Author Visits

  • A Spooky Spanish Tale (Moraira)

    It doesn’t matter where you go a picture paints a thousand words – in any language.

  • A visit to a Library

    Reading is important and having lots of books to experience can enrich a child’s learning. For an author, it can be very special to meet and to share books with children. It is always great to be able to answer questions and to inspire them in their reading and their writing.

  • Aladdin's Book Cave

    The old Tudor House in the High Street of East Grinstead is a haven for book lovers.

  • An Unexpected Author Visit

    During a recent weeks visit to a school with Year 6, I was able to fill a few gaps with snippets of information about buses, books and rain-sticks. This got the children’s attention and they asked questions and listen to my tales.

  • Author and story-telling visits

    Author visitAuthor and story-telling visits

    “Meeting an author, illustrator, poet or storyteller in real life and hearing them convey their passion for their work can fundamentally alter a child or young person's relationship to books and ignite a life-long love of reading. An author visit can contribute to the recommendations in the 'Moving English Forward' OFSTED report. This encourages schools to develop policies to promote reading for enjoyment."

    (Prices on request.)

    School Author Visits Author Visits

    Sue offers author visits, storytelling, and creative workshops. Author visits encourage reading and writing for pleasure and help to encourage children to have aspirations whether as future readers, writers, illustrators, librarians or editors. Enthusing the children with her love of words, books and writing,

    The sessions can be adapted to suit the needs of the age group. (ages 3 -8)

    World Book DayThe sessions can cover

    • How she became an author
    • Her writing processes from Fact to Fiction.
    • Book readings
    • Question and Answer

    Children are able to buy their own signed copy of any of her books on request.

    A scheme of work, together with worksheet ideas to support the books, is also available on request.

    Patron of Reading

    Design a bus workshop

    Badge making workshop Events and Fairs

    Author Visit Testimonials


  • Author Visit Testimonials

    It's always great to hear the comments from author visits:

    Redhill Library, (November 2018)

    LibraryWhenever you visit us here at Redhill Library you make the building buzz and it transforms the place. We have had 'grown ups' our regulars that have pasted positive comments such as 'lovely to see the children so engaged' and ' I sneaked a look into the Children's Library to see what was going on and saw drawing, talking and lots of happy faces'.

    It's worth all the hard work in organising such events just to see our Library being used as a Library: lots of children firstly being spellbound by a 'real' author and then to be given an opportunity to spend time talking with an author, it makes for a special time to remember and believe me children do remember such times.

    It also gives the children time to browse our wonderful shelves that are packed with volumes of pure imagination; a place to explore or a new experience to feel or even to make an enlightening discovery that might make for great content in a project piece for school.Redhill Library

    There have been many occasions when speaking with teaching staff that they have expressed their thanks when we have class visits to our Library, it offers another tangent and teaching resource and shows local partnerships for the good of our community, without which families would not know what a terrific place of information their local Library is.

    Southgate School author visitBut really, to have authors that avail themselves to a Library Service and the public beyond is a wonderful experience for everyone, and as for reading there is a saying: ' You're never alone when you're reading a book'.

    So, thank heavens for authors and Libraries as they make the world a far less lonely and hostile place.

    Tina Campey LDC

    Redhill Library, (November 2017)

    Just wanted to thank you for your lovely visit to us today, it all went very well indeed.Redhill

    'Your visit goes to show that when we engage with these young readers they soak up much more than we imagine.

    One of the most important things and an utter joy for the children to experience, is that they have met the person that wrote a book that they have enjoyed. My observations are that children take on an ownership of an author that they have met personally; it's very special indeed and the author is their new best friend.

    Author visit to SpainSo, Sue, since your visit you have gained 120 new best friends and there can be no greater thing, as it propels the love of reading and adventures and confidence will dually follow.

    Your books are out virtually all the time and on checking their status today, all of Redhill's six copies are on Junior Library cards with two reservations outstanding on them.

    Tina Campey LDC,

    Redhill Library, School visit Surrey

    St.Matthew’s Primary

    The visit was calm and welcoming. The author was ready and it was good to hear an author talk about their stories.

    Lynn Caswell (Yr 2 -59 pupils)

    We really enjoyed the time looking at books and doing an activity linked to the session. The author was great she was engaging for the children. We enjoyed it very much especially the author talk and story.

    Megan Gizzi (Year 1 – 51 pupils)

    The adults enjoyed hearing about the bus too. Balcombe author visit

    Mr Skuse (Year 1)


    St. Peter’s C of E, Ardingly (February/2018)

     Amberley green bus visitThe children enjoyed ‘A Spooky Tale’ book and getting involved in the story.

    Class teacher Reception class

    I loved your passion for the playbus and could see that your beautiful books have been drawn from a rich experience of providing a great location for children to play. The stories you tell of the bus are captivating and pull you in quickly.

    Phoebe Mohamad (Red Ink Publishing)


    National Playbus Association

    Sue, thanks for keeping the Playbus dream alive! X

    Tim Hayward-Smith

    EHCPA Ex. Playbus Chair BOD


    School visit, St. Matthews Primary School. (March/2018)


    Thank you for coming to spend the afternoon with our writers! The children very much enjoyed the experience and couldn't wait to take their designs and writing home to show their parents at the end of the day. East Grindstead

    Aime Powell,


    St. John’s C of E Primary School, (March/2018)


    Thank you so much for such a wonderful day with us. The children were really inspired by your stories, fascinating take on local history and loved the fact that they see you teaching in school with us. They would love you to come back next Book Week again. Staff were all very impressed with your enthusiasm. 

    Jacky Fyson (Deputy Head))


    St.John’s C of E School, (November/2017)

    Caterham, Surrey.

    Library with 11 books “Sue’s extensive experience in teaching means that as a children’s author she provides a positive reading experience which engages the children she works with.”  

    Jill Webber, Reading Lead


    St. Peter’s C.E Primary School, (Feb 2018)


    Sue Wickstead, author of ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, shared her journey as an author in worship, followed by reading her books and answering questions for children from reception to year4. The children were fascinated to learn that ‘Jay-Jay’ was inspired by her work with a children’s charity, a ‘Playbus’. Books to East Grinstead

    Author and story-telling Visits

    Design a bus workshop

    Badge Making

    Events and Fairs

    Patron of reading

    To find out more exciting book news why not sign up for the monthly newsletter?

  • Author Visits

  • Badge making

    What badge would you make?

    Children always love the excitement of making their own unique badge. Badges

    This is a popular activity at school fairs and events.

    Badge MakingThe children are able to: -

    • design their own badge
    • colour a pre-designed badge
    • make it themselves.

    I have made so many badges ove the years for many events including : comic relief; children in need; birthdays ; book events.

      How to make a badge video

    Author and story telling visits

    Design a bus workshop

    Events and Fairs

    Patron of reading

    Author Testimonials

    To find out more exciting book news why not sign up for the monthly newsletter?

  • Balcombe School Visit

    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’.

  • Book Signing

    Book signing events have been set up at both K2 and Squires Garden Centre in Crawley. Both venues were happy to support the book as a local project.

  • Book week school visit

    St Francis of Assissi Southgate Crawley. 23rd 24th October.

    In my capacity as a supply teacher I had been booked by a local school to teach in year 3. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the school was celebrating a book week and had visitors and events going on all week.

  • Books in Schools

    'Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus', visits schools!

  • Breaking News on Sky News HD

    Sue Wickstead Reporting from the O2 on Sky News HD.
    Jay-Jay the supersonic bus told in a childrens's picture story book has finally been release and is driving off the shelves.

    Where to get my books

    Books are available from the following:   My Books

    Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.com     Waterstones    

    Barnes&Noble    Foyles (amongst others)

    Don't forget to look and ask in your local Museum, book shop or even buy on your Sainsburys on line shop!

  • Design-a-bus workshop

    Design a bright and colourful bus

    Everyone loves to draw a bus, but how can you make your bus stand out differently?

    With a powerpoint full of examples of colourful buses children are invited to design their own version.

    they are given a 2D or 3D template to use. they are also encouraged to draw and label their own 2D bus idea.

    A Playbus is bright, colourful and certainly different.

  • Free Books for Schools

    I always leave a free book in every school I visit as a Supply Teacher.

  • Gingerbread Cottage

    Gingerbread Cottage

    ‘Surely it is me who should say thank you for being rescued and being able to meet so many different children.’

  • How do you make a Lego Playbus?

    Lego Bus Parade

    A Carnival parade of bright and colourful Lego Playbus.

  • Kenningtons School Author Visit (Essex)

    After several months of planning and preparation the author booking came along, Kennington Primary Academy. Mr Newland, the teacher organising the event, had been busy with lots of teacher things too, such as OFSTED, Moderation and planning. I am sure the event had been tricky to sort out but finally the day was here.

  • Lockdown author - How did it change?

    Rainbow bus

    World book day this year was certainly very different.

  • Patron of Reading

    POR seal 800x800 black

    Patron of Reading

    What is a Patron of Reading?

    The primary goal of the patron is to promote reading for pleasure, to encourage, inspire and develop a love of books, words and stories.

    A Patron of Reading is an author, poet, storyteller or illustrator who works closely with a school over a period of time. Everything the patron does is related to helping encourage and develop a reading for pleasure culture in the school: storytelling sessions, book quizzes, blogs, book recommendations, discussions, writing workshops, drama workshops, poetry bashes, blogs, book trailers and visits. The possibilities are virtually endless. The tenure can last from 1 - 3 years. First mooted by head teacher Tim Redgrave, the idea has now spread to almost 200 schools across the British Isles.

    What can a Patron of Reading offer?

    A few examples of Patron of Reading ideas and suggestions as well as a few ideas related to myself and my books: Books Fact

    Boys ReadingThe event/booking can focus on all or any of the books individually.

    • An introduction author visit;
      • The background to the story books and the real Playbus.
      • Book reading
      • Question and answer session.
    • Visits to the school over the course of the academic year.
    • These visits could include read aloud sessions, storytelling sessions or other activities. (Bus design workshop both 2D and 3D; badgemaking)
    • Send a newsletter once per term.
    • Donate copies of books to the school library.Reading Gloria
    • Work with specific groups to encourage reading.
    • Champion Reading challenges and present awards/certificates for such activities.
    • Tweet, blog and Facebook about the visits to the schools.
    • Recommend books for specific topics/themes.
    • Ask children and staff for their book recommendations.
    • Attend school events.
    • Encourage reading for pleasure across the school.

    I have undertaken many author visits and have found that the children are often inspired to read and write following the visit. Most of all children like knowing the author is real and that they can speak to them in person.

    Reading Sparky the Dragon BusAlthough a one-off author visit is great it is good to develop a relationship with a school staff, pupils and parents.


    Sue Wickstead - Patron of Reading .

    Sue Wickstead is a trained teacher and has written eight children’s story books to date. The books have all received 5-star awards from ‘Readers Favourite’.

    She was initially involved in a playbus charity and left full time teaching to write the photographic history book about the playbus itself. This led to many questions from the children that she met asking what the playbus did and how was it different to any other ordinary bus. Tom, alexander and Barty

    From here Sue began telling stories and eventually the fictional tale was written. JJK261 was the real bus and gave the bus the name Jay-Jay.

    Sue has written three other adventures for Jay-Jay as well as a Spooky Tale for younger readers. Sue has visited many schools across Sussex and Surrey, both as a cover teacher as well as an author.

    Reading Barty BartonThe children love knowing where the inspiration for the stories come from and are fascinated to hear both the factual and fictional background to her writing.  She would love to share her enthusiasm and become a patron in Sussex or Surrey.

    Sue has now published eleven children's story books.

    Author and story Telling Events

    Design a bus workshop

    Badge Making

    Events and Fairs

    Author Testimonials

    To find out more exciting book news why not sign up for the monthly newsletter?