National Non-Fiction November

So, how have you celebrated National Non-Fiction November this year? I’ve had two highlights. The first was being featured as the interview of the month by Book Events for Children. The second was spending a day at Driffield Junior School, where the theme of my visit was ‘Inventions’.

You may not realise it, but many of our most important inventions have been inspired by minibeasts. So I started my Driffield visit with a special Buzzing! show to introduce the whole school to some of these inventions. From paper to robots, minibeasts have shown us the way!

Year 6 is studying inventions and inventors at the moment, and I spent the rest of the day working with four Year 6 classes to bring poetry to that topic. We performed some of my inventing-inspired poetry together, then the pupils went on to create some fabulous invention-inspired poems of their own.

I’m hoping to be able to show you some of their poems soon. In the meantime you can read some of the teachers’ feedback here.

Was it a worthwhile visit? Well, Year 6 teacher Helen Mudd wrote to me afterwards that:

‘It really got the children fired up about writing poetry … All the children really loved meeting you and have produced some brilliant work … One boy upon entering school the next day said:

“Are we writing poetry again today? YYEEEEESSSSS!!!” ‘

I was particularly moved when I heard that one of the boys in their nurture unit had asked to read some poetry books the day after my visit, in preference to the other activities on offer.

I had a great day at Driffield Junior School, welcomed warmly by staff and (very polite, creative, enthusiastic and well-behaved) pupils alike. Thank you to one and all.

If you’d like to get Buzzing! inventive at your school, then just get in touch with me or with Book Events for Schools!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

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Journal of Biological Education

I returned from my summer putting on poetry workshops and Rhyme Time Rambles at RHS Harlow Carr to discover that the Journal of Biological Education had given my Buzzing! book a 5-star rating – twice over! Five stars for ‘Usefulness to student (primary)’, and another five stars for ‘Usefulness to teacher (or parent!) (primary)’. What a lovely welcome home surprise.

‘This is a book that will certainly deliver in terms of educating younger children about invertebrates. A really nice combination of the whimsical with the scientific – surely what we would want when trying to get our very youngest interested in the natural world’ writes the reviewer, Peter Anderson. Which is great, as that’s just what I was aiming to create.

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean, nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean

He concludes that Buzzing! is ‘highly recommended for primary school shelves and, indeed, for parents of younger children. It is certainly a book for making learning fun – a great little book!’

You can read the review in full here.

And if you so desire, you can read other reviews of Buzzing! by clicking here and scrolling through the posts.

To find out more about my Buzzing! book, and read some sample pages, click here.

And to buy your signed copies of Buzzing!, click here.

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

All the fun of the Insect Festival!

Well, my Insect Festival 2013 began on Saturday morning at the Radio York studios where I was reviewing the papers and also assisting Festival organiser Luke Tilley tell listeners about the insect joys in store. Luke chose to do this by bringing in crickets for us all to sample. I say ‘us  all’. In fact, I chickened out. Or rather, cricketted out. But here are BBC presenter Julia Booth and her production assistant Jack gallantly tucking in to grilled (or were they baked?)  crickets in a cajun sauce:

BBC Radio York presenter Julia Booth with assistant Jack eating crickets in cajun sauce!

BBC Radio York presenter Julia Booth with assistant Jack eating crickets in cajun sauce!

The Insect Festival itself was the next day, a blistering hot Sunday, in the Museum Gardens in York. And it was teeming with people of all ages.

I was signing copies of my Buzzing! book on the Brambleby Books stand …

Signing copies of my Buzzing! book at the Brambleby Books stand at the Insect Festival, York, 7 July  2013

Signing copies of my Buzzing! book at the Brambleby Books stand at the Insect Festival, York, 7 July 2013 (Photo by Christina Surdhar)

… and had the pleasure of meeting all sorts of interesting people:

At the other end of the Brambleby Books stand was the very talented Mike Barfield, signing copies of his wonderful book SWAT! How he survived the heat dressed in his fly outfit is beyond me …

Mike Barfield, author of SWAT! at the Insect Festival 2013

Mike Barfield, author of SWAT! at the Insect Festival 2013

Not only did children enjoy being swatted by him, they were also fascinated by the fly-themed origami creations he was handing out:

Decoding Mike Barfield's SWAT! origami handouts at the 2013 Insect Festival

Decoding Mike Barfield’s SWAT! origami handouts at the 2013 Insect Festival

Hats off to Luke Tilley and the Royal Entomological Society for such an enjoyable and educational Insect Festival. Here’s to the next one, in 2015!

Hugh Loxdale, Luke Tilley, Mike Barfield and my publisher Nicola Loxdale of Brambleby Books enjoying the Insect Festival 2013

Former RES President Hugh Loxdale, Festival Organiser Luke Tilley, author Mike Barfield and our publisher Nicola Loxdale of Brambleby Books enjoying the Insect Festival 2013

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Flying High on Friday

Have you heard your first chiffchaff of this (so-called) Spring yet? A member of the audience at our ‘Flying High’ show on Friday has – in York Cemetery.

Don’t know what a chiffchaff sounds like? You obviously weren’t at our ‘Flying High’ show! I defy anyone who was there not to be able to instantaneously recognise a chiffchaff when they next hear one!

Thank you to everyone who packed Jacob’s Well on Friday and joined in our York Literature Festival ‘Flying High’ show with such gusto. And listened to Catherine Heinemeyer’s telling of the Sumerian Anzu Bird story with such attentiveness.

Particular thanks to John Illingworth, for taking these fabulous photos of the event:

Flying High with Catherine Heinemeyer at York Literature Festival. Photo by John Illingworth.

Flying High with Catherine Heinemeyer at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

How big is a herring gull's wingspan? This big! From Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

How big is a herring gull’s wingspan? This big! From Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

Catherine Heinemeyer telling us the tale of the Anzu Bird, in Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

Catherine Heinemeyer telling us the tale of the Anzu Bird, in Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

Thank you too to Conor and Paddy, without whom we never would have got the venue set up in time!

And a big Thank You to Festival Director Miles Salter and his band of stalwart volunteers for putting on another fantastic York Literature Festival.

Oh, and if you’d like us to come Fly High at your school or event, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing Poetry to Life

Flying High at York Literature Festival

Do you like birds? Are you between 5 and 12 years old? Then come along to the brand new show, Flying High!, that storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer and I are putting on for York Literature Festival on Friday 22 March at Jacob’s Well off Micklegate in York.

I’d advise you to book early, as the last two York Literature Festival family shows Catherine and I put on were sell-outs!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Flying High at York Literature Festival on Friday 22 March 2013

Flying High at York Literature Festival on Friday 22 March 2013

Book tickets here or phone on 01904 623568.

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

The hunt for the perfect Buzzing! subtitle

Help!

There’s great excitement here as my Buzzing! book is due to be published next month (April 2012).

Buzzing! - my book, due to be published in April 2012, with over 179 colour photos and 67 edu-taining poems!

My Buzzing! book, due to be published in April 2012, with around 180 colour photos and 67 edu-taining minibeast poems!

It’s in full colour,  includes eight years’ worth of my photos, 160 pages, loads and loads and loads of my poems and plenty of factabulous facts.

But there’s just one thing we’ve yet to decide on: the subtitle!

My publishers, Brambleby Books, and I have come up with three subtitle options:

1. ‘A bug book with a difference’

2. ‘Discover the poetry in garden minibeasts’

3. ‘Minibeast verse, visuals and vital statistics’.

But we haven’t been able to decide which of these is best.

So, I decided to ask the people who really count: children! And I’ve had some great feedback and ideas from them. As you’re about to see (and hear) …

On World Book Day I was performing my Buzzing! show at Le Cateau Primary School in North Yorkshire. So, I decided to ask the children there what they thought my subtitle should be:

A pretty categorical result for subtitle number 2 there, from an audience of primary children who’d just watched my live Buzzing! show.

However, not everyone I asked agreed.

Freddy and Henry in York, for example, preferred ‘Minibeast verse, visuals and vital statistics’.  But Katharine in York said this was too wordy. She preferred ‘A bug book with a difference’.

When Mrs Bryant asked her pupils at Hornby St Margaret’s CE Primary School in Lancashire, they didn’t like any of the three subtitles my publishers and I had come up with. Instead, the pupils  suggested some fabulous subtitles of their own, which they then voted on. The subtitle the boys liked best was:

‘Minibeasts and much more …’

Whereas the girls’ favourite one was:

‘Step into the garden of twisting and twirling creatures’ (which I personally think is fab!)

Mrs Bryant’s favourite was:

‘The book of poems buzzing with bugs’.

Grown-ups I asked were equally divided – and inspired. Catherine in York categorically ruled out ‘Minibeast verse, visuals and vital statistics’, and suggested instead:

‘Bugs in their own words‘.

Charles in foreign parts suggested:

‘Chapter and verse on (small) animals with (big) attitude’.

Bob and Jenny sugested a whole raft of options, including:

‘Who lives in your garden?’

and ‘ ‘Discover the secrets in your garden’.

Their suggestions were very similar to Debra’s niece’s suggestions from over the Pennines in Lancashire. She is a big fan of my Buzzing! CD, and she  suggested:

‘What’s lurking in your garden?’

and  ‘Discover the secret world of minibeasts’.

So, what have I learnt from this extensive consultation exercise? Simple: that the more people you ask, the more different (and imaginative) answers you get!!

A very big Thank You to everyone who took part and put their very creative thinking caps on to help me come up with the perfect subtitle to my Buzzing! book. All your input was very much appreciated!

Now all I’ve got to do is make a decision! (Unless anyone else out there has any more suggestions …)

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz

Book now for York Literature Festival cabaret evening!

Forget all your troubles and cares at York Literature Festival on Saturday 31st March. We’ve an evening of cabaret entertainment from some class acts (and me!) There’ll be words, music and laughter from a fabulous line-up of very talented folk:

York Literature Festival event flyer

An evening not to be missed, taking place at Temple Hall, York St John University, in the centre of York. Doors open at 7.45pm.
Book your tickets now from the York Theatre Royal Box Office, on 01904 623568.