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Matt's Million eBook

Imagine if you had £1 million to spend on Christmas. Think it would make things easier? Then consider having all that money when aged eleven. Fun yes, but it can also throw up a few unexpected consequences.

This weekend 22/23 December you don’t need any money at all to download the Matt’s Million eBook by Andrew Norriss and find out how Matt got on after a very large cheque arrived in the post for him.

Click on the Matt’s Million Book cover for the link.

Andrew Norriss is the author of I Don’t Believe It, Archie! proud possessor I of a STARRED review from the American Library Association and writes with a light comic touch. Enjoy!

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£1 Million Pound Give Away!

£1 Million Pound Give Away!


Well not really of course but the book Matt’s Million by Andrew Norriss will be free to download at the weekend 21st – 24th December 2012.  Click on the book cover below or here for more information.

Ever wondered what it would have been like to have  had £1 million or ($2 million) when you were 11 years old? Andrew Norriss did and so he wrote Matt’s Million as a way of experiencing it vicariously, and it turned out that having that sort of money is, like so many things in life, a little more complicated than you might think. Yes you can go out and buy everything you want – but will it fit in your house when you get it home? You could move to the house of your dreams but then you might not be near your friends anymore, and who are these ‘new friends’ anyway? You can buy people expensive presents but when they don’t accept them as cheerfully as you expected life gets a little confusing.

Matt’s Million is a greatly entertaining read as you imagine yourself in Matt’s place thinking about what you would buy or do in his situation, and as in all Andrew Norriss’ books everything is happily resolved with a most satisfying ending. I love Mr Kawamura’s advice – it should be given to everyone at an early age.

A delightfully engaging story with believable characters, a clever plot and told with a light humour it is your to enjoy for free this weekend.

Yes, free. Absolutely no catch. Let me know if you enjoy it. Click on the cover…

Matt's Million eBook

Matt’s Million was made as a children’s TV series and some episodes are to be found online.

It all starts with a good story…

I think most teachers and librarians would agree that the best way to get children reading is to give them a good story, either one read to them which I don’t think happens enough, of one they read themselves. But what is a good story? This is what I wrote in 2009 and  it still holds true for me now. What do you think…

How to define a good story…  For me, these are the best:

a fun, humorous, and intriguing story;  inspiring and uplifting rather than depressing and despairing;  a story that you can’t put down once you’ve started – and is of a length that if you sit long enough you can do just that; a story that keeps you guessing all they way through and yet is entirely logical and believable in a not quite of this world sort of way; a story that leaves you feeling satisfied and complete – and yet wanting more; rounded believable characters who behave consistently; exciting without manipulating  the emotions; problems that need solving; and an overall theme/idea of growth and discovery.

To find all of these in a story is a rare and wonderful thing, and I find that the stories written by Andrew Norriss fulfill them all. Written for children, but enjoyed by readers of all ages – children,  teenagers, twenties, parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians. These are stories that get even the most reluctant children enjoying reading and wanting to read more. And as Andrew Norriss has declared  ‘Reading is the most essential skill of all‘.

Inviting an author to visit…

Andrew 'book signing' at George Heriots Sept 2010We get many letters from teachers inviting Andrew to visit their school. Two arrived on the same day this week, two very different letters.

Letter 1

(As far as we know we have had no previous contact with the teacher and she does not name the school.)

Hi Andrew
I am currently putting together activities for a School Book Week next March.
Do you have any dates free during the weeks beginning 4th or 11th March when you could visit us in (name of town)?
Look forward to hearing from you.
Regards

Letter 2

( No previous contact with teacher or school but we had been contacted by Kate, a School Library Service Librarian. This correspondent gave her name, position and the name of school)

Dear Jane,
Kate forwarded her email to you, so I hope you don’t mind me contacting you direct!
Kate visited our school recently and introduced one of your books to us. The children (and teachers) thoroughly enjoyed the story and so I was wondering whether your husband could visit our school? World Book Day is on 7th March next year – would there be any possibility he would be available then? Would I be able to ring you to discuss this date or an alternative if this one is not suitable? So many questions!!
Kind regards, 

Both invites are for the same week in March which has in fact been well booked up for some time, but decisions were easily made about how to reply. The first letter gets a simple but polite ‘No’. I’m afraid if you show no knowledge of or interest in an author’s books you are unlikely to get a visit. The second teacher has been offered an alternative date as it’s hard to say no when you know your books are enjoyed and appreciated. 

I wonder if these letters reflect back on the teaching of letter writing in school. We have had many children’s letters sent by teachers which have been written as a class lesson. ( I remember one lot which came out of the blue and didn’t even have a covering letter from the teacher). Some letters are short and formulaic, whilst others are more inventive and interesting to read. The few letter that have made their way from individuals via the publisher are special, as they have been written by children who really love Andrew’s books and it’s clear from their letters that reading and writing have not come easily. Real effort was involved. 

We made our children write ‘thank you’ letters by hand on paper for all their birthday and Christmas presents as they were growing up. It was not always easy but they got done and 2 lines was not enough! The turning point came for our second son when his godmother wrote a ‘thank you’ letter to him. He was so thrilled to receive a letter addressed to him in the post, to get the thank you and to hear her news, that ever since he has cheerfully set to and written idiosyncratic letters which have delighted the recipients. I wonder if children who get replies from Andrew feel the same. 

So if, as I suspect, few children write or receive letters at all these days how can we expect young adults to know how to write appropriately for any situation, or have any awareness of the impact their letter on it’s arrival. 

By the way, teachers take note, popular children’s authors like Andrew Norriss are in particular demand for Book Week in October and World Book Day in March so if you want a visit then you’ll probably need to book a year in advance to get the author and the day that you’d like. And it’s worth doing, as having a real author whose books you’ve read and enjoyed in your classroom can have a powerful impact on children’s enthusiasm for books and reading! 

Read Aquila for my School

Read for my School  is a  national schools reading competition is brought about  by The Pearson Foundation and Booktrust, with support from the Department for Education. In 2012 and 2013 Aquila by Andrew Norriss was one of the books available to read for free as an eBook during that time – I don’t know if it is on this year’s list.

Aquila won the Whitbread Children’s Award in 1997 and is a Puffin Modern Classic both of which reflect how good the book is – a well told story with a message delivered with a light humorous touch. Its timeless quality means it’s still being discovered anew after so many years as shown by this review from an American blogger on Nov 19th.

Interesting science fiction book… interesting how the inquiry process really is blatantly presented in this book. Boys skip out on a field trip and discover a skeleton and a spaceship in a cave. Boys learn how to fly around and work the spaceship. Then boys find one thing they’re interested in researching after another. Teachers become concerned and curious about the boyschange in attitude towards reading and learning… I enjoyed the book overall. Wouldn’t mind finding a spaceship to fly around in! Goodreads Summary: Two schoolboys out on a school trip discover a space ship, Aquila. They learn to fly the ship, and to talk Latin – the only language Aquila understands. After many adventures, they realise Aquila is making a real difference to their lives…
The Styling Librarian

So to read one of the best loved children’s books around for free, schools can sign up to Read for my School giving even more children the chance to discover that reading can be fun,  flying your own spaceship is a real possibility  and that school work and learning might not be  such a bad idea after all!

There are brilliant Teaching Ideas and Resources on the Teaching Ideas Website here.

Aquila new

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