22180003_10154700663816090_6218348763575137674_oIt’s been busy, busy, busy on the campaign trail as Thimble Monkey Superstar bids to be the first Welsh winner of a Lolly (see below): thanks to Coryton and Adamsdown primary schools for two great events and shedloads of Thimble sales!  But the really exciting news is that Thimble Holiday Havoc is at the printers and all set for its launch on November 9!  THH will be my 61st book and in my own humble opinion one of my best.  Ten years of home exchange holidays gave me the material, plus some imagination of course as we didn’t have a crazy monkey tagging along with us!  THH is available for preorder at all the usual stockists, including my fabulous publishers FireflyPress!

oct 8 talkThimble on tour

The Thimble bandwagon is steadily rolling on in our quest for world domination! Had a great day in Aberbargoed for the Velvet Coalmine festival (favourite comment: “Are you coming here every day?”) and took part in the Lollies blog tour with a blog and a Q&A session on the popular Family Bookworms site.  Events coming up include visits to Coryton and Adamsdown primary schools, my October 8th event for adults in Bute Park (see poster) and (fanfare please) the launch of Thimble Holiday Havoc!  Details of this earth-shattering event will follow shortly.

Don’t forget, Thimble can’t win the Lollies without votes, so if you love it please vote here!

September events

I’ve jurbf5st had a frabjous day signing books at the Rhondda Book Fair, following library events in Pengam and Rhiwbina.  Next up is an appearance at the Velvet Coalmine day in Blackwood on Wednesday 13 Sept.  And on Sunday 8th October I’m talking and answering questions at my favourite haunt, Bute Park Education Centre. That event, from 1-3pm, will also be a celebration of 30 years as  Cardiff author.

Librarians and teachers are welcome to get in touch with me to arrange visits during the voting period for the 2017 Lollies (more about this and Thimble Monkey Superstar below) while my rates are unbelievably cheap!

Thimble July news

jtSince Thimble Monkey Superstar was shortlisted for the 2017 Lollies (Laugh Out Loud awards) the Thimble bandwagon’s been growing by the day.  I’ve been interviewed on BBC Radio Wales, once on my own and once with my brilliant son Jordi (who predictably stole the show).  We’ve had a whole page feature in the South Wales Echo and a glowing review in the South Wales Evening Post.  I’ve appeared at school fetes, the Bobath Wales fete and Disability Awareness Day in Warrington, and have a whole load of school and library visits in the diary.   Social media has gone Thimble mad, with reviews, blogs and videos extolling the virtues of the nutty monkey and his disabled friend Jams.   With so much going on I’ve suspended my creative writing classes for the rest of the year, which means if anyone wants me for an author visit, I’m available!

Just a reminder that we need votes to win the Lollies!  If you love Thimble and want to see a winner which is not only LOL funny but features a fantastic boy with cerebral palsy not unlike my son, please don’t forget to vote!  This is where to do it.

Thimble shortlisted for Lollies

1o7m1xThimble Monkey Superstar has been shortlisted for a 2017 Lollies award!  A Laugh Out Loud award is one of the most sought-out prizes in UK children’s fiction, so this is a huge honour.  Thimble has been selected for the 6 to 8 age range, but I do want to emphasise that older kids and even adults love this book!  Good luck to the other shortlisted writers, although I still haven’t got over Jacqueline Wilson pipping me when I was shortlisted for the 1996 Children’s Book Award, also with illustrator Martin Chatterton!  Congratulations too to Firefly Press, a small publisher from my home town of Cardiff who are deservedly gaining a name for themselves.  Why not visit their website to buy Thimble at a discount price?

The Lollies award will be decided by popular vote, so please spread the word if you love Thimble:  to vote click here.

Thimble chosen for Summer Reading Challenge

Thimble Monkey Superstar has been chosen for the Summer Reading Challenge 2017.  The selection of Thimble as one of the books for older readers, by the Reading Agency, tops a great first year for my latest comic novel.  I’ve yet to read a bad review of it, and look forward to hearing from a host of new readers this summer!  The full Reading Challenge list is here.

Stop press:  Thimble has also now been chosen as one of Toppsta’s top summer reads for 7 year olds!

Thimble in Toppsta’s best of 2016 list

Thimble Monkey Superstar has made Toppsta’s best children’s books of 2016 list!  The lovable nutty monkey is included in the top 12 books loved by the 6+ age group.  Many thanks for the compliment.

More Thimble events and interviews

I’ve been very busy lately: an interview on the Radio Wales Arts Show on Wednesday, a session at the new Cardiff Book Festival Saturday (accompanied by my apprentice Jordi Blake, see www.jordiblake.co.uk), and in a week or so an interview with Debbie McGee on Radio Berkshire.  The book is going down a storm – see Toppsta for some lovely reviews from the people who really matter to me, my readers.

Thimble Monkey is getting everywhere!

cuphvqew8aeslpb-jpg-largeIt’s been a busy week for me: on Wednesday 5 Oct I read from Thimble Monkey Superstar at the Bobath Centre in Cardiff to mark World Cerebral Palsy Day, and on Saturday I took part on Firefly Day at Waterstones Cardiff, aided and abetted by my brilliant apprentice Jordi Blake. We were lucky enough to be drawn by the one and only Shoo Rayner, who is also a Firefly author – Firefly being the up-and-coming Cardiff publisher which has just won the Branford Boase award, named after my great mentor and friend Wendy Boase, formerly the senior editor at Walker Books. It was Wendy who really got my career going and I’m sure she would have been happy to see how well my latest book is being received!

radnor launchThimble is out!

I’ve been a successful children’s author for over 30 years, but Thimble Monkey Superstar, published on May 19th by Firefly Press, is a new departure for me. That’s because its main character, Jams, is based on my own son Jordi, who has cerebral palsy.

There are far too few books for children which feature characters with disabilities, and from fairy stories to Roald Dahl, physical difference is all too often associated with evil. I wanted to create a character who is just that, a character. Jams’ disability is part of who he is but he is not defined by it. He’s also warm, funny, creative and optimistic – rather like Jordi.

Right from the start, we have involved Bobath Wales in the promotion of the book. Bobath, an important provider of therapy for children with CP, are selling the book on their website and taking part of the proceeds.

I do want to emphasise that Thimble Monkey Superstar is not a boring educational book! It’s been a big hit with the children who’ve read it because it’s a fun, funny story. Hopefully it will lead to a series and many more children will get swept up in the adventures of Jams and Thimble.

Thimble Monkey Superstar