Blimey. Where do I begin? As Julio Iglesias (ask your gran) once memorably never sang, where do I begin to begin?
The Scottish Friendly Book Tour has been – and now, in time honoured fashion, has gone again. It’s over. Just like that. And what a week it was. Never mind me educating Yorkshire. If anything it’s been the other way round.
Ten schools and fourteen hundred children. It’s been an absolute joy from start to finish. And no, I’m not just saying that. Stop being so cynical. It really has been a joy.
The responses and reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, enthusiastic and in some cases, darn nearly riotous. And while I like to think I can take just a teensy bit of credit for that – well, I’m going to anyway, so ner, ner, ner, ner, ner – a lot of it has to go down to the schools, the teachers and yes, the children themselves. They’ve been absolutely brilliant.
There’s simply no substitute for seeing the whites of your reader’s eyes. Seeing their preconceptions of what authors are supposed to be like, being smashed into tiny pieces. Seeing little lights going on inside their minds. As for some of the comments? Frankly I’m far too modest to start quoting any of them here – no matter how much I’d like to. But take it from me, getting a live author (as opposed to a dead one) into a school can have a pretty dramatic impact, not only on the day but for an awful long time afterwards too.
Kids who previously thought books and reading were boooor-ring really can be won over – even if it does take some unhinged middle-aged bloke singing Get Lucky, taking the mickey out of teachers (in a nice way, obviously) and mentioning bodily functions rather too often, to do it.
For example. I’m not saying that’s what I do. Obviously. But whatever it takes, basically. That’s my motto. Well, no it’s not because I don’t actually have a motto. But if I did, that’s what it would be.
Actually I am going to mention one thing before I go. To heck with faux coyness and fake modesty. Halfway through one session this week, the head teacher came into the hall and stood watching and listening. Not so much to me – as the 200 or so kids sat on the floor, enjoying themselves. She only stayed for a couple of minutes, but on the way out she was heard to say to one of her staff, “I want a complete set of books for every class.”
Thank you Hull and Sheffield. My work here is done.