ENTER MR PANDA’S DOUGHNUT COMPETITION ONLY AT SWINDON LIBRARIES

Mr Panda and Swindon Libraries invite you to design your own doughnut this summer! It can be any kind of a doughnut: a monster doughnut, an arty doughnut, a magic doughnut!

Three winners will be chosen by Mr Panda’s creator, Steve Antony, and will each receive fun prizes, including three signed books!

The winners will be announced by Steve Antony at the Summer Reading Challenge Event, Central Library, September 25th, 6pm.

Pick up an entry form at any Swindon Library from 15th July. Design your doughnut by 2nd September.

Have fun and good luck!

From Steve Antony and Swindon Libraries

Please Mr Panda wins Oxfordshire Picture Book Award

I'm really pleased and honoured that PLEASE MR PANDA has won the Oxfordshire Picture Book Award for Best Picture Book! 

This is such fantastic news!

Highly commended is Oliver Jeffers' brilliant Once Upon an Alphabet.

Winner of Best Secondary Novel is The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson.

The winner of Best Primary Novel is the Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Steven Lenton.

National Doughnut Week in aid of The Children's Trust

7th - 14h May is National Doughnut Week!

National Doughnut Week aims to raise money to support The Children’s Trust, the leading charity for children with brain injury, so that they can continue to provide much needed rehabilitation work at their specialist centre.

Bakers across the whole of the UK are uniting for this cause and donating money earned from their doughnut sales to The Children's Trust.  I'm not so sure my homemade doughnuts would be all that edible, but I’m glad I can contribute with an illustrated one or two.

To find a participating bakery near you, please visit this page: http://nationaldoughnutweek.org/search.php#

For more information on The Children's Trust, please visit their website: http://www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk

Enjoy your doughnuts! But remember to say PLEASE!

Mr Panda Yoga Classes Rolled Out in the UK

Today, the first Mr Panda yoga classes will take place across the UK.

The craze started in California, and now it's set to take the UK by storm. As of today, no less than 1,546 UK gyms will start holding Mr Panda yoga classes.

Each class will be led by Mr Panda, and you'll be stretching to the sound of doughnut themed songs, like 'I Would Do Anything for Doughnuts' by Nutloaf and 'Donut Worry, Be Happy' by Bobby McDough and 'Ice Me Baby' by Vanilla Icing.  If that doesn't wet your appetite, low-fat baked doughnuts will be handed out at the end of each class. Quote PLEASE for your first free session.

Have fun!

Tweet or Instagram and tag all your 'panda yoga' antics with #MrPandaYoga to @MrSteveAntony for a chance of winning a signed copy of PLEASE MR PANDA.

Check out these of photos of Mr Panda Yoga from around the world.

#yoga #yogalife #yogi #yogilife #armbalance #fallenangel #mrpandayoga #theonlywaytoread

A photo posted by Patrick Alanm (@patrickalanm) on

PLEASE MR PANDA's on the Kate Greenaway Longlist! See the full list here.

Amazed, excited and honoured to be on the KATE GREENAWAY LONGLIST alongside these guys! This is an absolute dream, especially when I think of just how long and challenging it has been to realise my dream of being an author.

Guernsey Children's Book Week - 1,482 Doughnuts, 14 Schools and 1 Amazing Library

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This is me, moments before my 14th and final school event in Guernsey: a small island in the English Channel, just off the coast of Normandy. It's where Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables. It's where rare golden goats graze. It has historical castles, sandy beaches, cobbled streets and quirky shops.

I was there for Guernsey's Children's Book Week: a week to celebrate the sheer joy of books, filled with fun and inspiring events organised by Guernsey's fantastic School Library Service.

Almost a year ago, the library invited me to take part, and weeks before my arrival I knew exactly which schools I'd be visiting. All of the nitty gritty details, including all the tech stuff, like laptops, screens, papers and pencils, were clarified well in advance. And the hotel? It was perfect; and only a short walk from the island's indie bookstore, Press Shop

All there was for me to do was remember my memory stick and Top Secret sketchbook.

My mission was to visit fourteen schools in five days. Authors, Tommy Donbavand and Nick Cook were there for the week, too. Tommy had a head-start, as he was there for Doctor Who day, which took place on the Saturday before Children's Book Week. Tommy's written for Doctor Who, and he's the author of many books including the successful Scream Street series (now a stop-motion animated series on CBBC).

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Gaming guru and author of Cloud Riders, Nick Cook, wowed everyone with his tornado machine: a machine that actually creates mini twisters! I was there to read my books; draw pandas, corgis and toucans; and eat imaginary doughnuts all week. 

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On the Thursday, the three of us were interviewed by BBC Guernsey presenter, Jenny Kendall-Tobias, alongside the library events organiser, Elizabeth. It was a really fun (and funny) conversational interview that's definitely worth a listen. Afterwards, we took part in a panel event and a glittering awards ceremony, held in the town library, where winning entries to an art contest were announced. I awarded three talented children with signed copies of PLEASE MR PANDA for their zany, innovative doughnut designs. There was a healthy doughnut complete with vegetables, an amusing pig-faced doughnut, and an amazingly constructed abstract doughnut which won 1st place.

One of Tommy's winning entries to his 'draw a monster' contest was a fantastically monstrous caterpillar called a CaterKiller. 

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The week was packed with school events. Each morning, a librarian collected me from the hotel and accompanied me throughout each day. I mainly based my school events on THE QUEEN'S HAT, BETTY GOES BANANAS and PLEASE MR PANDA. I taught the pupils how to draw pandas, toucans and corgis with shapes and letters. They had great fun screaming along with Betty and spotting the butler in THE QUEEN'S HAT. Every school was well prepped for their event, so the pupils were already very familiar with the characters and stories. This makes author events so much better, because the pupils are already invested in the characters. This allows us to expand on each story by making up new characters and situations. And they were excited and interested to see how each story began. Ultimately, each of my visits were about inspiring kids to read, create and use their imagination.

For my lunch breaks, I was treated to a spot of sightseeing by each librarian who accompanied me. On Monday, Alan gave me a mini guided tour of Vale Castle: a famous, historic local landmark which also features in THE GUERNSEY GOVERNOR"S GLOVES, a brilliantly executed picture book created by Miss Kimber's Class from Vauvert KS1 that tells the tale of how a pair of windswept gloves took the Governor on an impromptu tour of the island (a bit like another story I know). 

For Tuesday's lunch break, Emily drove us to the West Coast, which had suffered a minor battering from the tale end of Storm Imogene (pictured below). We also braved a freak hail storm to take a very quick 'book bench selfie'. The bench was based on the local classic, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G B Edwards, and it was painted by local artists Charlie Buchanan, Lauren Perry and Sam O’Neil (pictured below).

On Thursday, Ellie took me to see the island's rare and mysterious Golden Guernsey: a breed of goat named after its golden fleece. Alan had kindly given Ellie directions to a small holding where we found the golden goats quietly grazing (pictured below). I love discovering new animals, and I love adding rare and endangered animals into my stories. 

I had Friday's lunch in the airport. It was sad to say goodbye to Guernsey. I had such a great time. In fact, this has to be one of the best book tours I've ever been on, which is all down to the super-organised and hospitable librarians of Guernsey.

I definitely plan on returning.

Below are several photos from each of the schools I visited, along with photos of Vale Castle, golden goats, and the aforementioned 'bookbench'. But first, here is a list of some things I didn't manage to snap.

  • A band of bearded folk singers that suddenly popped up behind me, Tommy and Nick in the hotel bar. 
  • The cute, shaggy sheepdog that suddenly turned evil when I tried taking its photo.
  • A big independent toy shop. Independent toy shops are hard to come by these days.
  • Dolphins. According to the paper, a pod of dolphins were spotted on the coast.
  • Sark island: a tiny island between Guernsey and Jersey that has no cars and a population of around 500!
Spotting butlers at Le Rondin School.

Spotting butlers at Le Rondin School.

One wing of Le Rondin entered a tasty-fruity-treat contest. These are the finalists' creations.

One wing of Le Rondin entered a tasty-fruity-treat contest. These are the finalists' creations.

Reading I'll Wait, Mr Panda.

Reading I'll Wait, Mr Panda.

Another wing of the school made hats. These are the finalists' hats.

Another wing of the school made hats. These are the finalists' hats.

And the third wing made doughnuts. 

And the third wing made doughnuts. 

Here are two of the talented winners with their respective prizes!

Here are two of the talented winners with their respective prizes!

A page from THE GUERNSEY GOVERNOR"S GLOVES by Miss Kimber's class.

A page from THE GUERNSEY GOVERNOR"S GLOVES by Miss Kimber's class.

A page from  THE GUERNSEY GOVERNOR"S GLOVE  by Miss Kimber's class.

A page from THE GUERNSEY GOVERNOR"S GLOVE by Miss Kimber's class.

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Blanchlande Infants were dressed in around-the-world costumes.

Blanchlande Infants were dressed in around-the-world costumes.

Drawing pandas.

Drawing pandas.

Reading The Queen's Hat.

Reading The Queen's Hat.

Beautiful vistas were everywhere.

Beautiful vistas were everywhere.

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Stunning. 

Stunning. 

Wood for sale and an honesty box. Ellie had to explain to be what an honesty box was. I asked 'Is it where people post their confessions?' It's basically where people help themselves so long as they leave some money. Amazing.

Wood for sale and an honesty box. Ellie had to explain to be what an honesty box was. I asked 'Is it where people post their confessions?' It's basically where people help themselves so long as they leave some money. Amazing.

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Golden Guernsey

Golden Guernsey

Eggs for sale, and an honesty box. 

Eggs for sale, and an honesty box. 

Golden Guernsey

Golden Guernsey

This was a beautiful viewpoint.

This was a beautiful viewpoint.

Showing pupils how to draw pandas with shapes and letters.

Showing pupils how to draw pandas with shapes and letters.

Panda drawings!

Panda drawings!

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Where's the butler?

Where's the butler?

Daleks had invaded the library.

Daleks had invaded the library.

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Press Shop had a great window display.

Press Shop had a great window display.

This was in the island's paper every day of the week.

This was in the island's paper every day of the week.

No, that's not dandruff, it's hail. Me and Emily attempting to take a 'bookbench selfie' in a freezing hail storm, but the bench is totally obscured. 

No, that's not dandruff, it's hail. Me and Emily attempting to take a 'bookbench selfie' in a freezing hail storm, but the bench is totally obscured. 

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Reading Betty Goes Bananas.

Reading Betty Goes Bananas.

Pupils made their own hats.

Pupils made their own hats.

The West Coast

The West Coast

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Vale Castle

Vale Castle

Vale Castle

Vale Castle

Vale Castle

Vale Castle

My private jet.

My private jet.

Baileys cheesecake. Yum!

Baileys cheesecake. Yum!

Heading home. Goodbye Guernsey! 

Heading home. Goodbye Guernsey! 

From Taiwan: A Mr Panda video 熊貓先生

The Taiwan editions of PLEASE MR PANDA and I'LL WAIT, MR PANDA respectively reached number one in the children's charts in Taiwan. Here's an advertisement for both books. I love this. Mr Panda has his very own webpage in Traditional Chinese HERE.

「你想吃甜甜圈嗎?」 熊貓先生耐心且有禮貌的詢問動物們要不要吃甜甜圈。 企鵝和臭鼬毫不客氣的指定甜甜圈的顏色, 鴕鳥下巴抬的高高的,甩頭不理人, 大鯨魚想要全部的甜甜圈,還要求熊貓先生拿更多來...... 卻被酷酷的熊貓先生一一拒絕了。 熊貓先生捧著滿滿的一盒甜甜圈,一個都還沒送出去。 到底有誰可以吃到這些甜甜圈呢? ● 作者簡介 作、繪者/ 史蒂夫‧安東尼 ...

Mr Panda and that Hat at the Ideal Home Show at Christmas

Me and  Julia Patton  holding each other's books after our signings.

Me and Julia Patton holding each other's books after our signings.

Book store, Bangzo, kindly invited me to do a spot of book signing at their stand in the Ideal Home Show at Christmas. Of course, I accepted!

Sadly, I didn’t get much time to shop (which was probably a good thing). But that didn’t matter because I had a fantastic time meeting authors, catching up with friends and meeting lots of nice people who stopped to say hello.

I wished lots of Merry Christmas's inside copies of THE QUEEN'S HAT and PLEASE MR PANDA, and I read PLEASE MR PANDA to an audience of Christmas shoppers.

This is a super short blog post, but I just thought it’d be nice to share these photos of my afternoon.

Also, it was snowing there. Fake snow. It was amazing.

It was great to meet (from left to right) Andrew Davis, Angie Lake & Myra King.

It was great to meet (from left to right) Andrew Davis, Angie Lake & Myra King.

Reading Please Mr Panda

Reading Please Mr Panda

Class transformed into Mr Panda's production Site

I love seeing how teachers use my books in the classroom. THE QUEEN'S HAT is proving very popular for teaching geography, creative writing, pronouns and even music (thanks to the London Symphony Orchestra's recent adaptation of the book). 

Now it seems that PLEASE MR PANDA is working its way into the learning environment, too, in spite of Mr Panda's permanent glower. Plus, it appears to be presenting the perfect excuse for teachers to dine on doughnuts during recess! I know this because I've seen the tweets.

Some classes have decorated paper doughnuts (Pollock would be proud) and others have made wacky doughnut chains to decorate their classroom with. Some teachers have conducted fun reenactments of the manners-themed story to really drive home the book's message of not forgetting that elusive magic word. Other teachers have focused more on the black and white animals featured in the story. At a recent school visit, one pupil proudly pointed out that Mr Panda does not like doughnuts because pandas like bamboo.

But just the other week I was blown away with what one particular school did with PLEASE MR PANDA. Not only did they transform a class into a fully operational doughnut production site, but they also cleverly delivered a series of lessons that related to different parts of their modified classroom.

With help and inspiration from his creative peers, Mr Thompson turned his class into an interactive doughnut factory. To the right are some photos of the class.

Burdett-Coutts & Townshend Foundation CE Primary School was a abuzz with fun activities based on Mr Thompson's inventive expansion of my book.

There were many fun and educational tasks to be carried out in order for the factory to run smoothly and effectively. But first, the pupils had to apply for their preferred job role by filling out a simple application form. And I can gather from the photos that there were many jobs on offer.

There's the customer-service based role of answering the phone and taking orders. There's the role of mixing ingredients and not burning doughnuts in the oven. There's the task of operating the cash register. And there's the doughnut truck driving role.

I'm guessing a cleaner was required at the end of each shift to sweep up the mess, or perhaps that role got lumbered with the teacher and TA. Every job has its perks though (yes, I did notice the real-life doughnuts in the photos).

Each role has it's own lesson, but what's wonderful is that they've all got one thing in common. They all encourage pupils to cooperate and work together as a team, and this is probably the best lesson of all.

Doughnut factory duties aside, the children also created an amazing gallery of chalk-drawn characters from the book (the lemur, the ostrich, the penguin, the whale, the skunk and the titular panda). You can see some of them on the wall in one of the photos.

I'd like to thank Mr Thompson and the school for allowing me to share these photos on my blog. Now that I've posted this article, I have a feeling that Mr Panda's doughnut factory is going to expand, like a franchise! 

Oh, and if you do remodel your classroom, don't discard your materials because doughnuts are set to feature in the next two manners-themed Mr Panda picture books! 

Thanks again, Mr Thompson, for tweeting me your photos. I look forward to meeting you and your class in World Book Week next year!
 

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A Very Special Visit to The Alligator's Mouth

Illustrated by the one and only Chris Riddell!

Illustrated by the one and only Chris Riddell!

On Saturday, Richmond was buzzing with rugby banter. Footpaths carried a heavy stream of supporters to the big match (or the pub) and just about every other pedestrian had a Kiwi accent.

I, however, was not going to the match (or the pub). I had a date down at The Alligators Mouth in a quaint, little side street a side-step away from the river of Rugby fans.

The Alligators Mouth is new independent children's bookstore in the heart of Richmond run by a friendly trio of passionate booksellers: Tony, Margaret and Mark. I heard rave reviews about this shop not long after it opened, which if I can remember rightly from my conversation with Tony, was May this year. Since opening, they've had special visits from the likes of Jacqueline Wilson, Axel Scheffler and Chris Riddell, and that was in one day!

Naturally, I couldn't wait to visit. 

I was particularly excited to discover that the shop had managed to acquire some copies of the not-even-officially-published-yet GREEN LIZARDS VS RED RECTANGLES, which presented the perfect opportunity for me to incorporate the battling reptiles and shapes into my event. 

Another nice surprise was a call from my friend, Jane Elson, author of award-winning A ROOM FULL OF CHOCOLATE and Carnegie-nominated HOW TO FLY WITH BROKEN WINGS, to say that she was coming to my event, which meant I had at least one guaranteed audience member!

But thankfully, I had more than one audience member. Phew! I recognised retweeters, and I met some big fans of Mr Panda, including a mother who is planning a Mr Panda themed party for her child's 1st birthday.

Me, Jane, our books and the Alligator on the bag.

It was a brilliant event. I read most of my books. We took a crazy trip with The Queen across the United Kingdom, spotted the butler (and an alien, surfing police officers, Mo Farah and more) and we drew Mr Panda with shapes and letters.

After my event I bought some books for myself (of course!) before devouring an entire margerita pizza in the restaurant next door.

All in all I had a great time. What a fantastic shop!

Thank you to Mark, Toni and Margaret for having me, and for finding me a Sharpie to sign with! Thanks also to Jane for coming along (and taking photos). But mostly, thank you to all who came for making the event so enjoyable.

So, If you're reading this in London (or even New Zealand), take note, The Alligator's Mouth is well worth a visit (and so is the restaurant next door).

Below are some photos of my event, taken by Jane and Mark.

Spotting the butler!

Spotting the butler!

For Teachers: Lesson Ideas From Around the World

From decorating doughnuts to acting out plays to learning about geography and jungle themed Reading Corners, TEACHERS from the UK to Australia have invented CREATIVE LESSON PLANS and FUN ACTIVITIES based on my books.

In response to the many emails I've received from teachers, I've created a web page devoted to lessons and activities especially for teachers, librarians and booksellers.

Most of these lesson and activity ideas are suitable for KS1 (ages 5-7) pupils, but they can also be tailored for younger pupils. I have indicated a recommended age group next to each lesson based on my experience from school events, but you can tailor them for just about any age group.

Press HERE to visit the corner of my site that's especially devoted to teachers and librarians.

Have fun!

Broadwater Primary School pupils showing off their new headgear in a musical parade. (Photo by Emerson Wimsey)

Broadwater Primary School pupils showing off their new headgear in a musical parade. (Photo by Emerson Wimsey)

Please Mr Panda Nominated for Kate Greenaway Medal

Reading Mr Panda on National Libraries Day at Royal Wootton Bassett Libraray.

Reading Mr Panda on National Libraries Day at Royal Wootton Bassett Libraray.

I am absolutely thrilled to say that my third picture book, PLEASE MR PANDA, has been nominated for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal!

It's an honour to be included with so many amazing authors and illustrators. 

Thank you to the librarians that nominated my book. I am truly grateful.

And so is Mr Panda, despite his somewhat sour demeanour.

You can see the full list of Kate Greenaway nominations HERE.

You can see the full list of Carnegie nominations HERE.