Category Archives: News

Feel Good Friday – British Library Tour hosted by The Educational Writers Group

As part of the EWG social gathering on Friday 23rd September, we met at the new Society of Authors headquarters where we enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch and I must say I was particularly enamoured with the couscous which was delicious. this was the first time I had been to the new building and I was impressed at how spacious it was. We had time to meet other members of the EWG some whom I had not seen since before the lockdowns and I met several new faces.

Society of Authors (c) Tim Gallinger

After lunch, we had a short walk to the British Library. At the library we were met by curator Helen Melody who gave us an introduction to the British Library’s Contemporary Literary and Theatrical archives with her colleague Rachel Foss.

The materials they presented included a volume of handwritten correspondence with John Masefield from the Society of Authors archive. John Masefield was Poet Laureate from 1930 and President of the society from 1937. One of the letters was asking about suitable wording in a contract to give permissions for his poems to be put to music in the US and also included in anthologies. There were also a Ted Hughes Birthday Letters notebook for us to look at. Of course, we had to ask for each page to be turned to read the handwritten letters but this added to how special it was.

I was also able to see the autographed manuscript of J. G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun showing his alterations, two beautifully illustrated poetry notebooks by Lawrence Durrell, an autographed playscript by Victor James de Spiganovicz, an annotated typescript of To Sir With Love by E. R. Braithwaite, one of the largest scrapbook volumes from the P. G. Wodehouse archive and the autographed manuscript of In Praise of Love and Children by Beryl Gilroy .

British Library archives –
manuscript of J. G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun

But my personal favourite archive exhibit was the six Little Nippers Books written by Beryl Gilroy, which I spent way too long looking at wanting to read every page. The Little Nippers Book series are humorous early readers tackling issues of race designed by Leila Berg in reaction to the middle-class Ladybird Peter and Jane books. She worried too many young readers would see, ‘…no reflection of themselves, nothing that tells them they belong in this world.’

Beryl Gilroy was the first black headteacher in London. She is heralded as one of the most extensively published Caribbean writers of her time. Her Little Nippers Books were based on her experience with children she taught in Camden. They were published in the 1970’s and depict children of different ethnic origins. For more information on Beryl Gilroy see: The British Library – Beryl Gilroy. Other contributors to the Little Nippers Books include Jaqueline Wilson, Shirley Hughes and George Him.

When we had finished looking at the archives, which went way too quickly, we were given a tour of the library itself led by librarian and tour guide extraordinaire, James Hughes. He told us a bit about the history of the building and how it was built to amalgamate the arts and the sciences for the first time. I was particularly impressed that a large part of the building is eco-friendly using recycled materials, down to the white oak shipped from a US sustainable forest which was not available in the British Isles.

James told us some interesting facts about the eight levels of archives in the basement. I learnt how they have been especially designed to prevent damp and any excessive water is pumped into the River Fleet and the books are they kept at a constant temperature of 15C. Our next stop was the Alan Turin Centre where we saw the original Enigma machine and letters from Lady Lovelace to Babbage.

Enigma machine at the British Library

Then we were taken behind the scenes and allowed to sit in £400 seats especially deigned to support the majority of people sitting for long periods of time and we learnt the lighting in the reading rooms is designed to prevent flickering. After this we looked at the King George III archives, which includes the King’s Maritime collection of sea charts.

Next we went to my favourite room of all – The Treasures room. Here the lights are kept low to help preserve the books and documents. There were so many things to see in this room that at first I felt a bit overwhelmed at the sheer wonder of it, as it hosts many sacred texts from around the world.

As well as the Guttenberg Bible and the history that surrounds it, I particularly liked the desk Jane Austen wrote her novels given to her by her father in 1794, some of the original writings from Charles Dickens and Shakespeare’s First Folio compiled in 1623, seven years after his death and published by Isaac Iaggard and Edward Blount. I also liked Florence Nightingale’s original Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army in the East that had convinced the authorities of the importance of hygiene in the army hospitals.

We ended the tour by taking a look at the Magna Carta. This peace treaty was first issued by King John in 1215.

On the whole this was one of the best events I have attended at the Society of Authors so far. I would highly recommend it.

Inspirations from the Bookshelf – Lynn Stuart

For a recent issue of the SCBWI British Isles online magazine, Words & Pictures, I interviewed Lynn Stuart about what authors have inspired her writing. She explained that she is inspired by the work of Hugh Chesterman and Dr Seuss.

She told me how she was introduced to Hugh Chesterman after purchasing Number 11 Joy Street in 2007. The illustrations reminded her of the Dr Seuss books as both authors have a great sense of fun and adventure. Lynn elaborated that her most vivid memory of Dr Seuss is reading The Lorax to her daughter in 1995 and the enjoyment on her face.

“The more I read by Hugh Chesterman and Dr Seuss, the more I am impressed with them. It’s just my opinion, but I believe Dr Seuss was inspired by Chesterman in the same way he has inspired me.”

Lynn Stuart

Lynn recommends children’s authors should read The Lorax by Dr Seuss, as it is a book very much ahead of its time about industrialisation and its effect on nature.

To read the complete feature take a look at: Words & Pictures – INSPIRATIONS FROM THE BOOKSHELF Hugh Chesterman and Dr. Seuss.

My New Venture

I am really very excited… more than excited! Can you be more than excited? Ecstatic maybe! I am launching a brand new enterprise for me. I am venturing into the world of Children’s Book Blog Tours. It is something I have been thinking of getting involved with for a long time. After all I have the connections and I have a well established blog with a good following. So now I have set the wheels in motion and put out a few feelers and I’ve had an amazing response.

My very first participation in a Children’s Book Blog Tour will be on Tuesday 3rd May when I am hosting Clare Helen Welsh for the launch of her new book How Messy! published by Happy Yak an imprint of Quarto. Here is a list of the schedule:

You can see I will be concluding the tour and we have a great interview all lined up and waiting to go. And this is not the only one. I have others lined up too to be revealed soon. Told you it was exciting!

So keep an eye out for my blog on future blog tours and if you want to ensure you do not miss any, you could always type your email into the subscribe box. Oh yes… and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Hope to see you soon. Have fun!

Spring is Here

What a great time of year. I love it when the trees come back to life with leaves and beautiful blossom. To celebrate the joys of spring I have written a post for Shepherd about my spring book recommendations and you can see it here: https://shepherd.com/best-books/introduce-young-children-to-spring-and-the-seasons

Shepherd.com is a website that invites authors to share their favourite books around topics and themes they are passionate about and why they recommend each book. My post is about the best books to introduce young children to spring and the seasons.

Spring is the perfect time to read my picture books Rabbit’s Spring Gift and Rabbit’s Spring Adventure. These books are very popular for school visits and are both published by QED publishers, a subsidiary of Quarto.

Rabbit’s Spring Gift by Anita Loughrey and Lucy Barnard

Rabbit’s Spring Gift is illustrated by Lucy Barnard. It is part of the A Year in Nature series. It has a theme of sibling rivalry set around the concept of spring. Rabbit wants to give her mum a thank you gift, but her brother tries to out-do her at every turn, so Rabbit decides to hunt out the perfect gift. The book intertwines family relationships and the changing seasons. At the back of the book there are activities suitable for young children to do in the spring. These could be carried out at home or in the classroom.

Rabbit’s Spring Adventure by Anita Loughrey and Daniel Howarth

Rabbit’s Spring Adventure is illustrated by Daniel Howarth. It is part of the Animal Seasons series. You can discover the beginnings of new life with Rabbit as he leaves the warren to search for all the signs of spring, from the bright flowers that speckle the grass to the frogspawn that bobs on the pond. There are again activities and teacher /parent notes at the back of the book.

Have a lovely spring break.

A Year in Nature

Today is World Book Day and I am busy doing virtual visits using my book Rabbit’s Spring Gift, which is beautifully illustrated by Lucy Barnard and published by Quarto Publishing.

This delightful picture book about friendship and the changing seasons that includes activities, crafts and discussion points to develop an understanding of the natural world. It is the ideal book for virtual visits throughout the Spring Term with reception and Key Stage One children. Rabbit’s Spring Gift is a tender and reassuring story of sibling rivalry and gift-giving. Rabbit wants to give her brother a thank you gift but her brother tries to out-do-her at every turn.

A virtual visit would consist of a 30 minute session to include:

  • An introduction about me and my books
  • A little background information about writing Rabbit’s Spring Gift
  • A reading of the book
  • A discussion about spring and the kinds of things they do during the spring eg. spring walks, spring art, planting seeds, etc.
  • A spring activity.
  • Q+A

The other books in the series are Frog’s summer Journey which was launched with Rabbit’s Spring Gift last March at the beginning of the first lockdown in the UK. Squirrel’s Autumn Puzzle and Fox’s Winter Discovery will be launched this Autumn. All these fantastic picture books would be suitable to do similar virtual visits throughout the year.

If you are interested in booking a virtual visit to help with distance learning or enhance the children’s education in the classroom please get in touch through my website to enquire about prices and availability http://www.anitaloughrey.com

Happy New Year

2020 did not go as good as I had hoped. So many author visits were cancelled throughout the spring and summer terms and some of my books were postponed, due to this awful crisis we have all had to strive through. I have managed to drag myself back on my feet with the launch of my new virtual visits, which are proving to be a great success. You can book for for a visit through my website contact page or Authors Aloud UK.

In 2021 I hope to continue growing my followers and publicising my books. If you would like to help me with this goal please follow my blog and follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow my dogs Instagram account here.

Also later in 2021, my new picture books will finally hit the shelves after being postponed for a year. So keep an eye out for them.

Squirrel's Autumn Puzzle
Fox's Winter Discovery

I hope you all have a healthy 2021 and it brings everything you wish for.

Merry Christmas to you All

Thank you to all my followers, friends and family for the tremendous support you have given me over this extremely difficult year for us all. You have all been amazing. I have been blogging for two years now and although I found it very difficult to continue to write during the first lockdown your encouragement and positive comments helped me to get back on my feet and get going again. I hope you have found the information I have shared with you over 2020 useful and informative.

If there is anything you would like me to write about, any books you would love to see me review, or any of my interviews you would like me to share, please let me know.

I look forward to posting many more book reviews and interviews next year. If there is anything you would like me to write about, any books you would love to see me review, or any of my interviews you would like me to share, please let me know.

I wish you all a fantastic Christmas even though your family and loved ones may be unable to be with you.

My radio debut

On Wednesday 8th April, I was invited to talk about my new books on the 24-hour Internet radio station covering UK National & International, Chat and Spin radio station.  Their Head Office is based in Washington, Tyne And Wear. They have over 30,000 listeners each week. They have been interviewing authors from all over the world about their new books and where people can purchase them. My time slot was at 7:50 pm.

You can listen to a recording of the show I was on about 40 minutes in here:

I am talking about my new picture books, Rabbits’s Spring Gift and Frog’s Summer Journey. They are part of the A Year in Nature series of seasonal animal led picture books published by Quarto Educational (QED) and they have been illustrated by Lucy Barnard.

Spring and Summer books2

The release of the other two books in the series, Squirrels’ Autumn Puzzle and Fox’s Winter Discovery, have been postponed until September 2021.

After the show they invited me back for another interview on Saturday 18th April at 11:20 am. Here is  a recording of the show:

I am about 2 hours 20 mins in. This is now going to be a regular slot over the next few weeks during the corona virus lock down. You can tune in every Saturday at 11:20 to listen to me talking about my books.

You can listen to the show live on the Chat and Spin radio website: www.chatandspinradio.com

You can find out more about me and my books on my website: www.anitaloughrey.com

Or follow me on Twitter @amloughrey and Instgram @anitaloughrey

Rabbit’s Spring Adventure

In 2012, I wrote a series of picture books based around the seasons which were part of the Animal Seasons series. They are published by QED and illustrated by Daniel Howarth.Season collage

You can listen to a reading of Rabbit’s Spring Adventure read by Jessica Zumhingst on YouTube. Jessica is a Kindergarten Teacher at North Park Elementary.

This year I have had the first two picture books also based on the seasons released just last month. They are part of a new series called A Year in Nature that compliment the previous series. They are also published by QED but this time they are illustrated by Lucy Barnard.