Monday, September 20, 2010

What Do I Ask Myself In Bed At Night?

Over the Summer I was involved in various Children's Book Awards - judging them, launching them, presenting them... (strangely never being nominated for them or winning them, but never mind!).

The best events were the ones where kids from a bunch of different schools had read almost all the short-listed books and believed passionately in one of them. Nobody ever agreed on which one should win, but that's the beauty of awards, isn't it?

At some of these events I saw a sheet of 'discussion questions' prepared by teachers and librarians that helped kick-start the debate among the readers.

Now, I don't always think these worksheets add anything of value, and quite often they can remove some of the joy of reading. But the sheets that I saw were actually very well devised and full of interesting questions I might not have thought about otherwise. They added to my enjoyment of the books, in other words. And that surprised me.

They also made me look at my own books with a fresh eye. What do teachers and librarians make of the Jimmy Coates series? I know the books are used in classes all over the country, and I love that. I've also had some great discussions with classes (and teachers) about some of things in the books that they've been analysing, despite my reluctance to over-analyse books whose main purpose is to entertain and enthrall.

Anyway, what would I want to ask about my own books if I were a teacher, a librarian or a class? Yup, a whole class of me. The teacher is me too. Then the librarian comes in, and it's me with glasses.

A school full of me.

Welcome to Ego-land.

So what do we discuss in The School of Joe's Narcissism? Well, I've put together a handy list for you so that you know what the interview will be like when you apply for a place:


It's for casual readers as well as classes, but if you do happen to be a teacher and you're wondering how to entertain and educate your pack this term, I'd absolutely love it if you tried a Jimmy Coates book on them and asked some of these questions.

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