I was thrilled to receive this glowing reference. This was my first workshop and I had planned, prepared and practised every waking moment in the days running up to this. Hats off to teachers across the globe, they work so so hard to teach our children.
With children of my own I wanted to create a children’s story with an environmental message that showed how close to home environmental issues are, and that it’s our immediate actions that impact the planet for better or worse. It is these thoughts that led me to write The Tap-Dancing Pigeon of Covent Garden. It’s a story that I hope will inspire future generations but is also a story that is very close to my own experiences living and working in London. I believe that children’s fiction plays a key role in nurturing young minds and in return we create knowledgeable young eco-warriors that will be inspired to protect our planet’s wildlife and safeguard the future of our precious planet!
I was asked some wonderful question’s by the children of Soho Primary. I also think it is nice to ask the children questions as well. Some of my favourite questions to ask are:
What are their greatest passions?
What would they like to be when they grow up?
I asked whether any of them had visited Covent Garden and one little girl put her hand up and said “I live in Covent Garden”. Now that was a cool answer. I responded with “Then you must have seen Pigeon tap-dancing next to the opera singer. It was such a sweet moment honestly.
Today Pigeon and I drove to Tolworth in Surrey and visited a sweet school called Kings Oak Primary.
I love big halls and this one was huge. Year 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 were in the school assembly. When I gave my memory stick to the I.T person with my pigeon presentation saved and suddenly said the folder was empty. A typical technical hitch. Luckily I had reception in there and managed to quickly email it to him. JUST IN TIME! Phew!
Wow, I was blown a way by these little people. Their enthusiasm was beyond anything I had every imagined. I explained that they were going to be part of Pigeon’s adventure across London and every one of them seemed excited. Ten eager ones came up to the stage and helped me by holding up the sound boards, a very important job.
When I was at school I adored acting and art. It is wonderful how those strengths are now shining through my animation designs and story. When I first started reading my book in a library five months ago, I was completely petrified and my hands would uncontrollably shake. Now I relish big crowds of children watching my every move and listening intently.
This has been a big journey of self discovery for me and I am learning every day at how to become better at my performance. In the beginning I would never have thought I would use drama to express my story. It is a wonderful thing to be able to improvise and with every experience, find new ways to be a storyteller.
Today was different to every day so far in my life as an author. I woke up, had brekkie then smeared my face with blue paint, slipped and zipped up my onesie, put my hood up and waited for the paint to dry. After a few moments I was ready for the finishing touch, my yellow beak. Can you guess who I was? My youngest daughter jumped up and down with excitement and shouted ‘PIGEON!’
Pigeon was unsure though. So was I when I opened my front door and ran to my car. A pigeon driving a car did I hear you say? Noooo it cannot be! (chuckle).
The morning was full of laughs. I put 300% in to my performance. The children were all dressed up as different book characters and Pigeon and I were very impressed!
Here are some animation to show you how the day played out…
A friend who was in the year below me at school (who I had not seen since 1996), found me on Instagram and invited me to Eaton Square as she was a teacher there. It just shows that social media platforms can be very useful.
Pigeon and I travelled on the train and then took a tube to Victoria. As I missed our stop to jump on another train. I was on Twitter catching up with the Writing Community (of course). Pigeon hid in my rucksack. We arrived early this time, thank goodness.
Another lovely school. Very smart reception. We were escorted into a big hall. The children came flooding in. Now that I had practiced my interactive storytelling many times in the last two days I was in my element. Just like Pigeon when he learnt that tap-dancing was his passion. I felt alive and excited! The children were brilliant. It was wonderful.
Today Pigeon and I drove to Putney. The traffic was a nightmare and I felt very flustered when I arrived. I literally arrived within a minute of 10am and rushed into the assembly hall, where lots of little people were sitting waiting patiently for me. I am a person who likes to get everywhere super early so you can imagine I was flapping! So was Pigeon!
What a lovely school. The teachers were super friendly and the children full of intrigue. I felt more confident in my interactive storytelling after practicing the day before. I introduced myself and talked about what inspired me to write The Tap-Dancing Pigeon Of Covent Garden, introduced Pigeon and off we went into the story.