A wonderful year – A review of the academic year 2017/2018
Wow. Wow. Wow. I’m rarely lost for words but this year has been so incredible. I’ve had the honour of visiting twenty schools and worked with over 5,000 children. Every school is special… but some are extra special!
The teachers I have met have been so enthusiastic about reading and writing. I’ve loved sharing my story, running writing workshops and giving pupils the confidence to believe they can be anything they want to be in the future. I’ve experienced the most fantastic singing, press conferences, Q&A sessions and I’ve been asked the most interesting questions. The writing that has been produced has been out-of-this-world.
Hand on Heart
I was asked in November if I would become the patron of Hand on Heart, a charity that places defibrillators in schools. I was so shocked to hear the statistics concerning sudden cardiac arrests in young people – 12 young people die in the UK every week. I am promoting the charity and cause as much as I can, EVERY school should have a defibrillator.
I’ve been busy writing my first football biography – Messi A-Z. It’s been so much fun finding about the Barcelona star. The book will be published in the Autumn, can’t wait for you to read it!
The Best World Book Week Ever
The highlight of the year for me was working on a very special writing project with the children of Adswood Primary School (Stockport), St Mary’s Catholic Primary School (Swindon) and Cambridge Road Primary School (Ellesmere Port). Together we wrote a picture book and it was illustrated by the fantastic Scott Wells.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the children and we had a great time, acting out our book at the end of each day. The ideas generated were incredible and the finished story was even better than I could have ever imagined. It was published at the end of January and appeared in bookshops from the 1st February.
It has been popular in the schools I’ve visited and we’ve raised £100 from book sales so far which we’ve donated to Hand on Heart to help fund a defibrillator.
Holding a book signing in each of the three schools was great fun and the look of joy on the children’s faces was priceless. They loved signing their autographs and it will be something they will treasure forever.
Next year… The day the books disappeared (working title)
I will again be writing a picture book in the Autumn term that will be written with children from selected schools. The book will explore what the world would be like without books and will have reading superheroes save the day.
I will spend one day at each school working with 1 – 2 classes. It’s an intensive day and at the end, the children can perform the book in a whole school assembly. Once the book is published in February, I will return for a joint book signing.
If you would like to be involved please get in touch ASAP. I won’t be working with many schools on this project. If chosen, you can pick which classes/groups of children you would like me to work with, but I recommend Y5 and Y6. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some quotes from my co-authors at St Mary’s Primary School:
Larissa Hall – “The experience I had with Sarah Oliver was amazing. She was so inspiring to us. When we did the play it was fun too.”
Daniel Cunningham – “I enjoyed the part when I designed the treasure map. I also liked it when we performed the book in front of the school and seeing the book published.”
Elliot Fahy – “I enjoyed it with Sarah Oliver and my favourite part was when we acted the whole story out. This experience inspires me a bit to become an author and help children write stories.”
Lewis Bhola – “I enjoyed the banana in the book you had to find on each page and the bookworm. I really enjoyed writing my signature for the first time and roleplaying the monkey called Danny.”
Grace McKeown – “I enjoyed the experience and I want to be known as an author. I really liked how we use our autograph like a real author.”