Guernsey visit, Children's Book Week, October 2004

7. My work as a visitor to schools,
libraries and events
"Can I have your autograph?"

Every year I meet hundreds of young people at schools and libraries ...

Children like to meet authors. There are certain times in the year when schools are encouraged to invite an author to visit them.

As World Book Day (usually the first Thursday each March) and Children's Book Week (the first week in October) draw near, I get phone calls and emails from schools asking me to come and spend a day with them.

I really enjoy school visits, and it's great to be asked.*

My visit is very different from that of a fiction author or a poet. It's a lively fact-filled day in which everyone learns at least one thing they didn't know at the start of the day (and that goes for the teachers, too!). After one visit, a Year 6 girl said: "I was having so much fun, I didn't realise I was learning anything, but I was." Fantastic! Thank-you!

A school visit is always a busy day. As well as giving talks, readings and workshops, I sign autographs on little scraps of paper, in class books, but never on arms or clothes! I tuck into the teachers' biscuits and sweets in the staffroom (if they've left any, that is), and have become an 'expert' on school dinners, which are a lot better than when I was at school – honestly!

There's an old proverb 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. It means you need to take time off from work to relax and have some fun. Do I? You bet I do! Page 8 tells you a little bit about my hobbies and interests.

* Schools – to find out about my school visits, click here: School Visits