Five fantastic things at The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize ceremony

Posted on Nov 22, 2016 in Writing
Five fantastic things at The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize ceremony

I’m still buzzing after a brilliant day at the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize ceremony! Five fantastic things… 1) The faces of 150 children let loose in Techniquest Cardiff – a MASSIVE interactive science centre. I joined them to invent Moon landers in a workshop based on How To Change the World. 2) The videos […]

Five ways to join in with National Non-Fiction November!

Posted on Nov 19, 2016 in Writing
Five ways to join in with National Non-Fiction November!

It’s National Non-Fiction November – the annual celebration of adventures in the real world. Here are five ways to join in with the fun! 1) Win 100 non-fiction books in the mammoth non-fiction giveaway organized by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups and World Book Day. Nominate a local school or youth organisation to win […]

STEM education: why are we still waiting for change?

Posted on Nov 18, 2016 in Writing, Zookeeping

There is lots of buzz about changing the nature of science education this week – at the STEM across Europe conference that I was lucky enough to attend; with the launch of BBC Learning’s Terrific Scientific, and at today’s Cambridge Primary Review Trust Conference (find out more: #euroSTEM, #CPRT2016, #terrificscientific). Just over 100 years ago, […]

Whizz Pop Bang!

Posted on Jul 18, 2016 in Writing
Whizz Pop Bang!

I’m delighted to have joined the Whizz Pop Bang team! This awesome science magazine is aimed at 6 to 11 year olds, delivering news, features and experiments in a beautifully designed monthly package. My children were hooked from the moment they saw a copy – and so was I! Sunglasses at the ready for my […]

Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

Posted on May 30, 2016 in Books, Writing
Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

I’m thrilled that How To Change the World has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2016, for the best science books for under-14s. Living with chimps, experimenting with exploding eggs and delving into dinosaur dung… Do you have what it takes to become a scientist? How to Change the World looks […]

The countdown begins!

Posted on May 11, 2016 in Writing
The countdown begins!

Next week we publish this super-duper new book by @raisingchimps @imakedocs https://t.co/OpAG9F28vY Be warned … pic.twitter.com/12osM2MovO — Bloomsbury Kids UK (@KidsBloomsbury) May 11, 2016 I’ll be launching Self-Destructing Science: Space at Linton Children’s BookFest on 21 May!

Dementia Explained

Posted on Dec 11, 2015 in Writing
Dementia Explained

I was proud to be involved in writing the information pages for Dementia Explained, a new children’s website created by Alzheimer’s Research UK. The resource is a much-needed initiative from this fantastic charity, addressing the lack of free, engaging content for children and young people who have a relative with dementia. It’s estimated that 2.3 […]

Fairy tales at Cheltenham Literature Festival

Posted on Nov 1, 2015 in Writing
Fairy tales at Cheltenham Literature Festival

I had a fairy tale time at Cheltenham Literature Festival, running Fairy Tales with a Twist for a brilliant bunch of 4-7 year olds. Three plucky volunteers helped me to tell the story of Hansel and Gretel, and we found out what happens when you pop traditional fairy tale props into a time machine set […]

Science writing for children

Posted on Jul 28, 2015 in Writing
Science writing for children

My recent guest blog for Oxford Today, featured by Glamour Magazine. A career as a science writer can feel like a perpetual essay crisis. The regular deadlines. The lengthy excursions through JSTOR. The challenge of chiselling that mountain of knowledge into a perfectly structured narrative. The big difference is that I no longer present the […]

The perils of going with the flow…

Posted on Oct 6, 2014 in Writing, Zookeeping
The perils of going with the flow…

This weekend, I threw a party for 30 five-year-olds. Call me naive (and many parents did) but this was the plan: The reality was less Oranges and Lemons, and more like riot control. At least I had plenty of time to think about this blog, as I re-rolled 105 metres of toilet tissue (first rule […]

Let’s go on a city safari

Posted on May 8, 2014 in Books
Let’s go on a city safari

My City Safari series has just published, and to celebrate I’ve written a guest blog for Project Wild Thing. The naturalist Jane Goodall has just turned 80. Her famous career began with a countryside childhood spent hiding in hen houses, and smuggling handfuls of earthworms into her bed. It’s a background shared by many naturalists, […]

Procrastinate – it’s good for you!

Posted on Nov 25, 2013 in Writing
Procrastinate – it’s good for you!

Procrastinate – it’s good for you! – click to read my latest blog for Author Allsorts. The theme was how to be healthy when you spend all day writing. Top tip – watch how much butter you put on your toast…

The Argh! to Zzzz of life after the book deal

Posted on Aug 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

My first guest blog for Author Allsorts, an A-Z of the terms every children’s writer needs to know… Author:  Your new job title. Carries much weight at parties, very little with mortgage advisers. Bookshops: A bittersweet experience. On one hand, so many incredible books. On the other, so much competition. See also: Libraries. Children. Don’t […]

14 and a half minutes of fame

Posted on Jul 5, 2013 in Writing

Our local paper carried a little article about me last week. Quite a few people got in touch to say congrats, all very exciting. A few days later I met the headteacher of my son’s new academy, and we got chatting about the fact I write children’s books. “I’ve been looking for a local children’s […]

Why do you want to be a writer?

Posted on Jun 18, 2013 in Writing

Author – officially the 156th best job in the world! This was the verdict of a recent survey comparing 200 occupations – their physical demands, work environment, income, stress and outlook. The 155 jobs considered more relaxing, profitable and pleasant than writing books include: funeral director (116) pest control worker (95) sewage plant operator (87) […]

It’s official: Sons are bad for your health

Posted on Mar 26, 2013 in Zookeeping

So, the hot news in evolutionary biology is that women with sons die earlier than women with daughters. Nature, which I read all the time (when I’m not following links tweeted by @zooarchaeologis), reported that each son born shortens a woman’s life by 34 weeks. I have three boys, so that’s nearly TWO YEARS of […]

Say it with flour

Posted on Mar 10, 2013 in Zookeeping

There were Mother’s Day cards to collect at preschool pick-up. They’d asked every child to answer the question ‘I love my Mummy because…’ and stuck the answers to hand-painted pictures. I got a preview of other kids’ answers as my four-year-old’s keyworker flicked through the pile: I love my Mummy because… “She tickles me and […]

World Book Day costume for mischief makers!

Posted on Mar 6, 2013 in Writing, Zookeeping

I wrote a piece for Guardian Children’s Books for World Book Day on 7 March. Click here to read it on the Guardian website! Red Riding Hood and Cinderella are huddling at the bus stop. Horrid Henry is hanging around the school gates. The playground is packed with Gruffalos. It can only be World Book […]

A Catalogue of Library Misadventures

Posted on Feb 9, 2013 in Writing

February is #lovelibraries month! To celebrate, I’ve put together a catalogue of my best library memories. Organized using the Dewey Decimal Classification, of course. 781.53 Music in specific settings You’re a ten-year-old boy. You quite like a bookish girl in your class. Unfortunately, she’s too bookish to seal the deal during kiss chase. What to […]

Boy oh boy oh boy

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 in Zookeeping

Happy news: this week saw the publication of MOB Rule, a book that celebrates life as a mother of boys. Like the author, I’m besotted with my bunch. But I know that most passers-by are not thinking ‘lucky you’ as I stride past, towing three trainee men. I know this because so many have taken […]