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PAM ROYDS 1924 - 2016

Pam Royds on Grasmere , 1971 with Sally Christie, children’s author and daughter of Philippa Pearce. I was just twenty two when I fir...

About Me

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United Kingdom
My blog is about writing and illustrating children's books which I have been doing since 1974. www.gillianmcclure.com has all my books. I also have another blog: www.paulcoltman.blogspot.com where I publish my father's poems.

Monday, 25 February 2013


Today I visited a Catholic Infant School in Wellingborough who offered me a book signing at the end of the day.
I'm lucky if that happens and the school is prepared to go to the bother of notifying parents that there will be an author in school doing a signing, by sending out a note or a text on the day. I'm luckier still if it’s an Independent school that simply puts any book purchases on the pupils’ end-of-term bill.
Too often, when authors and illustrators ask for a book signing, they are told the school is concerned about burdening hard-up parents with yet another request for money, or there is already a Book Fair in school.
But if, as today, the emphasis is on the visiting author/ illustrator and her books then a good situation arises; children, inspired by a book they’ve been shown in a workshop and who have acted out part of its story with puppets or seen original artwork and sketches belonging to it, are able to take a signed copy home with them to pour over and share with their parents. And the best moment of all is the purchase of a book by a parent who doesn’t normally buy books. Then I see a child walk away with a book that I know will be treasured.



Sunday, 17 February 2013


School budgets have been cut and author/illustrator visits are down in number but with World Day approaching, I’ve found myself with a few bookings. But what does one do on a day in school? Some schools know exactly what they want and have a theme or topic they’d like included, but many schools leave it all up to the author or illustrator.

 So I've had to devise a way of inspiring pupils to want to read, write and illustrate, themselves; a balance between talking about ‘what I do’ and getting them to do something during a fun, hands-on task. Tricky, when you have a huge primary school wanting every class to take part.
The school I recently visited was so large I couldn’t fit every class into the one day but, luckily, they had the funds to have me back for another half day at the end of the week.

  I've always loved sketching and one of the hands-on exercises I find works well is 10 min sketches.
Here are some 10 minute sketches done by Year 4 pupils using chunky white-board markers on A3 paper. With no rubbers and pencils in sight, the pupils were freed up to work fast and enjoy all sorts of different line on paper: 
lines which create  movement,
silhouette and blank spaces
drama and atmosphere.  
These first rough sketches are the setting and the starting point for a story and can inspire even the most reluctant pupils to go on and write something. 

Sunday, 3 February 2013


A few days ago, I went with other writers, illustrators and friends of Jan Ormerod to her memorial gathering at The Falcon Inn in Uppingham. It had been organised by her daughters Laura and Sophie.

Jan will always be remembered for the way she drew children. 
In Moonlight the companion book to her first, award winning, picture book, Sunshine, she is able to show the tenderness between a father and daughter and capture all the stances and mannerisms of small children. (These images come from the first edition of the book.)

She could draw babies like nobody else –
like this one in Lizzie Nonsense, a picture book inspired by her Australian grandmother.
Jan was brought up in Western Australia and she captures the heat of that arid land in Water Witcher by using a limited palette and strong black line.
Again it’s the life and humour in her drawings of the children that make this book so special.
She once said, “My books have largely been a celebration and savoring of the positive experience of parenthood.”
But I think she did more than that. Jan had the ability to capture love, without sentimentality, between the pages of a book; here, a mother- daughter love in this picture from Lizzie Nonsense.