Saturday, 7 February 2015

An author visit to Nigeria

One of the great privileges of being a children's author is the chance to visit schools and enthuse children about books. Occasionally a special invitation comes along and I received one recently which enable me to spend time at the amazing Children's International School in Lagos, Nigeria.

I was one of three UK authors, along with Adisa the Verbalizer and Judy Waite, to visit this new school, which caters for both primary and secondary kids in Africa's largest city. We were greeted with enormous enthusiasm and warmth by the staff and had a great time working with the children from Y1 to Y9, all of whom were delighted to meet us.

The trip was arranged as part of the school's Book Week and one of the highlights of the visit was seeing the children's fancy dress parade where they dressed up as book characters. Can you recognise any of these?

I was delighted to be given the chance to tell KS2 children about the importance of reading and to inspire them through stories, poems, interesting facts and extracts from books. I also led a 3-hour teacher training session working with staff from several local schools across the city, helping them to instigate strategies to encourage reluctant readers and to promote reading for pleasure, something which is enormously important to every child, whether African, British or otherwise.

We were also given a guided tour of a nearby art gallery and a local market by the school's wonderful Head of Library Services, Keji, who gave us an amazing demonstration of the art of haggling as we negotiated for bargains among the craftsmen and women and sellers of Nigerian clothes and objects. We also drove around the city and saw some of the vibrant street scenes in this vast, growing city.

Nigeria has received a lot of very negative press in recent months but we found everyone we met to be friendly, welcoming and full of positive energy. This is an exciting country to be in, and we must learn not to judge a nation by the actions of a tiny faction in a distant corner or by rumours of disease. 

We tried the local food (be warned - it's delicious but very spicy and strong-flavoured) and enjoyed the heat (around 30 degrees each day) although returning to -2 in the UK wearing thin clothes was a shocker! Altogether it was a memorable visit and I hope to go again one day.

Writer Judy Waite and poet Adisa - my excellent companions for the visit

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Blue Peter!

This has been a very exciting week as it has just been announced that The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff has been shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2015. It is one of just three titles chosen in the 'Book with facts' category and one of only six overall. I am really thrilled to be chosen for such an important and well-known award.

The shortlisted books are chosen by a panel of judges including authors and then 200 children from schools around the country choose the winning titles from the two categories in March. As the logo shows, this is the 15th year of the competition.

Silliness rules!
I'm up against two other brilliant-looking books in the 'facts' category but hope that the Silly Book's unique selection of jokes, fun facts, poems, amazing info and silly things to do will win the day. And of course, I have Scott Garrett's fab illustrations and Bloomsbury's ace design team in my favour too!

The shortlisted books

Michael Morpurgo (lovely man and great writer) appeared on Blue Peter to help announce the shortlist and he was also awarded the GOLD Blue Peter badge, no less, for inspiring so many young readers. What a great idea. You can see a video of the Book Award part of the show here.

You can read more about the Blue Peter Book Awards here and can find out how you can get involved as a judge in future if you are at a UK primary school. 
By the way you can buy The Silly Book at HALF PRICE here!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Review of Reviews

Time to review some reviews that have appeared for my new children's novel, Prankenstein.

Moontrug said:
The story is brilliantly funny – every page makes you chuckle, snigger, giggle, smile, snort and chortle – and the characters are larger-than-life: a Granny who thinks Soapy looked like Winston Churchill as a baby, a Mother who is terrified of having anything delicious, like jam, in the house, a nanny whose knickers get sewn together and BEST of all, The Twince – two Estonian twins with epic accents: ‘I can feel it in my bonce.’ 
Full review here.

Readaraptor said:
This was a very fun read with some hilarious bits dotted about and some great accompanying images.
Full review here

Read It Daddy said:
With a good dose of dark humour that put us in mind of David Walliams or Roald Dahl, Andy Seed's first book for Fat Fox Books, "Prankenstein" is a funny and original story that veers between a detective novel and a knockabout chaotic caper.
Full review here.

Treasury Islands said:
a well crafted, funny, and escapist read which I’d like to compare to David Walliams or Dav Pikey, if only doing so wouldn’t suggest Prankentstein was much lower quality than it is. 
Full review here

Wondrous Reads said:
Above all else, Prankenstein is very funny with a great turn of phrase. I pretty much laughed all the way through it, particularly at Soapy's flippant, sarcastic comments and blunt humour.
Full review here.

Fantastic Reads said:
This is a fun book for fans of a Horrid Henry seeking more challenge, or of Mr Gum...
Full review here.

Buy the book from Waterstones.
Or Amazon. But best of all from your local bookshop...

Friday, 3 October 2014

Prankenstein in here!

Imagine you could do any prank you wanted...

Now published!

Prankenstein, my first novel for children, is now out there in bookshops and is waiting for readers of 8-11 who like something funny, adventurous and fast-paced, with a mystery at the core. It's the story of Soapy, a boy who loves pranks but daren't play any for fear of his parents. When crazy pranks start happening all around him, Soapy sets out with his friends to investigate.

The three young detectives discover that the culprit is a strange, hairy creature full of mischief - but who is he, where did he come from and why is he doing these outrageous pranks? Soapy finds the answer and uncovers a shocking secret...

Reviews have now started appearing including this fabulous one from Treasury Islands:

You can read the rest of the review here.

The book includes some high quality illustrations by Richard Morgan:

Prankenstein was also chosen by The Sun newspaper as their recommended book for ten year-olds for their new Get Kids Reading campaign.

Here's a blog post about some of the pranks I did myself when younger, on the Federation of Children's Book Club Groups site.

And you can read more about Prankenstein here.
And buy it from Waterstones here.
Or Amazon here.

Beautiful Bath

Last weekend I was in beautiful Bath for the excellent Bath Children's Literature Festival. It's a big week-long book bash and all sorts of people were there from Horrid Henry to Nice Henry Winkler and Tom Gates (well, Liz Pichon, his creator). I really enjoyed performing at my own Seriously Silly Stuff event to a great audience - there were only a few seats left and we all had lots of laughs based around the content of The Silly Book. Well done to those kids brave enough to get on stage and do a knock-knock joke with me.

Bath is really a lovely city and I recommend the Abbey and the parks in addition to the splendid Georgian crescents. The Lit Fest is not to be missed for kids - great programme.

Ryedale Book Festival is coming...

Next weekend, the 11/12 October is Ryedale Book Festival here in sunny North Yorks, based in the historic market town of Malton. It's a great little festival with a lot going on (Michael Morpurgo is there this year) - you can see the full programme here.

I will be doing an event this year as usual too: SERIOUSLY SILLY STUFF (as performed at Bath) - it's at Saville St Chapel, Malton on Sunday 12 Oct 2-3pm. Aimed at ages 7-11, there will be loads of laughs, jokes, funny true stories and poems. Everyone who comes will also get a free joke shop novelty or moustache pencil too! Tickets are just £2 on the door. It's a great chance to get a signed book.
Finally, the winners and runners up of the fabulous P-FACTOR schools' poetry comp will be performing there too. Not to be missed.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Free joke shop goodies!

If you live in the York area and you have kids aged 7-12 then here's a wonderful free treat for them on Sunday 7th September. Best-selling author Andy Seed will be having a book launch for his new funny novel Prankenstein in York and will be giving away two free joke shop novelties to every child who comes along.

Kids get two of these FREE!
The event will be held at Love Cheese cafe, Gillygate, York and will feature a fun prank workshop by Andy where he will talk about (harmless) pranks, pranks he has done and about his fab new book Prankenstein, all about a boy's search for a prank-playing monster. The event is free and lasts about 50 minutes. There are three times available: 11am, 12 noon and 1pm. Parents can book their children in by calling the cafe on 01904 622967. The cafe will provide free refreshments for all children booked in.

Andy will be signing copies of his new book at the event too - don't miss out!

Friday, 15 August 2014


A competition for children with a special prize

Kids, can you come up with a zany new prank?  Children’s publisher Fat Fox Books is holding a competition for children aged 7-12 to create a brilliant idea for a funny practical joke. The competition is to celebrate the publication of a new children’s book, Prankenstein, by Andy Seed on 1st September.

Three competition winners will receive a big bag of joke shop novelties including classics such as rubber worms, chopped finger, whoopee cushion, loaded dice, fake doggy-doo and squirt ring, plus a signed copy of Prankenstein. In addition, the overall winner will have their prank included in the second book in the series: a fantastic opportunity to be published!

Prankenstein tells the story of Soapy Thompson, a cheese-allergic boy whose Granny is shot through her roof by a mysterious creature who has supercharged her stair lift. Soapy and his friends track down the culprit, only to discover something truly shocking. This funny and fast-paced tale is the first novel by Andy Seed and one of Fat Fox's two launch titles.

How to enter the competition 

Children should write down their prank in no more than 50 words and email it, with parent/carer’s permission, to The closing date is 1st September 2014. Sixty finalists will be invited to a special free event at Love Cheese café, Gillygate, York on 7th September for a Prank Presentation with Andy Seed where the winners will be announced. All finalists will receive free joke shop novelties and delicious cheese snacks at the cafe. 

Please note that prizes will only be awarded at the York event so parents/carers will need to ensure that their children can attend this event and arrange travel at their own expense. Full rules are below.

Pen a Prank competition rules

The Pen a Prank competition is to come up with an idea for a funny new prank or practical joke. Entrants should not use existing or well-known pranks, but invent their own original idea. The prank should be imaginative and can involve anything as long as it is theoretically ‘do-able’.
  1. Only one entry per child.
  2. Entrants must be aged 7-12 on 1st September 2014
  3. Entries must be sent by email to
  4. Entries must be 50 words maximum.
  5. Closing date 1st Sept 2014.
  6. The child’s name (first name and surname) should be included with the entry.
  7. Children must have permission of their parent or carer to enter.
  8. Entries must not be offensive or dangerous.
  9. It is advisable for children to ask an adult to check their entry for clarity.
  10. Sixty finalists will be chosen to attend a free Prank Presentation event at the Love Cheese café in Gillygate, York on 7th Sept 2014 at either 11am, 12 noon or 1pm. Each finalist will be given two free joke shop novelties and refreshments from the café including cheese snacks. Finalists will be informed by email and asked to confirm if they can attend. Parents/carers can attend but note that space is limited. The event will last approx 50 mins. Finalists will need to provide their own transport to the venue. Prizes cannot be posted.
  11. Three winners will be announced for the best three prank ideas as chosen by author Andy Seed who will host the Prank Presentation event. Each of these will receive a bag of joke shop novelties and a signed copy of Andy’s book Prankenstein.
  12. One overall winner from the above three will be chosen. The overall winner will have his/her prank idea included in the second book in the Prankenstein series subject to editorial approval.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Never be bored again

Wow, what a summer! First of all, the Tour de Schools tour (described by one teacher as the best visiting performance he'd ever seen in a school) finished in style with a great show at an Ikley primary followed by a fun cabaret performance at the White Rose Book Cafe in Thirsk. Then I dashed to the car, drove to the Dales and spent a truly memorable day on Saturday 5th watching Le Tour in beautiful Swaledale where there was a terrific atmosphere of fun and enthusiasm. The sun shone and the race itself was amazing.

Since then I have been busy promoting The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff at events and bookshops. I've had some wonderful feedback from readers and the reviews have been fantastic. As well as being reviewed on CBBC (see previous post) it's had two reviews in the Guardian (here and here).

Numerous other reviews include these:
The Swallow's Nest
Wondrous Reads
What Lexie Loves

Big Book Bash
I've just returned from the lovely town of Matlock where the excellent Derbyshire Big Book Bash 2014 took place. This is a special event for children in care and their families and is funded by the admirable Derbyshire County Council. No less than eight children's authors and illustrators were there including Cathy Cassidy, Alan Gibbons and Robert Crowther, meister of pop-ups. I ran two sessions and really enjoyed them. The organisers and volunteers deserve a huge cheer for all the work put in.

The Anti-Boredom Book is almost here!
I was delighted to receive an advance copy of my next book, The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Things to Do published by Bloomsbury. It's launched on 31st July so very soon and it looks ACE:

The design team that produced The Silly Book have done another top job and once more the talented Scott Garrett's illustrations are witty and enhance the contents so well. Inside you'll find an amazing array of fun things to do from amusing talking games to wacky mini-quizzes, things to score and challenges to face. It is GUARANTEED to keep boredom at bay for any kid of 8-12 this summer and beyond. Pre-order from you local bookshop pleeeease, but if you live all rural then here's an Amazon link.

Events coming up 2014

Sat 26th July - The Deer Shed Festival, near Thirsk
Come along and join in Andy's Silly Fun Workshop (details here)

Sat 2nd August - Book signing at Waterstones Northallerton
Get a signed copy of All Teachers Bright and Beautiful, or the Anti-Boredom Book or Silly Book for kids: 10am-12 noon

Wed 3rd Sept - Prankenstein launch
The exciting launch of Andy's first novel for children: details to follow

Sat 20th Sept - Book Signing at Waterstones York
Come along to their shiny new store and get a special free gift plus a signed copy of The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff, The Anti-Boredom Book or Prankenstein! 1-3pm

Sat 27th Sept - Bath Kids Literature Festival
Booking is essential for Andy's fun workshop, Seriously Silly Stuff (details here) 3.15-4pm

Sat October 4th - Book signing at Waterstones Northallerton
Get a signed copy of All Teachers Bright and Beautiful, or the Anti-Boredom Book or Silly Book for kids: 10am-12 noon

Sunday October 12th - Ryedale Book Festival
A fun children's event - details to follow: Festival website.

Sat 25th Oct - Talk at Starbeck Library, Harrogate
An entertaining talk for adults about Andy's teaching experiences in the Dales (afternoon)

And finally, back to Le Tour
Here's my poem celebrating the race coming to Yorkshire: