A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

You Know It’s Going to be a Great School Visit When… by Mo O’Hara

My characters Tom and Pradeep are always making up Top Ten lists so I thought for this blog I would do my Top Ten ways that you know it’s going to be a great school visit.

You know it’s going to be a great school visit when…

  1. The school knows you are coming and are genuinely excited.

Mo 1

Excitement is infectious and if one or two teachers or librarians are supporting the event it always has more of a fun buzz.

  1. You are greeted with a cuppa.

Mo 2

I was as a school near Manchester last Autumn. As soon as I walked into the school building the secretary said, ‘It’s so cold out there. You’ll be wanting a brew.’

These are magic words to any author, especially after a long trip. I knew it was going to be a fab school and it was.

  1. The kids are dressed up.

Mo 3.jpg

World Book Week or just ‘Character Day’ at school is super fun.  I usually spend the whole day laughing and occasionally you get to see one of your own characters walking around the halls.

  1. You are wearing your lucky socks.

Mo 4

Come on, admit it, you all have your lucky something that you like to wear to school visits and you just feel better on those days when you have it.

  1. There is book themed food!!

Mo 5


This is very rare but so cool. I’ve had zombie cupcakes , lollipops and cookies but this is the healthy option.

  1. You see a smiling face like this out there when you do something silly on stage for the first time.

Mo 6

  1. You have their attention.

Mo 7

There isn’t a fire drill, or prize giving or a sudden need to take out all the kids who are going on the field trip. It just goes as was planned.  Ahhhh.  It doesn’t happen all the time and you have to be prepared to roll with things but it’s really nice when you don’t have to.

  1. You are prepared for the right age group and are given that group.

Mo 8

When my first picture book came out I did a session for a nursery group in a school in September.  I thought I was doing Reception but thought, ‘It’s only a year younger. It’ll be fine.’ What I neglected to take into account was the total tininess of these kids. (Time of year matters soooooo much with school year groups and a year difference in the early years is HUGE!)

Anyway, at one point after some singing and actions I asked them all to sit down.  Suddenly I was faced with piles of squirming children on the floor. I forgot to say, ‘Please check that no one else is behind you and then sit down on the carpet. Not on your friend.’

  1. They don’t have your assembly scheduled up against something better. 😊

Mo 9

I was once booked for a school visit on the same day as the Guide Dogs for the Blind were coming in with puppies for a demonstration and talk.  The kids had a choice as to which assembly they would attend.  Me or adorable and noble little Andrex puppies?  I had about 15 kids. I would rather have seen the puppies.

  1. They say they will follow up your visit. (And they actually do!!!!)

Mo 10

 It is beyond amazing to get stories, photos or drawings from follow up work that teachers did after your event. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

School visits can be stressful and exhausting but they can also be the most magical days you’ll spend as an author.

Just watch out for the puppies.





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This entry was posted on August 4, 2017 by .
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