I had the wonderful honour of presenting Axel Sheffler’s famous Pip & Posy stories to an amazing audience of 150 children in the stately Guildhall at Bath Children’s Literature Festival. The publishers, Nosy Crow, arranged for the children to meet a larger-than-life-sized Posy character, while I drew them into the story world through music, movement and mime.

Pip is very proud of his big red balloon. But when he lets the balloon go and it pops, he is inconsolable. Luckily, Posy has a clever idea to cheer up her friend and soon they are having fun again!

 

You can order a copy of Pip & Posy and The Big Balloon direct from Nosy Crow . . . 

 

 

In September 2018 Forest of Imagination took root in the heart of Bath.

I was thrilled to be invited by Forest of Imagination organisers 5x5x5=creativity to present my Scribble & Scrunch workshop and activities as part of the wider Bath Children’s Literature Festival.

This multi-sensory, interactive storytelling experience is crafted to inspire wonder, fire the imagination and to build the confidence to be creative. Originally developed for the classroom, then adapted for the stage, Scribble & Scrunch fitted perfectly into this urban forest environment of cardboard and paper. The children were so excited to enter the little box house and to discover within it a magical world of nautical adventures.

Find out how to arrange an amazing Scribble & Scrunch Storytelling for your event or school

Amazing and inspiring! Thank you so much!” – Rachael Grinyer, Head of English

As part of Bath Children’s Literature Festival I had opportunity to spend a day at the excellent Paragon School.

 

I started with a performance of Scribble & Scrunch for the Nursery children. My characters Tiger Louie and Dash & Doodle visited the Reception children to inspire them in storying and illustration.

 

Then with Year 1 we made monster pop-ups tied in with my Monsters Love Words picture book that features rhythm, rhyme and onomatopoeia. I  shared my Night Walk story and worked with them to produce their own journey narratives using maths language. They produced a beautifully illustrated concertina book with glow-in-the-dark features for the class to keep.

This morning, at Bradwell Junior School in the Hope Valley, I asked KS2 pupils to express why they love books so much! 

I love books because they can make a clear picture in my mind and charge my imagination.”

I love books because whatever you imagine is right and you can write your own.”

I love books because it makes me feel like I am in the author’s shoes.”

I love books because I like writing them and I also love them because when you get into them you don’t want to put it down.”

I love books because they inspire me to write stories.”

I love books because you can just lose yourself in them. They can be anywhere at anytime. They take your mind off troubles and worries. There are lots of them. They smell nice.”

I love books because they can transport you to different places without you going anywhere and because the impossible becomes possible.”

I actually got to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of Higher Openshaw Community School’s new Reading Garden – what an honour!

I was invited as their Patron of Reading to share their special day with them, reading stories in the lovely new reading shed, storytelling chair and activity areas.

The more that you READ, the more things you will KNOW.

The more that you LEARN, the more PLACES YOU’LL GO!”

– Dr. Seuss

I had a fantastic day at the One Education Literacy Conference 2017. As well as exhibiting my Storybook Writing Projects I was able to squeeze in attending a few workshops and lectures. I got to meet lots of lovely teachers, literacy leads, and heads – looking forward to working with some of you next year!

What an amazing day!!! 

Today was our Book Launch Day, the climax of our fantastic collaborative Storybook Project at Higher Openshaw Community School in Manchester. We started with a whole school assembly in which we shared a video documenting the creative process that resulted in four fabulous original picturebooks. Then we read each story in turn, projecting the artwork, and presented the teachers with a class copy for the school library. There was such a buzz in the air as every child in YR1 & YR2 received a copy of their very own book:

It’s the best book I’ve ever read!” – Ruby, YR2

My book is fantastic!” – Myah, YR1

It was magic to get my monster in the book!” – Abigail, YR1

It has been wonderful working with you! The children have had an amazing experience to create and make and have their own book.” – Miss Meddick, YR1

The books are amazing and the kid’s reaction to them was fantastic! You had every one of them engaged and that is so rare – I love it!” – Mrs Hughes, YR2

We had a wonderful treat during the event when we were able to share a specially recorded video message from the Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, creator of Charlie & Lola!!!

 

Our very own message from Lauren Child – so lucky! We are so pleased to say our work with Pippa will continue next year as she’ll be our Patron of Reading.” – Miss Mort, YR2

Would children at your school love to become authors and illustrators in a Storybook Project?

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I’m so excited about tomorrow’s Book Launch at Higher Openshaw Community Primary School!

This Celebration Day will be the culmination of a fantastic project with four classes from YR1/YR2 that has spanned the Summer Term. The children have learned to develop characters, structure their stories, and create fantastic illustrations to convey emotion and complement the written narrative. 

As a group we shared storybooks: listening, responding, and discussing the ideas and what we liked about them. We created characters and scenarios and developed them through role-play and story-mapping. We played with language, decoding the tangle of words, and discovering the joy of mixing up the 26 letters of the alphabet to create magical sounds and shapes!

Children gained an understanding of simple story structures, planning exciting ways to combine words and pictures into dynamic storyboard layouts. They explored a variety of fun and engaging illustration approaches, developing visual literacy skills, as they worked together to produce lovely pieces of art to complement their story.

Tomorrow, July 11th, at the end of the project, the school will host a Book Launch event at which every child who participated will be given a copy of their very own book – in front of friends, family, the local press, and the whole school!

I know the children will all be so excited when they each receive their very own copy of the book they have worked so hard to create. We’ve also planned a very special surprise for the day – tip top secret at the moment!

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A fab project. Every school should do this!” – Dawn Robertson, blogger for Madeleine Lindley

Click here to learn more about Pippa Pixley’s amazing Storybook Projects for primary schools

Or click here to get in touch with Pippa to discuss a Storybook Project or an Author Day

 

No misnomer – making this picturebook has been mission impossible! Mrs Heald’s Y2 class at Higher Openshaw Community School were full of ideas; so many, and so good, that we had to come up with a story that could include as many as possible. The result is a real rollercoaster ride of a tale, a rhyming adventure that whisks the reader through a series of wildly different worlds: under the sea, a digital games world, a ghostly zone, an alien place, etc. Linking these different environments, the rollercoaster rails spiral and loop, rise and fall, requiring language to match.

Early in the process we all went to the school hall and marked out a circular route on the floor using masking tape to represent the tracks. This was punctuated by large areas of paper, a separate zone for each themed world on the ride, where the children could sketch out their wild ideas. They were encouraged to write descriptive words next to their characters that could form the basis of the text. The result was a neatly circular story structure, with all the disparate ideas linked by the same main characters journeying through them along the rollercoaster rails.

Next the children set to work creating the backgrounds, using ink washes and bold crayons. Then they drew the characters in pencil and cut them out.

Everything was scanned into my Mac back at the studio, and arranged in InDesign to produce a proof copy of The Ultimate Test. I think we passed!

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Perhaps we should have called this book “Outta Space” because that’s what it is all about! Miss Mort’s Y2 class at Higher Openshaw Community School have come up with a science fiction storybook that sends a team of brave astronauts on a mission to fix mankind’s chronic space shortage . . .  by vacuuming up a precious cargo of the stuff which outer space is made of!

We had some serious brainstorming sessions to generate lots of ideas about how different aspects of life and the environment would be affected if all the space disappeared: no spaces between words, no parking spaces, no personal space! What about wildlife? What would towns and cities look like?

Children also spent time roleplaying scenarios aboard the spaceship and back on Earth, using mini whiteboards and markers to make their own speech bubbles and dialogue. This story would have a journey/return structure, a knowing narrator voice, and plenty of quips between the main characters: Astrogirl, Astroboy, Astrodog & the Queen, of course!

The class were inspired by the work of illustrator Anna Llenas, having recently admired one of her gorgeous collage-style picturebooks, so we decided that the artwork for our book would feature cool cardboard bits and cut-out elements. The team set to work designing rocket components, aliens and asteroids. They also used ink and watercolours to create crowded scenes of people, birds and sea life that would be relayed to the space crew on their cardboard computer screens as they sped to the rescue . . .

All these elements were photoshopped and layered together back at base, and arranged into the series of stunning spreads that make up S P A C E. Only one book to go and it will be Mission Complete!

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That’s me! That’s right, in full Native American costume and sat in front of my tipi! I was invited to visit Saltney Ferry C.P. School in N.Wales to be the secret ingredient in their Wild West themed day. It was great fun! The children were so excited and responded really well to the traditional tales I shared.

I also got to feature some of my own favourite characters, The MiniYarns, in a little story about a cowboy who lost his hat. The children loved joining in by trying to come up with solutions for rescuing it from the top of a prickly cactus!

Activities included group mark-making sessions and also threading story beads and found objects onto string to serve as a mnemonic aid to storytelling. The children produced some beautiful art and performed superbly, being able to recall and retell even complex narratives. Everyone had a truly wild and western kind of day!

 

Thank you so much for Friday, all the children and staff loved it! Some of the Year 1s and 2s have even made story sticks over the weekend!” – Charlotte Luke, Headteacher

 

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I was thrilled to be invited back to share this magical performance and exciting workshop for a new generation of pupils at Liverpool’s Abercromby Nursery School as part of their visit to Unity Theatre. It was great to have access to such excellent facilities – atmospheric lighting & immersive sound – along with superb support from the house technical team and management. The children and staff from Abercromby really enjoyed the experience and posted their own gallery of images from the day on the school’s website.

The second picturebook from my project with Higher Openshaw Community School is looking great! Miss Meddick’s Y1 class had already selected a monster theme and started to come up with story ideas, so I was able to work with them to develop the plot and produce a classic problem/resolution narrative structure. In all the best fairytales things come in threes (3 is the magic number) so we invented three meany monsters of increasing scariness for our little hero to encounter while out for a walk.

The class wanted their book to convey a clear message about how to deal with life’s challenges – even if you are only quite little. This lent itself to a rhyming story with a powerful and memorable repeat refrain expressing the determination of the main character, The Littlest Monster, not to give up. I worked with the children to brainstorm descriptive words for each character and setting that we could then group into rhyming pairs and use within our story text.

Miss Meddick’s class was full of excellent illustrators, so we had brilliant versions of the four monsters, displaying a wide range of expressions, that we could fit into the page layouts. The children painted tissue paper to produce highly textured bodies – cut out and collaged in different poses – and accessorised with wool and feathers. Our budding artists also used watercolours to paint scenery; crayons to scribble clouds and shadows; and buttons to make pretty flowers.

This delightful picturebook is now ready for printing, and each child will get their own copy at the launch event on the 11th July – I can hardly wait!

This is the first of four picturebook collaborations with KS1 classes at Higher Openshaw Community school to reach proofing stage. 

I worked with the children and teaching staff over four weeks to help them to generate their own story ideas, words and pictures.  In Miss Butterworth’s Y1 class we quickly settled on Monsters as a theme, and devised a concept celebrating the kind of words that monsters love – oozingly onomatopoeic & awesomely alliterative!

To gain inspiration we set up stations around the classroom where the children could try out some monstrously messy activities, such as squishing dough, crunching pasta, and mucking about with goo. This serious research helped us to come up with some truly truly authentic monster words which then went into the mix – along with a dash of rhythm and rhyme, and a little twist to finish – to produce our story text.

The artwork would be kept simple, with each contributor providing at least one original monster illustration that could be cut out, scanned, and arranged to complement the text. The children drew, painted, snipped, and collaged their creations, unifying the eclectic work by using black & white sticky dots to add the eyes as a finishing touch.  Back at the studio we fed all the words and pictures into InDesign, added some simple backgrounds and pleasing typography, and now Monsters Love Words is ready to send to the printers!