school visits

I’ll always remember my first school visit, nearly two years ago. I started off at one hundred miles an hour, and was more stand-up comedian than considered author. My one-hour slot with about fifty children went on, thanks to the absence of a wall clock or watch, for over two hours. Unbelievably, the children remained engaged, and the teachers were more than happy for me to fill the Friday afternoon window. I had to go to bed afterwards.

Since then I’ve become more structured, but lost none of the fun. Every visit is different but the basic aim of the session is for the children to make up a story, using the props I bring, their imaginations and their voices. I leave much of it up to them, only guiding the narrative to ensure we stay true to our characters and manage a beginning, middle and end. I always spend some time ensuring our finale is fabulous as I can’t bear endings that don’t fully satisfy. There are always more ideas than time and more hands in the air than I can ask.

One of my most popular props, the night-vision goggles, are modelled here.

I work with up to 60 children, including both boys and girls in years 3 to 6. I read a short extract from Tribe (if we don’t run out of time) and am happy to sign copies of my books after a Q&A session.

Some children at one of my school visits made up a clapping song about me. How very flattering.

Please read these recommendations from children and staff.

T.M. Alexander is a member of The Society of Authors, National Association of Writers in Education and is CRB checked.

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jottings of a writer and cyclist