Hi everyone! Now you might have guessed that I’m a bit of a star-gazer. In fact when I was editing Tamarind And The Star Of Ishta this time last year, I would go out into my garden every night and I’d see the brightest star in the sky. Quite frankly it was like a spotlight and I couldn’t believe it was a star. I then found out that it was the evening star Venus. When I did some digging about – like authors do when they are writing, I found out that before Venus was called Venus, she was called Ishtar and she was originally a Mesopotamian goddess. Seeing the star shining so brightly made me feel so much closer to my story.
And the reason why I’m telling you all about this is that I’d love you all to go out tomorrow evening around 5.15 – look to the south west – that’s over to where the sun sets and you’ll see a really BIG star – in fact it’s 2 planets, Saturn and Jupiter. For the first time since around 400 years ago they will get super close and seem to be one star. You could think of it as the Christmas star. Try to find a spot that’s high up and where you can see to the horizon – good luck!!! This photo was taken on the Isle Of Wight by Jamie Russell. The planets are on the left of the photo and they've been moving closer and tomorrow until the 23rd Dec they'll look like a huge star!
Hi everyone!!! Hope you’re all doing OK despite all the tricky things that are going on at the moment. I just wanted to pop over here and say Hi to you! Tamarind And The Star Of Ishta has been out now for a few months and one of the lovely things has been to share the story with schools. Even though like so many of us, I haven’t managed to physically get out, I have been doing quite a few virtual visits – here’s one of the schools with the pupils engrossed in their copies of Tamarind in the photo.
The other cool thing is that Tamarind was long-listed for the Blue Peter Awards 2020 and is also on Derbyshire Schools Award and Calderdale Schools Award – I’m very grateful for all of this, so a huge thank you to the teams who chose Tamarind!
I have been head down working on book 3!!! YES book 3! I am editing at the moment and have just finished draft 3 and it’s all ready to ping off to Kesia Lupo who is my editor at Chickenhouse Books –
The other bit of news in our house is that the Christmas tree is going up, Enzo (my dog!) is going to get his Xmas jumper on and I’m hoping to start eating mince pies soon. I have already had a couple but those were teeny and that was way back in November.
Well that’s all for now – see you all soon and have a good Christmas!
Soooo!!! It’s here…publication day or book birthday which ever you like. Sometimes when you are deep in edits or maybe even at the thinking stage of your next book it can be hard to imagine that one day you will hold the actual book in your sticky palms! But it has happened and after editing over Christmas 2019 – yes you heard correct! This was what I was doing last Christmas in between munching mince pies and slurping hot chocolate. No wonder I had to put a bit of food into the story.
And what’s even more wonderful is that it is Indie Book Of The Month!!! This means that if you buy it from your local indie shop you can get one with a signed bookplate. Maybe if you do grab one of the signed ones you could post a pic of it? That would be nice.
I REALLY hope you enjoy this story – it has a cute golden monkey in it who every time he flicks his tail leaves a trail of gold-dust…
And another bit of very exciting news…My latest book Tamarind And The Star Of Ishta comes out on 3rd September 2020. It’s another magical story set in the Himalaya, about a girl called Tamarind who visits her ancestral home for the first time and while she’s there she begins to uncover family secrets surrounding her mother’s death when Tamarind was a baby. She discovers a magical garden, meets a mysterious mountain girl and her monkey Hanu and finds a special emerald ring that belonged to her mum which she thinks might hold the answers to her questions. You can take a look at this trailer to get a flavour of what’s to come. And if you want to can pre-order the book through Waterstones!
Even though this happened a little while ago – in fact it was way away in January 2020!!! I wanted to share the news with you. It was a very glitzy celebration in London with lots of people from publishing there. I got to feel like a bit of a celeb and had my photo taken by proper photographers and then I went on stage to collect my award.
Sorry to have been a little busy to post very much but hope you're all doing OK? A few days ago Asha And The Spirit Bird published in the US - and here is the stunning cover in a beautiful trailer for you to share.
I wanted to share some very exciting news. I found out a couple of weeks ago that Asha And The Spirit Bird has been selected for the Carnegie Nominations for 2020. This is such a huge honour and I am very very happy to be there. The wonderful thing about the Carnegie Medal is the commitment to public service. And to be committed to libraries and reading is in my view one of the best things. Libraries and access to books means so much to me. Not everyone is able to buy books from shops and so to be able to borrow from libraries means we can all enjoy the pleasure and excitement of reading.
At the moment my Patron Of Reading School Mellers Primary in Nottingham are doing a project all about Carnegie – who he was and his charitable work. So I will look forward to seeing their work.
On the 3rd September I was officially able to do my very own show and tell! It was the day that I could share the amazing cover of the US version of Asha And The Spirit Bird.
Here it is – and isn’t it amazing?
It’s been created by an American Indonesian artist called Dion MBD and I love that it’s totally unique and really different to the UK cover which was created by a Romanian artist called Aitch.
When I visited my old primary school, Mellers in Nottingham, the children in year 6 who are reading my book gave me their views on it which I’m going to share with you all here. This is what they thought:
“I like both of them but I like the US one because I feel like it makes more sense and it has the bird watching over and protecting Asha.”
“I like the US one because Asha is holding the pendant which relates to the bird and relates to her Grandma and this means something.”
“I like both but I prefer the US one because it has more meaning. The bird shows you more about the book.”
“I like how you see Asha – she didn’t look like I expected. I thought she would be wearing traditional Indian clothes but she was wearing a hoodie. This made me question things about the book. I know why her hair is short now because she cuts it in the book.”
And here are a few extra comments their teacher shared with me about Asha And The Spirit Bird in general.
“They were interested in the setting too and talked about similarities between the UK and India - there were more than they expected. They didn't think Asha would have electricity or the Internet! We talked a lot about what Asha was wearing and the colours used in the illustration. It was a great and lively discussion. I think on the whole they preferred the US one. After the discussion, I was also in agreement with them which surprised me!”
It’s fantastic that the cover has provoked such discussion!
Thank you once again to the amazing children and their teacher Mrs Buttress.
A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to go all the way to Nottingham to do a very special book tour. It was special because Nottingham is my home-town and ever since I was a little girl I dreamt about maybe going back there to share a real book I had written.
So…I actually went back to my old school, Mellers Primary, and took along Asha And The Spirit Bird to share with them all. If you are one of the lovely children I went to see on the 23rd September here’s a special wave to you all!!!!
It felt so strange to be sitting outside my old headteacher’s office – as if I was on the naughty step and was waiting to see him! But to be honest he was never strict. Mr Stanton was the most lovely headteacher. He used to play guitar and get us singing lots of amazing songs!
I was so impressed with the children and all the teachers I met on the day. I was honoured to be shown around by Milan and J’Maer – thank you both! They were so smart in their uniforms and actually were the most perfect shower rounders. They took me everywhere and showed me all the things that had changed since I was there. Like they have a whole new part of the school for the older pupils!!! And they have a wonderful new hall where everyone gathers for assembly.
This is where I talked to the whole of the school about my book Asha And The Spirit Bird. They all behaved so well. They were amazing. Even the littlest children who I know, from being a teacher myself, can sometimes find it hard to sit still! But they listened and asked some awesome questions.
I even got to sit in on a Maths class with year 6 – I couldn’t believe how good they were at thinking about maths and explaining their answers – super impressed!
Well I hope that you are enjoying reading Asha And The Spirit Bird – how far in are you? What’s your favourite part? Do you believe the spirits of our ancestors are watching over us?
Write and tell me!
On July 13th I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the very lovely Bradford On Avon Mini Book Festival or BOAMF as it likes to be called. It’s run by some hardworking local authors and it marks the start of the Summer Reading Challenge. It all took place at Bradford Library and was great.
One of the really good things about the festival is that it’s free. That’s right it doesn’t cost anything, so if you didn’t get there this year make sure you do next year. You can just spend the whole day in the library getting creative and your parents or carers don’t need to worry about cost.
I took along my special book objects that I always love to display and chatted to the kids about spirit birds. Then they made some amazing ones of their own. One of the organisers took a photo of the rug afterwards and it was full of feathers, bits of tissue paper and strands of shiny strips – we got all these things from Scrapstore – a total heaven of things to recycle!
Hope you enjoy looking at the photos of the day!
Hi I'm Jasbinder, thanks for visiting my blog page. Hope you have fun exploring the posts and finding out more about my life as a writer and more!