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World Book Day Q&A with Jill Murphy

(31 Posts)
KatGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 03-Feb-14 09:09:46

To celebrate World Book Day 2014, author and illustrator Jill Murphy will be doing a Q&A on all things World Book Day related.

World Book Day is back with a bang on 6 March and ten must-reads, including Jill Murphy's Fun With The Worst Witch, can be picked up for FREE using a special £1 World Book Day Token handed out in nurseries and schools.

She's also taking part in this year's new pre-recorded format of The Biggest Book Show On Earth. Available online for the whole of March and including the World Book Day authors and illustrators, schools across the nation are being welcomed to register, log on and watch together on 11am 6 March.

Compered by CBBC’s Dick and Dom, World Book Day authors and illustrators Jill Murphy, James Patterson, David Melling, Emily Gravett, Jim Smith, Lauren St John, Terry Deary, Martin Brown, Alex T Smith, Sarah Lean, Robert Muchamore and Maureen Johnson give exclusive hints and tips on different aspects of writing and drawing.

Post your questions below to Jill Murphy by 12pm 17 Feb.

JillMurphy Mon 03-Mar-14 10:58:25


Hi Jill, there are several books as I was growing up that helped shaped and inspire my reading for the rest of my life. What do you think are some important books for kids to read in their younger years, and then when they're on the brink of adulthood?

Anything that captures their imagination is OK by me. I was thrilled to bits with Enid Blyton stories and comics, as well as the wonderful Narnia stories by C.S. Lewis (with fantastic illustrations by Pauline Baynes), which are still as fresh today as they ever were. I also liked the stories about the Bastable children in Five Children and It and The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbitt. The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson-Burnett are two other all-time favourites. There is a fantastic gift edition of The Secret Garden published by Walker Books, with illustrations by Inga Moore.

My son Charlie has dyslexia and getting him interested in books was always a battle which, I am delighted to say, we won hands down as he has just received a Degree in English from Falmouth University! One of the first books that made him interested in reading was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which must be one of the best books ever written. He also loved The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. All three of these books have characters so real and gripping and full of dilemmas in their lives and I think that these qualities draw in any readers, either reluctant or enthusiastic.

JillMurphy Mon 03-Mar-14 10:59:14


I've banned my GC from any kind of ipad, ipod, iphone or what-have-you for any length of time when they're at mine. I have shelves and shelves of books for them to choose from and I want them to explore these for themselves. I've now acquired the somewhat unflattering label of a 'book pusher'!! Is this too harsh? I really do worry about my GC's education when I see how little they actually read since I believe that reading has taught me more than anything else. What do you think?

Hallelujah! If only everybody felt like you. So many people make the mistake of giving them devices and screens much too early so that they become distracted from reality. I remember trying to explain to my own son about the difference between reality and virtual-reality and telling him that I would rather have something real than something that was pretend. I was really tough with him about this and told him that he could have X-boxes etc. when he was thirteen, if he liked to buy them himself. By that time, he was out skateboarding and playing football and learning to be such an excellent musician that he has had his own band since he started big school. He loved playing on his friends’ machines, but he was so busy by the time he was thirteen that he’d forgotten about wanting one.

You can’t ever get back the early years of showing children how to use their own brains and hands to make their own entertainment, so well done you and keep up the good work!

JillMurphy Mon 03-Mar-14 10:59:33


Hello Jill,

This is more of a statement than a question. My son is an author too having appeared at WBD twice and written one of the 99p books.

From the prospective of his family, the life of an author is far from the rosy picture of sitting quietly in his studio writing.

It comprises writing to deadlines, answering fanmail, replying to a myriad of related emails, travelling all around the country visiting schools, flying off to foreign invites and being moved from place to place daily so that he hardly knows where he is. Attending Festivals where the payment for authors is by bottles of alcohol which are too heavy to carry on the train !

All of this has to be dealt with before a finger touches the computer to start writing.

No doubt you Jill will empathise with the above and you like 'my boy' wouldn't change your career for anything.

Just like your boy, I wouldn’t change my career for anything — in fact, can’t believe my luck!

JillMurphy Mon 03-Mar-14 11:00:07


Hi Jill,
Your books were always a great favourite with my daughter. One of the high spots of her school days was when you came to a Book Fair at Richard Lander and she got your autograph! Sadly, her 7 year old son is only interested in books with guns or aliens, or preferably both. But we still have happy memories of the Worst Witch.

How lovely to hear that your daughter still remembers my visit to Richard Lander. Tell her not to worry about her son only reading books with guns and aliens — it’s a boy thing! As long as they’re reading something, it’s brilliant in this day and age. Perhaps you could get a copy of “Dear Hound”, which is a book of mine about a lost dog. It’s got really nice illustrations and he might like it.

JillMurphy Mon 03-Mar-14 11:00:39


We loved Peace at Last. If we went anywhere and forgot to take a book with us me and the kids used to recite it [there's a lovely rhythm to it]. My little boy was terribly late talking but I can remember him lying in his cot; I was reading Peace at Last and got to the bit with the aeroplane and he started making aeroplane sounds [I can still picture it now]. So, no questions but a big thank you for writing what was 'the' book from my childrens early years.

What lovely feedback to hear how much “Peace At Last” has meant to you and your family. I must admit, I had a tear in my eye as I read about your little boy making aeroplane noises when he’d had some problems with learning to talk. It makes me very proud to know that my story and pictures had such an effect on him, so a big thank-you to you for letting me know.