Despite lockdowns, restrictions and being reduced to tiers, our imaginations can be unlocked whenever we wish – with a BOOK! 🙂 That can be with nonfiction, as well as fiction or poetry or (shock horror) a combination of all sorts in one book. Sorry, librarians.
Like many books, Live from the Crypt started off with just two words: What If? What if famous characters from history were guests on a 21st century TV chat show? What if ‘Ghosts Reunited’ brought together friends and enemies from the past? What if we could link live by satellite to people and scenes from long ago?
So, through the wonders of modern technology and a dollop of imagination, a series of ten books of the TV shows are on their way. The first four are now here.
What you call these books is up to you! Nonfiction is often a misleading term. It covers a multitude of styles and genres to help us connect with the ‘real stuff’ of events, people, information, dates and yes, facts. Even if dressed in fantasy and humour, surely something of ‘the truth’ can shine through. So, through interviews, panel games, quizzes, graveside banter and even commercial breaks, the movers and shakers from the past are brought to life for our amusement and edification. These books are designed to be read alone or in groups, or even performed and recorded. Or just enjoy the stylish comic strips sprinkled with details from historical records. Whether that’s nonfiction, you decide. We simply call it Live from the Crypt, and trust everyone learns something as the ghosts come out to tell their stories – live on air.
Thank you to schools for telling me what you’ve been reading and writing lately. What delightful letters I’ve received from Awsworth Primary after they’ve been reading together The Secret Message.
Don’t forget another mix of fact and fiction in my two new mystery books out this month – just right for a Christmas SHIVER!
Plenty of new titles for all ages are on their way in 2021, including all sorts of little picture books for toddlers’ bedtime tales. Funny characters, quirky vehicles, ridiculous robots, dinosaurs, farm animals and pirates will all be popping up and yes, even something Christmassy for NEXT Christmas!
It’s bedtime now – it’s dark out there, The world is waiting, everywhere…
Sweet dreams and HAPPY CHRISTMAS BOOKS!
Yes, it’s the month of ‘Books with Facts‘ to keep us all extra busy and bursting with WOW information. That can mean AMAZING books.
Once upon a time, Non-Fiction conjured up images of big encyclopaedias or chunky volumes stuffed with every subject under the sun. Now there’s so much more choice for discovering information, real historical characters and events, as well as advice, news and inspiring life-stories. Books of all shapes, sizes and desgins now give us bite-size facts sprinkled on pages packed with lively visuals and often wrapped in adventure or chuckles. In other words, Non-Fiction can be any sort of book that has ‘real stuff’ in it that leaves us knowng a bit more about ourselves and our world. What’s not to like?
Welcome to the TV show ‘LIVE from the CRYPT‘ where our TV hosts invite ghosts from the past onto their sofa for chat, quizzes, arguments and much more. Laugh & Learn in this new series out this month – just right to brighten up Non-Fiction November. Find out more by clicking on these pictures…
If you’re much younger and want to discover farmyard animals or dinosaurs with feelings, you might smile at a set of cute board books in boxes coming early next year. Just right for snuggly bedtimes.
Just in case you fancy some fiction in Non-Fiction November (shock horror) these two SHIVERS titles are out this month. Yes, they’re stories… but some of the weird goings-on in them could well be TRUE!
Click below for details in the USA
And plenty more fun for toddlers coming soon in 2021…
By the way, I’m thinking of writing a new NON-FICTION book all about the greatest CASTLE DUNGEONS… could be a BEST CELLAR!
Happy Non-Fiction November!
Yes, it’s time to restock those bookshelves in October for a jolly mix of wacky nonfiction, rhyming picture books and horrendous history. Plenty of new books are being published over the next months so here are a few to keep toddlers to teens reading, smiling and sparking…
Just imagine it – a new TV chat show where the guests on the sofa are long-dead characters from history. Meet them in the new series called ‘LIVE from the CRYPT‘. Discover personal secrets of the great, good and downright villainous in the Ghosts Reunited features and get to grips with all sorts via ‘In a Nutshell’ where historical background is explained simply within a minute by a visiting ‘expert’. Plenty of comic-strip capers bring the past to ghostly life, as well as panel games and quirky quizzes. The first 4 titles of 10 are due out anytime soon. Click below to restock!
For those a little younger, there are 8 fun-filled picture books on the way, featuring the Scribble Monsters to give us a gentle nudge about manners. Whether they forget to say their pleases and thankyous, need a reminder about ‘bathroom etiquette’, picking up litter or being considerate to others, our little monsters have charming ways to help the wildest of us to become little well-mannered angels!
Meet the friendly Scribble Monsters who scribble lots of signs And write how manners can be fun on all their scribbly signs…
Tracking and tracing seems to be the new normal – but how about in a new set of board books for little fingers that like to follow the trail then lift the flap? Plenty of wacky vehicles and funny characters are chugging towards us for soothing sensory bedtime sense-ations.
WARNING – It’s here again…
Yes, October is the dreaded month of shivery spookiness. Look out for the new HALLOWEEN STREET to make you giggle in the dark!
The night that troubled Mr. Clark Was Halloween – just after dark, When children spot-on half past four Came ‘Trick or Treating’ at his door… (The full grisly story HERE)
Climb to the tower of the Creepy Castle – but beware the dungeon dweller! At midnight, visit the mad professor’s Scary Lab, and then go to the Monster Mansion and Witch’s Hut. PHEW – finally you can relax and pop the books back inside the box to enjoy a 3D spook-scape! OOPS – BREAKING NEWS… Due to the pandemic, printing/deliveries have been held up so we’ll have to wait until next year for this one!
As if that isn’t scary enough, brace yourself for more in the SHIVERS series – just on their way… Don’t have NIGHTMARES!
And FINALLY – but forever fantastically FABULOUS….. Congratulations to Dawlish College Library for being awarded the Reading for Pleasure Award after our World Book Day Extravaganza.
Yes, it’s BACK TO SCHOOL for many children and staff this month after being away for what seems ages. So all the best to everyone in this ‘new normal’ and in getting back to class, friends and lots of new books! Here are a few due soon in our new ‘Live from the Crypt‘ TV show style history series – packed with facts, fun and fab cartoons
Just in case you like your history with a large dose of cheesy jokes, this month’s big anniversary of MAYFLOWER 400 is packed with groans on both sides of The Atlantic, with the help of 2 versions of my ‘Gross and Awesome‘ book. You have been warned!
Spot the difference
Click on USA version or UK…
For all those ‘Little Monsters’ out there who need reminding about washing hands, using toilets, keeping safe and having the best of manners, we’re looking forward to seeing our series of fun picture books for toddlers – packed with rhyme and reason with the help of the charming SCRIBBLE MONSTERS. More news about these soon but click on a cover to get a kindle edition now or a book next year:
If all those monster manners are just too exhausting, then what better for sleepy toddlers than dreamy tales of snuggly animals ready for bed? Click the cover below for sweet dreams in the Land of Nod!
With chilly nights drawing in, snuggle up with some cosy bedtime friends:-
Ssssh it’s late, so snuggle tight – curl up in bed, turn down the light. Now shut those eyes – sweet dreams – GOODNIGHT.
Have a great time back at school in Snoozy September and enjoy exploring plenty more books whatever your age – HAPPY READING!
Pssst – for a a peep at more Townsend Titles, click on HERE
Over 20 ‘Truly FOUL & CHEESY‘ titles are now available as Kindle books. For just over £2, you can cackle at your Kindle with any of these fact-filled fun reads. ENJOY! (click on image below to see/buy)
It’s not long now until the first set of ‘LIVE FROM THE CRYPT‘ books arrives. Meet some of the most famous ghosts from history as they pop up on the sofa on the Ghosts Reunited TV chat show…
All with FAB illustrations from the hilarious Rory Walker who is busy illustrating the next batch involving ‘Live from the Wreck’. Can you guess which ghosts will be arriving dripping wet on the TV sofa? More news soon. By the way, if you think these are silly, just wait till you tackle the SUMMER READING CHALLENGE. Have a great summer – silly or otherwise! Keep safe and smiling, as well as reading…
To everyone venturing back into schools this month (and all those who have been attending throughout lockdown) VERY BEST WISHES and keep taking care. Whenever you can, WASH THOSE HANDS!
For younger children, we have a set of fun books coming out soon to remind us all about manners, thinking of others and doing the right thing for the benefit of all. Hmm, I wonder who might need a copy.
Six books are on their way, all with the FAB SCRIBBLE MONSTERS showing us how to behave kindly to others – in a fun rhymey way rather than being annoyingly preachy. Here’s a quick peep at washing away pesky viruses…
Good luck with social distancing in schools for as long as it takes. Keeping 2 metres apart is a meaty topic to grapple with, with plenty of scope for both numeracy and literacy. I’ve had a quick go myself…
What does 2 metres apart look like?
It’s about half as long as a Volkswagen Beetle
(With bumpers, it has to be said)
Or three times as long as an average footstep
Or as long as a king-size bed.
It’s one-and-one-fifth the height of Napoleon,
Fully-dressed, but not in his hat…
That’s two-times taller than General Tom Thumb,
In his socks, vest and undies, at that.
It’s about a quarter the length of a red London bus,
Or if you prefer (now don’t laugh)
It’s one-tenth as tall as a brachiosaurus
Or three-tenths as tall as a giraffe.
It’s the length of a fully grown African lion
Or an African elephant’s ear,
It’s one-tenth as long as a full cricket pitch,
Or one-hundredth of Great Yarmouth Pier.
It’s two-fifty thousand red blood cells lined-up,
Or the length of a contra-bassoon,
Or just a bit more than a double-bass height,
Or 0.000000005 times as long as from here to the Moon.
That’s a whole lot of space with too much in the way,
And rules alone fill countless pages;
Two metres of minefield between anxious souls…
No wonder we’ve not met for ages!
So, all the best with keeping your distance and avoiding anything scary. There again, you may like a bit of scariness now and again – safely and teasingly creeping from the pages of a book. Coming out at the end of the year (when we hope we shall all be out a bit more) are two more titles in my SHIVERS series to give us something else to have NIGHTMARES about. Brace yourself.
Stories that dabble in the unexplained, mysterious and ‘aliens’ have been told with relish in flickering firelight for thousands of years. Many of those tales have been about strange lights or curious shapes seen flying through the sky. Stories told of mysterious events, places and creatures have delighted and scared us ever since our ancestors imagined what might be lurking ‘out there’. Viruses not included – these threats are far more visible… sometimes. Unsolved and unexplained tales still have great power to grip us in their scary spells. They spark our imaginations, chill our nerves and may even send an icy shiver down our spines. Either that or they’ll scare your pants off. You have been warned…
Happy June, happy school, happy hand-washing, happy distancing, happy manners, happy READING… have a safe & HAPPY SUMMER! 😎
MAYbe, just MAYbe, it MAY be MAY when we begin to see hope of eventually emerging from our locked-down world. At least, it MAY be a time to start making plans again. MAYbe some schools will be looking to new ways to get WOW things happening. In the meantime, there are always BOOKS to help us escape from being shut indoors. Here’s a quick heads-up of a few Townsend Titles due out after we all emerge… blinking into the literary light of a bright new world! How about a few fun or scary reads coming later in the year? They’re for all ages – from toddlers to teens…
If bedtime rhymes aren’t your cup of cocoa, how about something with more bite to give you nightmares? Two new SHIVERS are on their way – just right for Halloween! Look out for UFOs & Mysteries
If wacky history is more your cup of tea, with a few spooky bits thrown in, you may like to meet some BIG characters from the past – face to face. LIVE FROM THE CRYPT is a TV show with a difference and it’s coming to your sofa shortly. Brace yourself… if you dare.
With winter now officially behind us in the northern hemisphere, we’re looking forward to brighter times ahead, despite school closures and being indoors much more to stop the virus from spreading. Maybe now is a great time to catch up on reading, writing and checking out free online fun & puzzles – such as HERE
A HUGE thank you for the welcomes, reactions, questions and stories from all the secondary schools I’ve been to recently. I never cease to be amazed by your enthusiasm, knowledge and interests.
This is what they wrote at dynamic Dawlish in Devon – full of delight (and alliteration, plus seagulls!) ‘Author John Townsend visited Dawlish College for World Book Week and initially led a large assembly consisting of all year 7 and 8 students. He immediately caught their attention by introducing the topic The Science of Fear and continued to keep them completely engaged by discussing the 10 most common phobias, referring to his own books covering the subjects and showing them short film clips. Everyone gave him a huge clap at the end!
We then moved on to the library for smaller workshops, designed to reward those who have been really engaged with Accelerated Reading programme (AR) – a real mix of abilities. These workshops were entitled The Unexplained and were a great opportunity for the students to hear some of John’s wonderful stories and to tell some of theirs. Both students and staff found these workshops fascinating and John is booked to join us again for World Book Week in 2 years’ time when we’ll have a fresh bunch of years 7 and 8 for his next workshops. From all at Dawlish College a huge thank you John!’
Then it was a dash across country to Essex and sunny Southend-on-Sea (also with seagulls). I was back at the Cecil Jones Academy for presentations to the whole of Years 7 – 9 and a Year 10 workshop in the fabulous library. I was mightily impressed by students’ interest and reactions, as well as the role of the library and reading in the school. There’s plenty of ‘Accelerated Reading’ going on, too.
Next came another return to Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford for Science Week, where we dabbled in lots of sciency ingredients sprinkled into my books. Here’s the evidence…
Thank you, Sweyne Park, for another fun visit meeting the whole of Year 7, with many a budding scientist in the ranks. I can’t believe it was my 13th visit to Sweyne Park School in Rayleigh (on Friday 13th, no less). 13 years of Science Weeks – and never has science been such a hot topic as we look at the challenges facing us, including viruses and global warming.
But there’s plenty of hope as we all tackle such difficulties together and SPRING into new times ahead. So keep safe, keep smiling and keep reading!
And there’s always Christmas to look forward to – with my forthcoming CHRISTMAS STREET. Yes, there are jollier times around the corner and just up the street!
As the world holds its breath and applauds support-workers everywhere, it’s well-worth looking back. Viruses, on the whole, tend to come and go – however long it takes. Some hang around longer than others, but eventually treatments and vaccines send them packing. Thankfully, Edward Jenner helped to get the whole ‘vaccination thing’ going to fight The Speckled Monster, as he called the dreaded smallpox. Now mercifully eradicated, that deadly virus bubbled up (literally) in shocking epidemics around the world over centuries and was estimated to kill around 500 million people in the last century alone. Staggering.
So what better time than during ‘lockdown’ is there to read my CURSE OF THE SPECKLED MONSTER books? All about fighting viruses (and much else), the grisly GRAVEROBBERS AND GALLOWS then THE TWIST OF THE HANGMAN will emerse you in far more frightening times… to emerge ever hopeful – with better times on the horizon. As ever, Medical Science truimphs in the end!
Yes – this month is fast and furious in the book world and in schools, what with World Book Day/Week, National Science Week and all those author visits everywhere. I look forward to visiting lots of school libraries and talking to hundreds of secondary school pupils this month. Among other things, we’ll be dipping into the murky world of THE MYSTERIOUS. There’ll be plenty of news of new books on the way, too – full of mysteries, dark secrets, creepy tales, scary science and all sorts of utter nonsense.
Talking of nonsense and mysteries, it’s a big mystery as to how some of my ‘Foul Facts & Cheesy Jokes‘ books work in different languages. Hey-ho, they’re now out in Chinese and Turkish…
Or how about ‘Life-Sized Animal Tracks‘ in Korean, Czech, Italian, Slovak and French? For readers in the USA, just click on STERLING PUBLISHERS for a selection of my fiction and nonfiction titles.
Happy reading in March and beyond in whatever language you choose!
It’s been very noisy round here this February – animals all over the place making BIG NOISES! Yes, there are more Creature Features books coming later in the Spring for little people who like animals, noises and lifting flaps to find all sorts. Just what you need for quiet bedtime reading. There’ll be plenty more Toddler Tales with rhymes, rhythms and even ROBOTS coming later in the year… so get those ear plugs ready for lots more board books (but never BORED books!)