Schools with literary connections

I’ve kickstarted the Book Weeks of two Yorkshire schools recently that each have strong literary connections of their own – neither of which I had originally been aware of.

First up was a visit arranged by Book Events for Schools to Carlton Miniott Primary School. Have you ever heard of Carlton Miniott? No, neither had I. Turns out it’s a village of around 1,000 souls near Thirsk, in the old North Riding of Yorkshire.

However, when my husband happened to ask where I was going next, he immediately said ‘Carlton Miniott? That’s where J.L. Carr went to school.’ (Trust my husband to know that sort of thing!) And he went over to the bookshelves and got down a copy of A Month in the Country.

Book cover of J.L.Carr's A Month in the Country

I hadn’t read it before, I’d only seen the film version, of which I had fond memories. Made in 1987, the film starred Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth. (Who doesn’t have fond memories of Colin Firth?!)

So as part of my preparation for my visit to Carlton Miniott Primary School, I read A Month in the Country. It’s in the Penguin Classics list, and rightly so. It’s beautifully written. Poignant and touching, it gently transports you to a very different time and place.

How inspiring for the pupils of Carlton Miniott Primary School to know that one of their forebears became a famous writer. If J.L. Carr can do it, why not them too?

Cover of J.L. Carr's A Month in the Country

Next up was Norton Community Primary School, which invited me to come and kickstart their combined ‘Book and Bug Week’.

It’s a big school, with some 600 children. My visit there was organised by Year 1 teacher Mrs Everitt. As she was leading me through the school to the place I was going to do my book signing session, she kept pointing out parts of the building that had been used when filming J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls. I assumed she meant a film that had been made decades ago, but no, it was a new BBC production filmed just a couple of years ago, starring David Thewlis, Miranda Richardson, Ken Stott!

So, to wind down from my visit to Norton Community Primary School, I watched An Inspector Calls. I’d seen it at the theatre many years ago, so the dénouement wasn’t a surprise, but I very much enjoyed the production, and spotting the locations used. (The primary-aged children may need to wait a few years before watching it, though!)

However, what I was doing at the school was age-appropriate – lots of Buzzing! minibeast activities, including two Buzzing! shows, Buzzing! poetry writing and performing workshops and Buzzing! book signings.

Here’s what Mrs Everitt told me afterwards:

‘The children have loved it – lots of staff have stopped me in the corridor to make positive comments about today – so mission accomplished, thank you.’

And here’s some feedback from a Year 5 teacher:

‘Excellent content which really enthused the children about the topic. There was good interaction with the children and they participated fully. In the classroom afterwards there was a lot of discussion about the content.’

Thank you to all the staff and pupils of both Carlton Miniott and Norton primary schools, for inviting me into their – literature-rich – schools. And to Clare Burkhill-Howarth of Book Events for Schools for organising my Carlton Miniott visit.

If you’d like me to kickstart your Book Week, get in touch with me or with Clare. (And you can find out more about my school visits here.)

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life


World Book Day 2016

Rarely have I felt as underdressed as I did when I visited Osbaldwick Primary School on World Book Day last week. I was the only person in mufti. The whole school – including all the teachers – were dressed as characters from books!

At the school’s Osbaldwick Lane site, the teachers were dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland:

Osbaldwick Alice cr 2

And at the school’s other, Leyes, site, the teachers were all dressed as dalmations from 101 Dalmations:

Osbaldwick dalmation 2

I had to concentrate very hard to be able to perform my Buzzing! show whilst looking out over a sea of Wallys and Little Red Riding Hoods and Harry Potters and Hermiones and … and … and … .

In the audience of my Leyes site show I spotted a Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. Just the person – sorry, just the spider – I needed to come and perform my spider poem with me. Charlotte was fabulously attired, and with exactly the right number of limbs!

Thank you to everyone at both Osbaldwick Primary School sites for welcoming me so warmly into your school on World Book Day. I enjoyed putting on shows and workshops for you all in your fabulous costumes.

Alice and the King of Hearts who assisted me in my morning Buzzing! show

Alice (aka Mrs Mowat) and the King of Hearts who assisted me in my morning Buzzing! show

What did Osbaldwick think of my visit? Well, Year 6 teacher Mrs Mowat said I’d put on:

‘A fantastic workshop. The children were heavily involved and really enjoyed creating (and performing) their own poem.’

Afterwards she emailed to say:

‘The children (and the staff) throughly enjoyed themselves! I have had people coming up to me all afternoon saying how amazing they thought your show and workshops were. Thanks again for such a wonderful world book day.’

Well, thank you, Osbaldwick Primary, for inviting me to share World Book Day 2016 with you. I can only apologise for having been so boringly dressed … .

Thank you to Book Events for Schools for organising this visit for me. If you’d like me to come and put on some ‘amazing’ poetry shows and workshops at your school, then just get in contact with Book Events for Schools.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – – Bringing poetry to life

World Book Day 2015

World Book Day 2015: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It was the best of times, because I spent the day edu-taining the pupils at Byron House, St John’s College School in Cambridge with Buzzing! shows, poetry workshops and Rhyme Time Rambles:

A World Book Day Rhyme Time Ramble at St John's College School

A World Book Day Rhyme Time Ramble at St John’s College School

More Rhyme Time Rambling at St John's College School

More Rhyme Time Rambling at St John’s College School

And I got to meet lots of lovely pupils as I signed copies of my brand new paperback Buzzing! book:

15 - 03 - Buzzing at Byron House 1

Signing copies of my brand new Buzzing! paperback at St John's School in Cambridge

Signing copies of my brand new Buzzing! paperback at St John’s College School in Cambridge

It was the worst of times because I had to judge the school’s Buzzing! bookmark competition. This was an impossible task, as the children had come up with such a wide variety of fabulous bookmarks. See for yourself here:

Just some of the entries to the St John's School Buzzing! bookmark competition

Just some of the many entries to the St John’s School Buzzing! bookmark competition

Buzzing bookmark comp - 2

Eventually I did manage to select some winners, but I would like all the pupils to know how wonderful their bookmarks were, and what a joy it was to look at them all.

More beautiful Buzzing! bookmark entries

More beautiful Buzzing! bookmark entries

Thank you to all the staff and pupils at St John’s College School who made my World Book Day visit such a pleasure. Special thanks go to Julia Clarke, the school librarian, who did so much to enthuse the children about my visit in advance and to make it the success it was. I particularly enjoyed working with her to prepare my library poetry workshop.

What did the school make of my visit? Well, one member of staff said it was:
the best author visit we’ve had‘.
I can’t ask for better staff feedback than that!

More brilliant Buzzing! bookmarks

Yet more brilliant Buzzing! bookmarks

But did the children enjoy my visit? Well, here are some of their views:

‘I loved the way Anneliese performed her poems  – they were great!’

‘I liked Anneliese because she said that if you want to remember something you should write a poem about it. I think that’s really clever.”

‘I loved Anneliese’s visit as she was so inspiring.’

‘I loved Anneliese’s story telling in her Buzzing! show and I liked learning more about minibeasts.’

‘I loved the way Anneliese acted and the way her voice matched the insect and the way she remembered all those poems that she’d written.’

So, there you have it. If you’d like your school to have a buzzing visit, then do get in contact.

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing poetry to life


World Book Day 2013

I spent World Book Day last year with the pupils of Le Cateau Primary School, who helped me come up with the sub-title for my – then soon-to-be-published – Buzzing! book.

This year I spent World Book Day in the company of the pupils of Leeming and Londonderry Primary School, where I had the great pleasure of signing copies of my – now well-and-truly published – Buzzing! book.

World Book Day 2013

I also had the very onerous job of judging their World Book Day competition. The children had each brought in a photo of themselves reading a book in an unusual place. I had to judge which place was the most unusual!

It was an impossible task. There were so many fabulously unusual and quirky places, including upside down on a climbing frame, on a quad bike, and in a jacuzzi! Take a look for yourself:

The Leeming and Londonderry Primary School World Book Day competition entries

In the end I did choose a winner – but it was one of the most difficult jobs I’ve ever had to do!

Here’s to next year’s World Book Day! I wonder what it will bring …

Meanwhile, Thank You to Leeming and Londonderry Primary School for inviting me to spend this important day with them.

Happy Reading one and all!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – – Bringing Poetry to Life

Thank You Le Cateau Primary School!

I’d like to say a big Thank You to the pupils at Le Cateau Primary School in North Yorkshire. Why? Well, for three very important reasons.

Firstly for welcoming me so warmly to their school on World Book Day this year. I greatly enjoyed performing my Buzzing! poetry show for them and then putting on poetry workshops with them afterwards.

World Book Day logo

World Book Day logo

Secondly for writing me such wonderful, beautifully illustrated, letters after my visit.

An excerpt from a Le Cateau pupil 'Thank You' letter

An excerpt from a Le Cateau pupil ‘Thank You’ letter

Read more Le Cateau pupil ‘Thank You’ letters to Anneliese Emmans Dean of theBigBuzz (pdf)

And last, but by no means least, for solving the conundrum of  my Buzzing! book subtitle.

You see, when I went to Le Cateau School, everything was ready for my book – except the subtitle. You can find out more about the hunt for the Buzzing! subtitle here. As you’ll hear in the audio clip in that blogpost, the pupils of Le Cateau voted overwhelmingly for ‘Discover the Poetry in Garden Minibeasts’ as the best subtitle for Buzzing! And so … that is the subtitle the publishers and I decided on.

My Buzzing! book has just been published, so I can now reveal to you the title page – complete with subtitle (as chosen by Le Cateau pupils):

Title page of 'Buzzing! - Discover the Poetry in Garden Minibeasts', by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Title page of ‘Buzzing! – Discover the Poetry in Garden Minibeasts’, by Anneliese Emmans Dean

You can order your copy of my Buzzing! book here.

Cover of 'Buzzing! - Discover the Poetry in Garden Minibeasts' by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Cover of ‘Buzzing! – Discover the Poetry in Garden Minibeasts’ by Anneliese Emmans Dean

I’d like to thank Sheila Silvester of North Yorkshire County Council and Mrs Cafferty of Le Cateau Primary School for organising my visit. Thank you also to all the other Le Cateau teachers and teaching assistants for making me so welcome. Thank you too to Nicola Loxdale of Brambleby Books.

If you’d like your primary school to be Buzzing! for a day, contact me!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – Bringing Poetry to Life –