-packed session with noisy active bits and quiet interludes.
Children listen to stories, study the illustrations, join in with the repetitive rhymes, sing songs, pretend to be pirates or pandas and stroke cuddly characters.
Aural and oral, visual and tactile, it is great for developing listening and language skills.
Picture books include those illustrated by Adrian Reynolds.
Big Red Bath, Big Blue Train, Big Yellow Digger and Big Bouncy Bed.
Picture books Illustrated by Lynne Chapman.
Class Two at the Zoo, Class Three All At Sea, Kangaroo’s Cancan Cafe, Bears on the Stairs, Jungle Grumble
Illustrated by Susan Varley.
Two Shy Pandas
Presentation 2 – How A Book is Made
– From Brainwave to Book
This presentation can be short and simple for younger children or longer and in depth for older pupils.
All school-children know what a book is.
Most children know that someone sits down, picks up a pen or presses a keyboard, and writes it. But some don’t!
If they do, they often think that writers are unusual people, not like them at all.
They’re extraordinarily clever people who conjure up stories, write them rapidly and become millionaires!
Children think they can’t do it, because they’re not clever enough. I try to convince them that they can write stories!
I try to demystify the process, conveying its excitement, but also the effort that goes into it.
I take them through the process from idea to book, concentrating on my role as a writer, but acknowledging the work of the book creation team. I show as much as tell, bringing drafts, background materials, proofs etc.
I relate what I say to one or more of my books.
1. IDEAS – Brain waves – where they come from: real life, other books, imagination.
I share with them my Writing Recipe:
Take some real life. Add some what if?
2. PLAN – if you can.
You can also ‘grow’ stories but need to be aware of story structure.
I will share my Story Mountain,
Remember: Beginning. Middle. End.
3. WRITE – once, twice, three times, more?
DRAFTS – I show them mine!
Making mistakes – I show them mine!
4. Making it better – how?
i) READ IT THROUGH aloud if possible.
– get someone to read your script.
This can be a friend, a family member or a teacher.
The writer’s job is to get the story in your head into a reader’s head.
The co-editor’s job is to show you where you’ve succeeded and where you haven’t.
Questions to ask your co-editor:
-WHAT happens? What is my PLOT?)
WHERE does it happen? What is my SETTING?
WHO does it happen to? CHARACTERS?
If your reader can’t answer these questions you must make things clearer.
5. Sent To Editor.
I do some self-editing as I write and re-write drafts. I often share work with a trusted friend and we co-edit. I then give my work to an EDITOR, who edits even more, commenting on my work and usually asking for improvements/changes.
I show an edited script.
(Pupils give their work to a TEACHER. I relate the roles of teacher and editor. I often have to do my work again!)
6. Proof Reading.
When the editor approves and accepts my script s/he gets it typeset and returns the proofs to me for checking.
I have to read through very carefully looking and correcting the printer’s mistakes!
This is also my last chance to make changes so I think very carefully about the words I’ve chosen.
The editor may send me a second set of proofs for re-checking.
7. A BOOK AT LAST!
Presentation 3 – ‘Tell Me…’
NB. Children do need to know at least one of my books quite well. They need to have read one or, at least, listened to being read.
I ask children to tell me :
1. What they liked about the book
2. What they hated about the book
3. What puzzled them about the book
4. What the book made them think about*
*For example, did the book have any connections with their own life?
Did it take them away from their own life into another world? Did any of the characters remind them of real people?
Children can ask me:
…anything about the book and my writing life.
This is a chance for children to talk back and question me. It allows me to go into greater depth about the writing process and the content of my stories.
(Questions about my personal life aren’t out of bounds as I work from home and have been inspired by my family.)
The aim is a discussion in which we all gain greater understanding and greater enjoyment.
No more than one class at a time for this please, as I would like everyone to contribute.
Book a Visit
Please leave your details if you would like to book a visit to your school or library. I’ll be in touch to arrange the details.