At the start of 2015, we launched one of our most exciting competitions to date. During the launch of new children's bookshop, The Alligator's Mouth, the winning Little Star Writers had the opportunity to interview some of the UK's most-loved authors and illustrators, including Jacqueline Wilson, Chris Riddell (the new children's Laureate 2015-2017), Axel Scheffler, Ian Beck, Sophy Henn, Smriti Prasadam-Halls, Jim Smith, Elizabeth Laird, Natasha Farrant and Sarah McIntyre. The Little Star Writers had an absolute blast meeting some of their idols, and some of them even got books signed! We'd like to say a big thank you to The Alligator's Mouth for inviting the Little Star Writers to meet the authors at their launch - what a brilliant day! Their write-ups from the event will be posted on our blog soon...
We are lucky enough to take our workshops all over the UK (and around the world!), but we felt extra fortunate to be invited to Oxford Literature Festival and run a workshop in one of the Oxford University campuses. The children that attended were full of enthusiasm and had some incredible, creative ideas - I don't think any of us wanted it to end!
We feel incredibly lucky to have connections with some of biggest children's publishers, to meet some of our favourite authors and work with some of the most inspiring and creative people in the publishing industry. As if that wasn't enough, some of the world's most famous illustrators have shown their support for LSW by designing their own versions of Little Star Writers, and we couldn't be more grateful.
Chris Riddell (the Children's Laureate 2015-2017) drew us a kooky underwater star, Axel Scheffler (illustrator of 'The Gruffalo') drew us a reporter star, Sophy Henn (World Book Day Illustrator 2015) designed a student Star Writer, and Sarah McIntyre entertained a group of Little Star Writers whilst drawing an 80s dancing star.
We adore our Little Star illustrations and are hoping to add more to our collection soon!
When we launched our special World Book Day Poetry Competition, we had no idea how popular it was going to be! After reading hundreds of entries from more than 75 schools around the UK and even as far as America and Uganda, the winning entry belonged to Emma from York. Our judges thought it was 'honest, witty, and cleverly written'.
This poem proves that when you forget about the spelling, grammar, punctuation, and all those other writing rules that prove a bit overwhelming at times, all you need to focus on is getting your thoughts onto paper (no matter how awful you think they are at the time) and you can call yourself ‘a writer’.
*THE WRITING SORT*
I’m not the writing sort,
But my teacher told me to get on with it,
Leaving me with no support.
So I guess I’d better write,
Or I’ll be here all night,
So here goes,
I might do something good.
Although I hate that I have to spell,
I could actually write very well,
If Miss would only let me look,
In that great big spelling book.
I’m supposed to use,
CAPitAl LETterS and full. St.Ops,
But it’s not like they’re gonna’ call the cops,
I mean, they say to add in similes,
Like it’s as easy as pie,
And that you can’t start a sentence with and,
Or start rhyming and then stop.
They teach us to write with metaphors,
But pens are swords,
They are disastrous in the wrong hands.
They say, us,e commas for pauses,
But als,o for, clauses
Especially when they talk about apostrophes,
They look the same only flying,
That’s what I’d like to do, I’m trying.
Whoa! Look at everything I’ve written!
Next thing I know, I’m writing poetry for Britain,
I’m the writing sort,
I can do it all with no support.
And here is the poem that inspired the whole competition...
'Imagine' by Little Star Writer, Morgan
Imagine a world with no books.A world with no happiness,
A world where you dread the darkness around every corner,
A world with every smile extinct,
No ideas, no joy, no history.
Books bring us communication.
They give us inspiration.
Every sentence, every word, every letter counts.
When I was new, words gave me comfort,
As I grew, they made me smile,
Now as a child, I am full of wonder.
Imagine a world with no books.
Ishaan, age 9, has been attending Little Star Writing workshops for almost two years and we instantly recognised his natural ability to write beautiful prose and create meaningful and powerful storylines. Ishaan's story 'The Rose Seller' is no exception, and we are delighted that it has been shortlisted for the biggest children's writing competition in the country - Radio2's BBC 500 Words Competition. Ishaan's hard work certainly paid off on this occasion - out of more than 120,000 submissions, his story was graded in the top 3% and we could not be prouder. Congratulations Ishaan!
We were immensely proud when we discovered three of our Little Star Writers had been shortlisted for the ArtsRichmond Young Writers Award, but imagine our delight when they announced that Little Star Writer Ishaan WON his category with his heart-wrenching story entitled 'The Rose Seller', Little Star Writer Oscar received the runner-up award for his comical action story 'The Lava Within' AND that the current Little Star Writer of the Year, Agata, had won the commended award in her highly-competitive category. Congratulations to all three of you - we can't wait to see your names on our bookshelves in the future!
We'd like to say a huge congratulations to Little Star Writers, Martha, Girija and Lottie, who participated in a recent Storytelling Festival with a variety of local schools. With the task of learning a three minute story and performing it to an audience of judges, teachers, parents and other finalists, they did incredibly well - Girija's group even won their category, and Martha was a runner up. Well done!
In what turned out to be one of the most entertaining and chaotic author events we've ever attended, we were delighted to sit front-row with lots of Little Star Writers at a reading of Russell Brand's first children's book, 'The Pied Piper of Hamlin'. Chris Riddell was even there to provide live illustrations, and after Russell took questions from the audience, he invited some children onto the stage with him. (Cue stampede of 500 excited children...)
Little Star Writing were invited to hold some workshops at Kew Green Preparatory School during their 'Poetry Week' in January 2015. Not only did we witness some incredible writing talent and have a blast teaching years 3 & 4, we also organised for an extra special visitor to hold some workshops for years 5 & 6. Children's author, poet and songwriter Laura Dockrill, cast her magic on the KGPS students and helped inspire them ahead of their annual poetry competition...
After meeting David Walliams at the end of 2014, we were delighted to receive a special handwritten note and signed photo from him, addressed to all Little Star Writers, urging them to 'keep reading, it's good for you!' As you can imagine, the Little Star Writers were absolutely thrilled!
In November 2014, LSW launched a competition to win tickets to a rare Jacqueline Wilson event. Little Star Writer Amelia (age 8) was the lucky winner and she loved meeting her favourite author. She met the lady herself, heard about her life as an author and even got some books signed. Check back soon for Amelia's write-up...
In December 2014, Little Star Writing held a competition to attend the premiere of David Walliams' book adaptation of 'Boy in the Dress'. The lucky winner was Little Star Writer, Francesco, and as well as being one of the first people to watch the film, he also got to meet David Walliams and get his books signed!
On November 29th 2014, Little Star Writers, Layla, Hannah and Lena became journalists for the day and interviewed Axel Scheffler, illustrator of 'The Gruffalo' at Kew Bookstore. They asked some brilliant questions and even posed for photos for the Richmond & Twickenham Times. Their write-up will be posted on the LSW Blog soon...
In July 2014, the Little Star Writers experienced onof the most rewarding parts of being a writer - seeing their words in print. The publication of the LSW 2014 Book bought laughter, tears (of the happy kind), and a frantic scramble to grab a copy of their book to show their friends and family.
As always, the LSW Book sold out in break-neck speed, and we have had some fantastic feedback from students, parents and teachers alike. Keep an eye out on our blog for a showcase of some of the Little Star Writer's stories, poems, song lyrics, scripts and other writing.
After the success of LSW in the UK, we were thrilled to be invited to hold workshops at some British International Schools in Cyprus. We taught over 500 students aged 7-11 at Highgate Private School in Nicosia and The Heritage School in Limassol, and had a great time introducing them to some new writing rules.
In February 2014, we had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the incredible illustrator, Quentin Blake, at work, and Little Star Writers, Catherine, Stella and Serena met their favourite authors, Cressida Cowell (How To Train Your Dragon) and Lauren Child (Charlie & Lola, Clarice Bean). What a week!
During the February half term, we were lucky enough to get front row tickets to a very rare Jacqueline Wilson event. The inspiring children's author told stories from her childhood and told us where she gets her inspiration from. She even had time to show a quick slideshow of photos, answer some questions and pose for photos. It was lovely to share the moment with some Little Star Writers, too!
In February 2014, we were asked to hold a very special workshop at the Imagine Children's Festival. After lots of laughter, sharing ideas and adding graffiti to the tables (it's okay - we asked them to!), the Little Star Writers collectively wrote the end of a story, and then listened to storyteller, Vanessa Woolf, tell the story on stage to everyone at the festival. It was a workshop bursting with ideas, creativity and imagination, and we only wish it could have gone on all day!
What do you get when you have a group of Little Star Writers, a long queue, games, reading and lots of sweets? An author signing of course! In December 2013, some very dedicated 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' fans met the very popular children's author, Jeff Kinney.
With the opportunity to meet the man himself, ask questions and get their books signed, the Little Star Writers had a jam packed afternoon and loved having the very rare opportunity to meet this much loved author.