Being Guest Author for Book Week November 2020 was an amazing experience. Reading ‘A little bit EXTRAORDINARY’ to seven classes prompted lively discussion with pupils and teachers about being an author, publishing a book and, most importantly, the values my book teaches. Even the P1s talked about the concepts of sharing, celebrating difference and saying sorry when we upset other people.

The P7s asked me who my favourite author is. I replied that one of them is Julia Donaldson as I love her books, especially “The Gruffalo”. This was met with a chorus of laughter and they announced they were about to watch “The Gruffalo” animation for the first time as some classes had focused on ’The Gruffalo’ for Book Week. I relayed how I spent several hours making one of my sons a Gruffalo birthday cake some years ago when he was obsessed with the book and we knew the words off by heart. ‘Delicious cake’ is mentioned on a page in my book – another form of creativity that brings joy in the making, sharing and consumption!

I explained to the P7s that I won the prize for English at my secondary school’s GCSE Awards Night for “Most Improved in English”, so I encouraged the P7s to follow their passion, whatever it may be, even if they feel they are not the best at it because if they love it, they will keep trying and continue to improve. It’s like David Beckham and his passion for football. He kept practising and dedicating himself to his passion to become one of the best through perseverance. I met a few aspiring authors and illustrators and encouraged them to pursue their passion. Doing what you love is the most important thing because when you love something, you are more likely to put the most effort into it and then reap the rewards. Any struggle along the way is offset by enjoyment and fulfilment.

My book was used by another primary school during Anti-Bullying Week November 2020 as it provided the perfect platform to talk about being unique, celebrating difference and how empathy with other people decreases bullying. John, the Primary School Teaching Principal, commented: “‘A Little Bit EXTRAORDINARY’ is an excellent teaching resource, which we used throughout the school during Anti-Bullying Week November 2020. The book beautifully illustrates and explains the celebration of being unique. Feedback from pupils and staff has been very positive and the children ask to hear the story again and again, which is always the real test of how good a book is.”

My heart sings as I witness my book achieving its purpose in the world. Words have the power to change lives – for better or worse. What words will you choose to write or speak? Make them a gift to share wisdom, love, comfort and inspiration.