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Rocked!

It was magical. A truly heart-warming experience that still sends shivers down my spine and I get a lump in my throat just listening to the video (replayed again and again) every time!

I was presenting at a primary school in Pitmedden, a small town past Aberdeen. It was a Monday afternoon and the kids were still  getting into the swing of the new week. It was a straight-forward performance, nothing special… just the usual reading session, bums and bogies, my normal enthusiasm and energy for books and 160 pupils in the audience.

And then it happened…

I wasn’t prepared for it, wasn’t expecting it and I was so shocked and thrilled by the effect I’d had on the kids that I was almost too slow to grab my phone.

The pupils spontaneously burst into a chant of Reading rocks! Reading rocks! Reading rocks! They were so inspired by my book presentation that they needed an outlet for their own enthusiasm – it wasn’t planned, rehearsed or even part of a normal gig – they just went for it as they queued to head back to class.

And it went on and on and on…

Eventually I snatched up my phone to capture the moment, there’s only one minute of tape but they kept it up for at least a minute before and a minute after I pressed ‘record’ – my only regret is I didn’t want to film the kids (their faces were brilliant) so I pointed the camera at the screen. It’s not right to record children in schools without permission but I didn’t want to miss their energy. Just listen to it.

The teachers didn’t want to stop it, every single pupil was openly admitting a love for reading, unafraid of what anyone else thought and books were cool again!

The head even said later she’d never seen such a passionate response to books, literacy or reading and it was at that moment that I truly realised that I was born to present the Reading Rocks! events. I was put on this planet to inspire kids to read more books, more often.

Just turn the sound up and enjoy!

I LOVE BEING AN AUTHOR ;)

Reading Rocks On!

ReadingRocks hi-smallb

ReadingRocks hi-smallbIt’s been 355 days, 246 schools, 6 libraries, 5 book festivals, 55,000 kids performed to, 31 Edinburgh Festival events and over 10,000 books sold since I last updated my website!

My apologies but trust me, I’ve been a bit busy.

The last few months especially have been all about change, and taking charge of the important things. I ditched my old publisher in June, started working with a fantastic new illustrator called John Pender, secured my first international rights deal and published my 4th book in record time, ready for the Edinburgh Festival.

I’ll go into more details about all that stuff over the next few months but now the new school term has started and my diary is chocka with more bookings than ever. My new show Reading Rocks! is really taking off, inspiring kids to read more books, more often.

Fuzzy with PhilipAnd I never thought I’d top last year’s appearance at the Wigtown Book Festival alongside the Book Trust’s Writer-in-Residence Philip Ardargh (that’s Big Phil in the photo, apparently his beard makes all selfies go fuzzy) until I was invited to a book festival in Yorkshire… alongside… wait for it… MICHAEL MORPURGO!!!! You just might hear me mention this once or twice on Twitter @StuartReidBooks in the next few weeks :D

Oh, and I’ve formed a new top secret company called Gorgeous Gararge Ltd that plans to take over the world in the next few years. Watch this space!

New cover (john)Gorgeous George and the Unidentified Unsinkable Underpants Part 2 was released on the 31st July 2014 and launched at the Edinburgh Festival. It was originally meant to released in March, then promised in May, and again in June before I thought I would do it myself. No messing, no pifling around, just do it! (note to newbie authors – if publishers tell you it’s complicated, expensive, time-consuming or there’s things you won’t understand, don’t believe them. It’s not that tricky, costly or complicated, just don’t allow yourself to become distracted)

It’s endorsed by the Fast Show’s Charlie Higson, who said ‘It’s Underpantastic!’, which I think is my favourite quote of all time. In fact, Charlie has been a brilliant help, we’ve been tweeting back and forth and he’s even sent me loads of stuff for my creative writing workshops. As well as appearing on the telly Charlie writes his own books, including the Young James Bond series and his zombie-horror collection, starting with The Enemy, which I refer at schools; it’s really creepy, the kids love it.

And finally, here’s a sneeky peak at one of the illustrations from the soon-to-be-rereleased Gorgeous George and the Giant Geriatric Generator. We celebrated the third anniversary of the publication of my first book back in August and it’s so exciting to see George’s new style developing, cooler, edgier and more dynamic than ever before. John’s a talented artist and there’s plenty more awesome artwork to follow.

And I promise you won’t need to wait another 355 days for the next post!

Grandpa Jock fighting

PS I realise that I’ve just mentioned Philip Ardargh, Charlie Higson and Michael Morpurgo in the same post, so apologies. David Walliams told me it was rude to name-drop.

 

Have fun. Learn lots.

False Teeth

Thank you for visiting my website. After 25 years in retail and hospitality management I have discovered my true vocation in life – writing, storytelling, presenting and  helping children learn to love reading.

Books are brilliant. Books are a stairway to the infinite reaches of the imagination and a gateway to the unfathomable depths of the soul.

If a child can unlock that skill and ability to visualise words as pictures inside their head then every time they pick up a book, for the rest of their lives, they can be transported to fantastic faraway places by the  author’s words.

Children must be taught that reading is fun. Books must be an adventure. It doesn’t have be boring or mundane or just for homework. Children must be allowed to read books they want to read, not just books that adults think they should.

Learning to love reading means learning to have lots of fun.

Books can  be yucky, disgusting, messy, imaginative, funny, crazy or just plain stupid but if it means that children learn to love words, then they have done their job well.

My presentations are enthusiastic, engaging and energetic. Audience participation is not only requested but expected.

Have fun. Learn lots. is a phrase I have repeated to my children every single day they went to school. I believe these two intertwined essentials are the foundation to a successful and happy childhood.

Oh, and the ability to laugh at bums, bogies and big bottom burps.