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Author balcombe

Friday 5th December Balcombe Primary School

‘Sue Wickstead has been a regular supply teacher at Balcombe over the years. The children have enjoyed sharing her ideas for her children’s stories and learning about the process of writing a book. Sue has now very excitedly published her children’s story book ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, she visited the classes to show her book and talk about her experiences of writing and publishing it’.

When visiting a school on supply I have always been ready with stories to read or tales to tell in order to engage the children. The stories have been about buses; musical instruments and rainsticks; Lego; badge making as well as book writing.

spring with bewbush bookAfter publishing my first book ‘Bewbush Playbus’ I was able to say, “Do you remember me telling you I was writing a book? Well here it is. But it is not a book I can read to you as it is an information book. I can show you the photographs and tell you about them.”

Balcombe was one of those schools who I had managed to visit on more than one occasion and they listened with interest. Even though they never knew the bus they asked lots of questions. Following this, a copy of the book was given to the school; the children told me how the book was in their library.

On a more recent visit, just before home time I was able to show the class, I had been teaching, the finished illustrated book saying I would not read it as they had already heard it.

I was surprised when the children told me they had never heard the story and I realised that it was because this had been told as a verbal account of the bus. So it seemed like a good idea to offer to come into the school to read the book to the classes.

As a result an author visit was arranged giving me the opportunity to share the book and to answer questions about the publishing process.

coombe classI was able to visit each year group from Reception to Year 6 and was able to change and modify the information to suit the age group.

In Year 6 the children heard how the book came about and were told and shown manuscripts regarding the process involved getting the book into print.

The children in Year 4/5, had met me in reception and this class wanted to know as much about the original bus as they did about the new story book. They were fascinated and I realised this was why I had written story. It was the fictional tale to match the factual bus.

The afternoon visits involved reading the book to the class as well as to answer questions.

All in all the day was a success and the classes listened with interest. There were still lots of questions to answer but most of all it was a chance for me to try out and to experience being viewed as an author and to know what sort of things each year group wanted to know.

In answer to one of the questions:-

buckingham palace“Did Jay-Jay really visit Buckingham Palace?”

I was able to say, “No, but we did get an award on behalf of the Queen.”

I was also able to show our “Silver Jubilee” plaque.

plaqueAs the original project had been started with funds from the Queens Silver Jubilee a book was also sent to the Queen and did receive a letter of thanks.

So this year I also sent a copy of the fictional story book!

I would like to think that maybe baby George might have it read to him sometime.

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