Read Books - Or Else! (A visit to Lampton School)

I'm very busy with the last few chapters of the second Goblins book at the moment (I know, the first Goblins book isn't even officially out yet, but it should be around soon: I hope to be posting Exciting News about it here in the next few weeks).   But I'm just taking the evening off to blog about a couple of fantastic schools I visited in London earlier this month.

The first is Lampton School in Hounslow, a large modern comprehensive which is classed as 'outstanding' by the Department for Education, and quite rightly so, as far as I could see.  The well-stocked library library seems very popular with the pupils, who had had a say in picking its snazzy red and green colour scheme.  I spoke to a large group there, who listened patiently to a version of my usual spiel about the things which turned me into a writer and the books I've written since.  They asked interesting questions afterwards, and I ended up signing quite a lot of books...

Later I had a go at an illustration workshop - the first I've done!  We didn't have very long, so I stole a leaf out of Sarah McIntyre's book and tried my hand at organising a comics jam, where the class gets into groups of four each draw one panel of a comic strip before passing it on to their neighbour to do the next panel.  And it seemed to work - we ended up with some spectacularly mad stories involving farts, aliens, and the Evil Iggle-Piggle.

Like a lummox, I forgot to take any pictures of the results of the comics jam, but I did think to take one of my hosts: Librarian Penny Randhawa, her colleague Elizabeth, and library volunteer Sue (I also met another volunteer, Ann, but she'd escaped by the time I got my camera out).  They were all wonderfully helpful and welcoming - Elizabeth had even borrowed a larger car to pick me up from hotel in, because she'd heard I was tall! (Which I kind of am, now I come to look at the picture...)

I keep hearing about schools where the library is under threat, or not used enough, but Lampton's is an example of one that's brilliantly run and genuinely valued by the pupils.  It was a treat to visit it!  Before Elizabeth drove me back to the station I did a quick Horrible Histories style cartoon for the library wall - I think this Viking ended up saying, READ BOOKS - OR ELSE!

And the following day I went down to Richmond and the Royal School of Ballet - but that's another blog post...