Category Archives: Picture books

Universal Children’s Day


Universal Children’s Day – books and poetry to share.

Poet Laureate

google© Google

I was curious about the acorns in the tree… weren’t you? This date has been significant for well over 60 years. 

November 20th Universal Children’s Day. 

The Background 

The United Nations’ (UN) Universal Children’s Day, which was established in 1954, is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, promotes and coordinates this special day, which also works towards improving children’s welfare.

Many countries, including Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, hold Universal Children’s Day events on November 20 to mark the anniversaries of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

© Time and Date AS 1995–2017

book-2752587_1920.jpgThere is a whole menu page with books on understanding Human Rights, freedom, Children’s Rights, justice and solidarity all aimed at children/ Young Adults on the

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Malvern Book Promoters – MAD MARCH Book Promotion Events


Mad Malvern Book Promotion

I was asked in back in January to take part in this event, organised by Jill Peer.

MAD Malvern Book Promo Jill Peers 11 MAD MARCH events organised all over the beautiful tourist destination of Malvern, designed to promote local writers and their books. Many of the events were during the week and I hoped to get to some at the Cake Tin Cafe in The Cube, but work bookings came in thick and fast and I was practically working full time. I plumped for a weekend event, due to roadworks and unlit roads (and being a nervous driver) I went to the daytime event in the Lyttleton Rooms, before moving onto The Hive, in Worcester, to work with the Young writer Group (Writing West Midlands).

The events started on the 3rd March and I am in awe of Jill’s organisational skills in pulling this schedule off.

MAD malvern Book Promo

Tues 3rd March – Zinnia (shoe shop) Live Music

Tues 3rd March – Forget Me Not (Florists) – Live music, spoken word -Floral/Love

Tues 10th March, Cafe H20 Wyche Innovation Centre, (Malvern Hills Geo Centre) – Live music, spoken word -Getting Around

Thurs 12th March – Foley Arms – Live Music, spoken word Life, Mums and Health & a Healing area

Fri 13th March, Cafe H20 Wyche Innovation Centre, (Malvern Hills Geo Centre) – For the KIDS – Word & Songs, Storytelling, puppets, poems & tales

Sat 14th March, Lyttleton Rooms – Spring Craft Fair – Live music, spoken word -Springtime (the event I performed at) ^

Weds 18th March, The cake Tin Cafe, The Cube – Live Music, fun, Lifestyle

Sat 14th & Weds 18th March, Rachel’s Cowleigh Gallery – Live Music/ Mother’s Day/ Love

Thurs 19th March, The Beacon Dentist (not the name of a pub – an actual Dentists) – Spoken Word/ Music – Mum’s/ Springtime

Tues 24th March, The Malvern Book Co-operative Shop – Live Music, Books, Springtime

MAD Malvern

It was great fun! I love looking for more unusual events. I also enjoy craft fairs, so it really was perfect to perform at the Lyttleton Rooms Craft Fair. I enjoyed it very much.

Thanks for inviting me to participate Jill.

For more information on the local authors and the books promoted follow the link it should let you read the events page even if you haven’t got an account.

Day 7 – 1 WEEK of NaNoWriMo


After two hours catching up on PAD poems I finally managed my NaNo write – which has taken the best part of another 2 hours. I have also being trying to join piboidmo2013-participant-214x131 PiBoldMo – tonight was the last time you could register but I keep getting errors. Maybe next year.


I started with 906 words in 40 minutes which I was very pleased with and then I changed scenes – and characters, I managed to create 560 something words and came a little unstuck so left the computer for a bit.

I came back and typed away and when I started to feel my brain give in – I decided I must be 1667 words in … It was 1589 I thought that was close enough and because I am currently a bit ahead of schedule it would have been fine to leave it.

This is my first year of Nano though and from my camp experiences I know that to try to stay ahead or on count is important. So I pushed on …. 1653….. 1764

Which is where I left it for tonight.



TOTAL WORDS = 14710 – great JOY! How close it is to 15000? I know that I will definitely reach through that next barrier tomorrow!

WORDS LEFT = 35290


Top Tips

Self discipline – push yourself. You will be amazed at how resilient and flexible you are.

Try to make the daily word count if you can.

Keep enjoying yourself…. if you’re not – walk away for a while.

What Is Your Wish?


Last night I had the joy of babysitting my nephews so my brother could celebrate his birthday. admission-ticket-iconadmission-ticket-iconMy youngest nephew (now 5) and I were drawing. He was drawing and I was writing a story for him at his request. He had already drawn me a Medieval castle in purple (my favourite colour as he pointed out, then looking at what I was wearing said it was pink – his favourite colour is pink – we have so much in common! Probably because my inner child is around about 5, I remember it as a fun age to be – and I have just spent the yearbest teacher teaching his age group too.) The castle also had heart shaped windows on one turret (bless!) I loved it and it was put on my fridge proudly as soon as I got in despite Mr G trying to serve up hot supper in the kitchen!

He had asked me to write him a story and draw superman – he went to fetch a book (thinking I may have no idea of this superman – it was my era!) He couldn’t find it, so solved the problem by choosing another book, he requested SquareBob Spongepants (a particular favourite of mine!) and handed me that book.

I wrote a story about Taekwondo (which is a favourite past time of both boys, the eldest has just come back from winning Gold and Silver in a tournament in Edinburgh, Scotland!) SpongeBob came to Taekwondo and was partnered with my nephew – he didn’t want to fight his favourite cartoon, but his dad cheered him on, He beat SpongeBob and won the Gold Medal winner-ribbon-small (every younger brother that has just watched his older brother win wants one. Later that evening he pretended all of his brother’s football trophies were his – I went along with it! It was no small wonder he tried to extend his bed-time, he must have thought Aunty is really stupid, she didn’t even ask why I kept my awards in my brother’s room, I can get to stay up late easily!)

He loved the story – not my best work of fiction but I only had 1 side of A4 and my illustration of SBSP (SpongeBob) was very big (and accurate – I was quite impressed with myself) …

Later on (in the dark) he had me copy his Match Attax football card – I did quite well. By then I was looking after both of them.

The wish….imagesCAR3I79W

Part way through our creative time drawing he turned to me and asked;

‘What is your biggest wish? What did you always want to be?’

I thought for a moment and then tried to explain that my biggest wish is to have my books published. He asked what I meant and I explained about writing books using his SBSP book – he then understood. abc Thought for a moment, turned back to his desk and within seconds turned around and asked – what else did you used to wish to be?


imagesCAJ7STHEObviously knowing the ambitions of his classmates were easier to draw! I had never considered how difficult ‘author’ was to illustrate!

I told him I always wanted to be a ballerina, a ballet dancer.

He smiled, seemed okay with that and turned back to his paper. I carried on with my story and was quite looking forward to having a ballerina to put on my fridge. (He’s 5 remember…)

A while later ‘Look!’ he proudly holds up a picture of scribble. (Don’t all 5 year olds love to regress, it is almost like they have keyed into the fact that they have had the best part of childhood already and want to put the brakes on!)

‘Ohhhh, tell me what it is.’

He smiles at me and then looks at the paper to decide. ‘It’s a Tornado’… as we don’t have them in this country I was quite impressed by this analogy – of course he is CARTOON mad and they happen in those every time a character leaves the scene!

I told my brother he could add the short notice babysitting to the Birthday presents – but really I did it for myself! These boys are brilliant – despite both playing up about bedtime. I just hope they stay treasures as they walk through their lives.

nephews and Aunty

What do you wish for?


I smiled – thinking to myself that I had never considered how difficult the concept of AUTHOR is to draw.

A Night of Critiquing


imagesCA0G6MWQ For a first experience with a critique group it was good. I feel I may have offered more help than I received – but I have now got a whole page of notes to work on the manuscript with.

We are told not to be too precious. I think I will have to work on that because it seems that I have to rework my idea and may loose the very essence I started with. Which builds the plot. I may get around this with a bit of research. It is good to know and take the advice though – I have built a much stronger manuscript about something completely different (focus) since the 1st critique.

It was lovely to see everyone again from the classes and meet a new writer who was an excellent thorough critic.
I wish we had been able to stay for drinks and chats, but my friends are up from the South-East and were staying in a hotel not far from our venue, so I went for a catch up after instead! 61414_meet-up-and-coffee-afternoon-every-wednesday

(Bit of a mission as all the roads are being worked on in the city and the ones open are only for public transport so I had to go a strange way! I know the city better by foot so in the end I parked up and walked back to them!)

I got in just after midnight with the writer inside me begging for time – but I was exhausted. It was hard to get myself out of the door at teatime as it was, especially as a good friend had come over to drink with Mr G in the garden and funnily enough drinking was the one thing I associated with leaving work!

Message to tired writers;
Push yourself through it! It is ALWAYS worth it!


Why Writers Need Writers!


WritingIcon21Since January 2013 I have submerged myself into a writing world, with the intention of resurfacing as the writer I once was (or a better, older, wiser version!) What I didn’t bank on was how I would feel, my creative spirit is glad not to be under lock and key and I am meeting some fantastic (and talented) people.

Writing is often described as lonely, much of the work is done in solitude (please, don’t interrupt me!) and for fiction writers we are not even present in the room whilst we are working, we are ourselves shackled to the world we are creating on the page (or screen).

sea_journal_by_druidchickz-d3br0m2  This is why it is even more IMPORTANT that you get out there – find some creative circles and move in them. I don’t just mean the business of networking, I mean the benefit you get on a soul level connecting to other human beings who get what you do, who understand the pressures, passions and desires that drive you to a place of a imprisoned mono-existence.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast Wednesday I went into the city to my writing class (now just one week left!), I experienced my first real critiquing, especially as it was also my first attempt at writing in this genre.

I had managed to slash my manuscript from over 900 words to just over 500 (it’s a picture book) and I knew there was still something not right about my story. It was too complicated. I had already edited an entire hobby and pages of non-advancing scenes. The group feedback really helped me identify what I need to focus on and what to do next.

jen's hen 140 After (as is generally the case) we went for a relaxed conversation in the pub.* It was brilliant. I think because more of the class needed a drink after a 2 hour intense critique session! So more people came with us. The conversation ebbed and flowed and took us to more interesting places than most fiction can!

I can’t remember the specific muses (dang for not scribbling into my writer’s notebook) but I do remember the glow of adrenalin when I (finally!) got home after spending the whole evening with writers. Some of whom will become writing buddies I am sure.

writepinkI had always planned my writing year – but I hadn’t considered how it would make me feel as a person and what else I would gain other than a ton of work and some publishing contracts.

Creative people need creative people.

It is as essential as hydration is to existence.

* Cocktails taken at a Hen Party Mixology class – not consumed by writers in the pub!

A Surprise Visit!


I have managed some online time!

Writing Update

I have managed to redraft the picture book manuscript – in its 16th incarnation! Ready for the class to critique tonight. Clare Bell will also give us some advice! I am looking forward to it. I know it is missing some vital composition tools. I have managed to edit (or ‘slash’) 100’s of words! From 997 to 523 That’s practically half of the story gone! imagesCA0GWHZL

I wish I had other ideas to try and write more, but I am blank on plots at the minute.



I have also managed to read and submit 4 reviews for Rhetorical Composition II and have received 2 positive reviews on mine. I am now trying to complete my ‘Check your Progress’ activities *deadline is Friday.

You can read the assignment article here;

On the House Front

I have managed to complete some packing whilst I have been offline too. I still need to organise removals and get my apartment on the market! pin-up-woman-cleaning-up-cold-blue-winter-snow-28623149These are my next challenges and I hope to organise things before I start work today. And lots more packing for the rest of this week. I have started to collect cardboard boxes again! The plastering should be finished tomorrow and we can go in and clean before moving in!


Once I am in and especially once I have SOLD my apartment I can concentrate on getting my life on track. For now as it is an extremely busy time at work, I have dropped some opportunities off the June’s writing schedule. I don’t want to burn out before the summer. I have enough with the final 2 Writing classes in the city, the picture book manuscript, work, houses, packing, allotment, garden etc. etc.

I will prep for Camp NaNoWriMo and enter a life write for the end of the month for publication, other than that there wasn’t much copied on the final fortnight of June!


Happy Writing!




Slice of Life Challenge (SOLC) – A Slice of Layers


Another week of many fingers… many pies!sols_6

The House

The Electrician signed the work off and we got a plasterer in to quote the touch up work in every room. We have been busy most days (by we I mean Mr G) on the garden – I have sat on a chair in the sun and looked through design catalogues for inspiration on décor for inside! I have done some watering. We have strawberries, tomatoes, chilli’s & peppers growing really well as our Garden is a sun trap! Mr G has been busy sorting all the bedding plants out and rearranging the use of the garden space.


I have been busy catching up on cloud_writing2my online writing course I have an assignment due this Thursday that is still in the research stages! I am trying not to panic, today I need to post an outline – that will help write the final piece, then complete research and post assignment…

Sounds simple – but I have this morning to finish all online research. I have work this afternoon and tomorrow, + writing classes in the city tomorrow night and I am working all day Thurs! Eek!

As mentioned the writing classes continue – we have 3 weeks left, half way through. I have a homework assignment to do for this too. On character motivation – I do have the reading material offline which makes it more manageable!

I am thoroughly enjoying The Writing Picture Books classes with Clare Bell. kids books

camp_nano_promo_13 I have my June Writing schedule underway and there is one project I am working on for submission.  And I am also posting articles on my blog in preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo summer camp next month! (Go on you know you want to join up! Sign up NOW!)


I need to pack up my apartment and arrange removal firms over the next few weeks, I have been busy with work, the allotment, the house and staying with Mr G. Packing is on the schedule for this weekend coming up – unfortunately there are also 2 writing events this weekend that I was supposed to attend. I think I still will, I will just go to bed early, get up early and fit it in!

I have over the past few weeks felt torn by the amount I am trying to do is so many areas – it is no wonder I am going slightly mad. The thing that keeps me going is that in a month or so everything will be settled and much more smooth. (Well as long as I don’t imagine the wallpaper

© A.Cooke 2013
© A.Cooke 2013

stripping and paint pots!)

The sun was out all weekend which was lovely and summery! So we spent Saturday in the allotment and Sunday in the garden, followed by 7 hrs worth of paperwork to prepare me for this week! I have also managed to catch up on my sleep! And got to see my family. My mum is raising money for the Mumbai Project at the moment and will be doing a jewellery store sale, her spare room is full of sparkling jewellery, I have bought a few items, to start off her funds.

Let me know if you are interested in making a donation. I will get the details and add them to this post!