Official Website of Children's Author
Debut Children's Novel 'The Island That Didn't Exist'
If you would like to get swept away on an adventure just click on this video. It will give you a glimpse of The Island That Didn't Exist! It's a classic adventure story with modern twists for anyone 9(ish) and older. Since publication the book has made a real impact. It's been shortlisted for several awards around the UK and become a classroom book in schools (several have been visited by the author). There are translations in Spanish and Polish and an audiobook too!
Intrigued? There are loads of places you could get hold of the book. But here are a couple of options.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This website is dedicated to my fiction writing. My first book, 'The Island That Didn't Exist', is an adventure story written for anyone aged 9 years or older. If you like stories which twist and turn and fill your imagination with excitement then I hope you will love it!
It has always been my ambition to write fiction but it is something I've squeezed in around the rest of my life. Most of my writing before now has been as a journalist. Specifically I've reported on sport for the BBC, mainly on TV news.
The inspiration for 'The Island That Didn't Exist' came to me walking along the coast one day. It was so long ago I've forgotten exactly where or when the idea sprang into my brain but it remained lodged there. Like a cork it would return to the surface of my creative mind whenever there was a peaceful moment. I thought I had a great starting point for a children's adventure story. It took me fifteen years to get to the finished book!
The reason, I believe, so many people are drawn to sport is the thrill of the unpredictable. We know the rules, we've got a pretty good idea of how long it is going to take, but within those parameters we hope anything could happen. I've always approached reading books in the same way. It is definitely my motivation for writing them. It is very exciting to have this book ready to share with the world.
Some Reviews of 'The Island That Didn't Exist'
I'm delighted that people have taken the time to read the book and post their thoughts.
Bluebirdreviews.co.uk kindly said:
'a truly outstanding and thrilling story' which 'surpassed all expectations'.
Jane Sandell, young people's book specialist, wrote:
'This is brilliant! Really. I couldn't put it down...there are mysteries and surprises galore. Well done'
Jane's website is janesandell.co.uk she tweets as @seasidereader
'This is a fantastic adventure story, with a perfectly pitched set of characters' say Read and Reviewed in a lovely post on their blog.
Veronica Price (@vonprice), who recommends books on her website, thought it was a 'thrilling debut Middle Grade story'.
It's always exciting when the book is nominated for awards. Most recently I was on the shortlist with some fantastic titles for the Salford Children's Book Awards.
I really enjoy talking about the book and discussing writing with children. Thankfully, this is now possible 'in person'. I fit school visits around my work. I don't charge for coming to schools. We discuss the power of words, the limitless scope of imagination and effective types of writing. Normally this is with years 5 and 6. I do classroom sessions (and there are various ways that children can get hold of their own copies if that's something they're interested in). If schools would like to discuss opportunities I can be contacted directly firstname.lastname@example.org
I recently spent a day at Coombe Boys School in south London where year 7 had studied 'The Island That Didn't Exist' as their 'big read'. It was lovely to get this response from librarian Lauren Pennell,
''It was such a pleasure to have Joe join us for the day. He did a brilliant assembly for our year 7s who had all read, and loved The Island That Didn't Exist. His passion and enthusiasm for reading and creative writing really shone through which is hugely important to us, and represented our school values perfectly. The encouragement he gave the pupils on the subject of creativity and imagination during his talk and workshops was inspirational, and a joy to be a part of. Thank you, Joe!''
Some images above from recent visits to schools in Leicester and Mansfield.
Here are some words from Mr Jonathan Williams at St Barnabas School in Leicester. I was lucky enough to spend some time with his year 5/6 class,
''Joe captivated our children with imagination and humour. He took them on an adventure and they are still talking about it now.''
A review here from Mr Hamlett after my visit to year 6 classes at Dovedale Primary School in Liverpool,
''As teachers, we are always looking for ways to inspire the children into reading, so the fact you were able to give us a little bit of your time for them to actually meet an author was amazing. Throughout the meeting, you could hear a pin drop as the children hung on your every word.
Once it had finished, they couldn’t contain themselves from talking about it all day and have done since (so have the teachers). I could even hear some children talking and discussing your advice around sentence lengths when writing in our subsequent English lesson. It has helped children, who often do not engage very well with reading, get excited and parents have commented over the phone about how they went home talking about the book and the experience.
I can’t thank you enough for the experience you gave the children. I think for many it was the first time they have been able to do such a thing.''
I worked with Oxford University Press to produce a range of educational features connected with the themes in The Island That Didn't Exist. There's everything from designing your own island to discussion points on saving the planet! I know it has been used successfully for years 5/6. Here is a link to the excellent Oxford Owl website.