Andrea Beaty Visits Ottie and the Bea

The first day of Andrea Beaty’s Uk visit was marked by the sun coming out, what perfect timing!

Standing in front of 200 kids from 3 local schools, introducing one of your favourite authors is a great way to kick off a Tuesday morning. Andrea had arrived in the Uk over a week earlier but had nipped over to Italy to promote her books and by now felt like a fully fledged European – she was certainly full of beans and raring to go. Her enthusiasm and energy was palpable and highly contagious. Most impressive of all she didn’t flag once during the day we spent with her.
Blackheath High Junior School kindly agreed to host the morning event and gave a warm welcom to children from both John Ball and All Saints Primary Schools. Andrea read from her books and wowed them with the story about how her book ‘Rosie Revere’ ended up on the International Space Station being read by Kate Rubens- part of Story Time For Space; visit Andrea’s website to see the footage http://www.andreabeaty.com. There were some great questions from the children and some lucky kids from All Saints were given creative writing tips at the end of the session.

After a well earned pit stop at Hand Made Food it was off to Sherington Primary School in the afternoon who welcomed children from Invicta for more tales of how these wonderful stories came to life. Andrea encouraged the children to get bored in the summer holidays- to allow that moment of boredom to happen and to trust that from that point on their minds will naturally start creating possibilities, to allow their imaginations to become creative…

Then a quick cup of tea at Mara and a slice of their delicious home made cake helped prepare Andrea for her next appearance- a packed event at our local library. The library had very kindly done a quick turn around from rhyme time and we all piled in. Andrea read us ‘Rosie Revere’ in after school story time and the kids who had brought their books were following the story page by page… Andrea had kindly agreed to sign books for us at the shop afterwards so, it was back to the shop for stickers, activity packs, book signing and some scrummy massive chocolate chip cookies courtesy of our local Womens Institute.

The following evening after closing up the shop I headed along to London Bridge- Chronicle and Abrams Uk had invited a handful of bookshops/ booksellers to meet Andrea Beaty and David Roberts over supper. What an evening we had! It was so wonderful to hear about all the secrets that David has popped into the illustrations- look out for AB (Andrea Beaty) and DR (David Roberts)….And the woman who was the inspiration for David’s Ada Twist- Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock popped along with her daughter – it was the first time that David and Andrea had met her- they both looked like two kids who’d just been given the keys to the toy shop!! Dr Maggie is an English space scientist and science educator and presents the Sky at Night and is a truly awesome role model. Dr Maggie found school hard- she was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 8 but she found she had an aptitude and a passion for science. In interviews she has mentioned the support her father gave her “Thanks to his support it seemed entirely reasonable to me that with hard work, a black girl with learning difficulties would soon be travelling from inner London to outer space,” (Telegraph 2009). Check out the penultimate page of Ada Twist and have aloof at the book covers-you’ll see a copy of ‘Do We Need The Moon’ by a Dr M A-P! And once you start really looking at that page you will see some great authors work- ‘The Art of Science’ by D Roberts, ‘As If’ by Professor Beaty….and don’t forget to look for the white cat with one yellow and one blue eye who appeared in Iggy and returns in Ada. And do take a peep under those dust jackets because the book covers are stunning!

If you are a fan of the series you will already know that Iggy, Rosie and Ada are all in the same class. Although David and Andrea work separately it was fascinating to see how they both feed off the inspiration provided by the other. Andrea spoke about how she decided who to write about from the class of children drawn by David- her eyes were drawn to Rosie- as she hid behind her fringe and off went Andrea’s imagination… Ada came to life thanks to David’s illustration in Iggy Peck when the class follow Iggy’s lead as he starts to build the bridge- have a look- and you’ll see Ada Twist on the right hand side of the page with her right hand on her chin, the one child who is inactive but clearly deep in thought.

I’d like to say a very big thank you to Andrea Beaty for coming to visit and to Abrams and Chronicle Uk for including Ottie and the Bea in Andrea’s Uk Tour. And most of all thank you to Andrea and David for creating these wonderfully inspiring books…..”more please”.x