Did you know that you can get my How To Draw Videos on Epic!
Epic! are like the netflix of children’s eBooks – they really have got a lot to choose from from K-5 which is similar to Reception through to Year 5 or 6 in the UK. They also have my How to draw videos as well as a huge range of titles to read.
Schools in the US and Canada can get epic for free! Families can get it all for $4.99 a month which is about £4 in the UK
Frightening things are going on in English primary schools.
Never mind the destructive stress-testing of both teachers and pupils, a new, sinister hand is upon the education tiller. Our glorious language is under threat from the Department of Education who are devising new forms of grammar and determining that their new rules are right and anything else is wrong. Pass or fail.
Primary school children in England are being taught new rules of grammar.
Exclamation marks must only end sentences that begin with “what” or “how”. Crazy!
Fronted Adverbials anyone? I’m affronted!
Just as English children get to grips with their language – finding out what fun it is to roll new words around the tongue – just as they gain confidence to describe and joke and pun, playing with the most elastic language in the world – they are now to be bound in a straightjacket of rules that make language a dull, tedious, academic subject that is either right or wrong – pass or fail.
We all know one reason why this is happening. Creativity and individuality cannot be easily graded. Playing is not proper learning. Grammar can be checked in tick-boxes – nice and neat for Google and Big Data
Why would politicians want to waste so much time and effort curtailing the language when there are other pressing and important things for them to deal with?
This is not the English we know and love – the language of Shakespeare, Milton, Churchill, Dahl and JK Rowling. This is censorship. This is New Speak – a top down imposition of how children are expected to think and express themselves. “Think our way or fail.”
English is the world language precisely because its rules are so elastic. English bends and sways, ingests and accepts new ideas but never breaks. However badly it is written, it always delivers.
Imposing rules of grammar is the thin end of thought control.
This ominous meddling needs nipping in the bud right now.
I have been so busy this year, I seem to have quite forgotten to add a blog post about my latest book, Dragon Gold.
At 153 pages, this is the longest book I’ve ever written and one of the very first published by Wales’ very first children’s book publisher – Firefly Press.
Harri would like to know what it feels like to win, just once. Ryan always wins everything. Harri has no chance because Ryan’s Dad does everything for him! He has no chance, that is, until someone walks into his mum’s shop. Someone almost invisible!
So what would you do if your school had a competition to make a dragon – and you had a dragon? A real, fire-breathing very unpredictable dragon? But you can’t tell anyone…
This story began forming in my mind as I went round schools and would notice the children’s entries for making competitions. Some were amazingly brilliant – especially for five year olds. It’s so obvious when parents do the work for their children.
Then I remembered helping my son on a couple of making projects and how I would anxiously wait to hear “how I had done”! I thought about how easy it would be to get a little over involved in one’s children’s school work and so, Ryan’s Dad appeared on the page.
Mr Davies, Harri’s teacher, was great fun to write. I knew that he sounded just like Rob Brydon, the comedian. All I had to do was think, “How would Rob Brydon say this?” and the writing flowed. I was in the green room at the Hay Literature Festival recently, when Rob Brydon himself walked into the room. Without thinking, I pressed a copy into his hands – I hope he enjoys it!
I set out to write a single story but, I suppose after 27 years of writing series books, I know there is a lot more to come. I’m writing my synopses for the next two books. I think it’s a trilogy, but knowing me I’ll leave it open to go on afterwards.