World Book Day Tips from Authors and a Competition

World Book Day is nearly upon us so I’m thrilled to be able to tell you about this fab new initiative to get kids reading: The Biggest Book Show On Earth,  is on-line show compared by CCBC’s Dick and Dom and I’m sure your children will find it as inspirational as mine, it features all these amazing authors and illustrators:

  • James Patterson
  • David Melling
  • Emily Gravett
  • Jill Murphy
  • Jim Smith
  • Lauren St John
  • Terry Deary
  • Martin Brown
  • Alex T Smith
  • Sarah Lean
  • Robert Muchamore
  • Maureen Johnson
Filmed at Stanley Park High School, each of the £1 authors also answer questions submitted from children across the country as well giving an excerpt from their World Book Day book and talking about their inspirations.
To go with this I’ve been sent loads of tips from some of these authors to share with you. Which I’m really excited about as I’m keen to try to finish my novel.
First up  is Lauren St John author of The One Dollar Horse which was one of the best young adult books I read last year:
Tip 1:
One of the first things children will ask an author is, ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ I always answer: ‘Ideas come from everywhere. Your problem should never be finding ideas. It should be that you have too many.’ Since life is infinitely stranger than fiction, newspapers and magazines are a good starting point. A news item about a stowaway boy or a dog that has turned up alive after two years, for instance, could give rise to any number of storylines.
Tip 2
When I get children to invent stories out loud, something that is as much fun for me as it is for them, I first ask them to create a couple of characters. What do they look like? What type of people are they? What are their interests? Next, we need an Event. Something happens. A volcano, a fire, an alien abduction, a school trip that goes wrong. The characters then go on a journey, which is as much about personal discovery as it is about location. Are they brave? Cowardly? How do they figure out an escape route? Lastly, we need a happy ending. Naturally.
Tip 3
As a child, I was obsessed with reading and I’m convinced that there are no good writers who are not good readers. Forget the Government nonsense about whether or not to read Dickens. Get your kids reading. It doesn’t matter if it’s comic books or JK Rowling or War and Peace. All that matters is that they learn to love reading. Of course, you could always consider Dead Man’s Cove, The One Dollar Horse or my World Book Day short story, The Midnight Picnic!

David Melling
People always ask me what the best writing tip I’ve ever been given is. my knee-jerk response to that question is: do a little each day. It’s very important. Kids often ask me ‘how do you do that?’ when I draw, and it all comes down to a little each day. It’s like learning to play a musical instrument or a sport. You don’t pick up your tennis racquet one day and be volleying, hitting winning shots the next. The more you practice the better you get, and that’s the same with writing and drawing.
I also always keep note and sketchbooks, an idea might come from one simple illustration. I’m constantly drawing and redrawing these characters as they evolve. With Jack Frost, I was very conscious that I wanted to do a proper ‘Once upon a time…’ picture book so there’s no set rule or pattern but I always use the note or sketchbook as a starting point.
Alex T Smith
Some tips for drawing and writing:
Don’t assume that professional illustrators always know how to draw – I had to learn to draw bicycle a couple of years ago. Even pros have to learn and practice!
Always remember that when drawing you aren’t imitating life – your drawings don’t have to be realistic! Claude’s eyebrows are above his head, you wouldn’t see that in real life!
When I’m writing I might do some tiny doodles about how it would work as a book spread to help me keep track of my ideas. I really get going with the pictures when the text is complete. I’m always very keen on the idea that if you can say something with pictures then go for it.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer and an artist?
Yes, always. I’ve always loved books and luckily came from a very bookish family. I’ve also always loved drawing. I can remember the very first picture I drew – I was very very young and I was sitting at the dining table on my mum’s lap and I drew a teddy bear. It was really just a couple of very wobbly circles and a bit of scribble but I knew it was a teddy bear and told my mum exactly what was going on in my picture. From then on I was hooked and have had a pencil in my hand pretty much all the time since then!
Emily Gravett’s Top Five Writing Tips
1) Often I find that just getting to know my character will give me ideas for a story. I begin by writing down and drawing everything I know about them on a sheet of paper.
2) To get a really good resolution for a story I like to brainstorm. To do this write down your challenge or obstacle in the middle of a sheet of paper then as quickly as you can write down as many ways as you can think of to solve your problem.
3) Ending your story – Sometimes it’s worth writing down a few different endings for your story. Some happy, some sad, some funny. Try them all out. Most of the time one of them will leap out at you as the ‘right’ ending.
4) It’s good to write down ideas as you get them (or they tend to vanish). I use my sketchbook, but I also have a box to put more chunky ideas in. Even things that might spark ideas like packaging, buttons etc.
5) Finally, I think it’ important to keep re-reading aloud what you have written. Reading aloud helps you hear the rhythm of your story, and highlights any snaggy areas that need work.
To celebrate World Book Day I have a copy of each of the books to give away to one lucky reader. To enter all you need to do is comment and use the rafflecopter widget, telling me what your all time favourite children’s book is.

Terms and Conditions
The competition officially closes 12th March 2014 mid-day
One entry per household
There is no cash alternative 
The prize comes directly from the promoters 
Editors decision is final
UK entrants only
Winners will be contacted directly, if no response is received within 3 working days the entrant will be disqualified and another winner will be drawn and that person contacted

112 Responses

  1. liveotherwise 5th March 2014 / 5:00 pm

    That's a really difficult question, there are so many I like. Today I'll go for the Diddakoi by Rumer Godden.

  2. Tracy K Nixon 5th March 2014 / 5:05 pm

    OMG I love loads but recently I have been reading The BFG to my children and they love it (brought back great memories for me too!).

  3. Anonymous 5th March 2014 / 7:14 pm

    The BFG (@bexallum)

  4. Suzanne Jackson 5th March 2014 / 7:15 pm

    The Harry Potter series, they're fab x

  5. mummy24 5th March 2014 / 7:30 pm

    I have so many – obviously all the Julia Donaldson ones – also love Nick Sharett books and I love fantastic mr fox too!<br /><br />Ashleigh

  6. Anonymous 5th March 2014 / 7:46 pm

    Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl- Kay Broomfield

  7. Kerry Manners 5th March 2014 / 8:08 pm

    Biff, chip &amp; kipper

  8. LEA D 5th March 2014 / 8:15 pm

    Mr Stink by David Walliams

  9. jo 5th March 2014 / 8:17 pm

    The perfect hug

  10. The Style Box 5th March 2014 / 8:45 pm

    Oh goodness! That&#39;s a hard choice! Magic Faraway Tree was always a favourite. Love anything by Oliver Jeffers. Harry Potter. Roald Dahl. I can&#39;t pick!!<br />x

  11. Kirsten 5th March 2014 / 8:47 pm

    I like The Rainbow Fish. My daughter prefers The Little Somethings

  12. Zoe G 5th March 2014 / 9:53 pm

    I had loads, especially books by Roald Dahl, Danny The Champion of the World was one of my faves

  13. Emma 5th March 2014 / 10:06 pm

    Harry potter series!!

  14. katiemay 5th March 2014 / 10:13 pm

    Aw there are so many, but I loved the BFG when I was a child 🙂

  15. Anonymous 6th March 2014 / 12:28 am

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar.<br /><br />Rachel Craig

  16. Anonymous 6th March 2014 / 9:24 am

    Tiger who came to tea!

  17. Ray Dodds 6th March 2014 / 9:28 am

    The cat and the hat

  18. Pappers 6th March 2014 / 10:45 am

    Love the Horrid Henry series – they get us all giggling

  19. Pooky 6th March 2014 / 2:19 pm

    The Magic Faraway Tree is my favourite children&#39;s book.

  20. solfleur 6th March 2014 / 4:50 pm

    Stig Of The Dump (by Clive King)

  21. Caroline 6th March 2014 / 5:20 pm

    Alice&#39;s Adventures in Wonderland.

  22. clairew137 6th March 2014 / 8:08 pm

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

  23. abbyed33 6th March 2014 / 8:11 pm

    the wishing powder and all the spot books

  24. Bubbles17 6th March 2014 / 8:18 pm

    The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

  25. Cheryl Kemp 7th March 2014 / 8:12 pm

    Oh well one of my favourites would have to be Julia Donaldsons &quot;The Gruffalo&quot; 🙂

  26. Chris 8th March 2014 / 8:04 am

    Whats your favourite childrens book?<br />Jake likes The Very Hungry Caterpillar – but MY favourite is Hans Christian Andersen&#39;s Fairy tales

  27. Isis1981uk 8th March 2014 / 6:11 pm

    I always loved Carrie&#39;s War by Nina Bawdon

  28. pauline duffy 9th March 2014 / 6:03 am

    I love anything by Roald Dahl 🙂 Looking forward to my daughter reading these 🙂 x

  29. MissMelvis 9th March 2014 / 7:55 am

    Room on the Broom – it&#39;s so simple yet so brilliant! x

  30. buchanl 9th March 2014 / 5:43 pm

    The magic faraway tree

  31. Leslie Evans 10th March 2014 / 8:44 am

    The Gruffalo

  32. max amos 10th March 2014 / 9:41 am

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  33. zeenie 10th March 2014 / 11:44 am

    the diary of a wimpy kid books

  34. Patricia Avery 10th March 2014 / 1:17 pm

    Oh dear, so many favourites to choose from. I used to love Famous Five and Secret Seven as did my children but as a teacher I lost count of the number of times I enjoyed the Twits with a class :)<br />

  35. Karis 10th March 2014 / 2:39 pm

    HArry Potter

  36. jo-anne 10th March 2014 / 2:42 pm

    The gruffalos child!!

  37. Jennifer Rhymer 10th March 2014 / 4:25 pm

    I love Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume 🙂

  38. HelenA71 10th March 2014 / 4:40 pm

    I loved Enid Blyton&#39;s Secret Seven books. My daughter&#39;s favourite books though are probably Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

  39. sarahp 10th March 2014 / 6:42 pm

    we love the gruffalo

  40. Mickie Bull 10th March 2014 / 7:04 pm

    End Blyton – The Magic Faraway Tree

  41. Linda sallie Guest 10th March 2014 / 7:18 pm

    Rock Wars. Muchamore is a brilliant author and this is the start of a new series. I think I am more excited than the kids 🙂

  42. ape 10th March 2014 / 7:28 pm

    The Jams Herriot Series

  43. kim webster-marsh 10th March 2014 / 8:18 pm

    I absolutely adore The Twits &amp; kids love it too, I don&#39;t think it ever gets old !! x

  44. Jane Middleton 10th March 2014 / 9:05 pm

    The Gruffalo

  45. rachael jones 10th March 2014 / 9:09 pm

    <br />Sharing a shell

  46. krnries 10th March 2014 / 9:33 pm

    I love Five go to Smugglers Top by Enid Blyton 🙂

  47. Lollylaus 10th March 2014 / 9:37 pm

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  48. Deborah Bird 10th March 2014 / 10:24 pm

    The Gruffalo!

  49. lorraine polley 11th March 2014 / 4:26 am

    i love reading james patterson books, but my grandsons favourite book is the lorax by dr seuss

  50. Hayley Manton 11th March 2014 / 7:43 am

    Roakd Dahl collection

  51. Justine Meyer 11th March 2014 / 9:20 am

    She loves all the horrible history books<br />

  52. srobbo71 11th March 2014 / 10:19 am

    The Witches by Roald Dahl is fantastic

  53. Rachel Smith 11th March 2014 / 10:53 am

    Harry potter

  54. Ian Murray 11th March 2014 / 11:26 am

    I always liked the famous five as a child.

  55. HayleyT 11th March 2014 / 2:15 pm

    All my children love different books at the moment, as they are different ages. My youngest loves the Winnie the Witch books, my older daughter loves Matilda at the moment, and is reading and re-reading it constantly! My son loves the Skulduggery Pleasant Novels x

  56. Emily Knight 11th March 2014 / 2:28 pm

    A really tough question! I always loved The Jolly Postman 🙂

  57. Clare Hubbard 11th March 2014 / 3:31 pm

    The twits

  58. Kelly Lain 11th March 2014 / 9:46 pm

    We all love Danny champion of the World. My son even dressed up as Danny for World Book Day.

  59. Kelly Hirst 11th March 2014 / 11:13 pm

    The BFG <br /><br />Kel Ellen Hirst

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