Monthly Archives: March 2020

SPRINGing into new times…

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

ImageA 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!

Coming soon…

  Live from the crypt: Interview with the ghost of Qin Shi Huang

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!

April Thoughts

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… Image result for tuhaf ama gerçek+john townsend

  Image result for tuhaf ama gerçek+john townsend Image result for tuhaf ama gerçek+john townsend

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!