…STOP PRESS…..May 2018
Further to Lottie’s excellent suggestion in this letter, I am very happy to be able to say that the Beloveds of Starcross Hall will be back with a new adventure in 2019! #KnitbonePepper @usborne_books
Earlier this year I was let into a secret; I’d been nominated for the prestigious Ruth Rendell Award, to be presented to the author who has done the most to champion literacy. I didn’t win, but I was over the moon to have been considered. I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to Devon librarians, to Libraries Unlimited and to Chief Exec Ciara Eastell OBE for nominating me – it’s such an honour and I was very touched.
KNITBONE PEPPER IS SHORTLISTED
FOR THE SAINSBURY’S CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD 2017!
Agency Announcement – The Blair Partnership
I am over the moon to be able to announce that Knitbone has been selected as one of three in the fiction category. Read more here I’m particularly pleased because it’s in partnership with Booktrust who are all about ‘recognising the power of reading to transform a child’s life’.
May 2017 – KNITBONE PEPPER WINS THE BOOK FACTOR 2017!!
Knitbone Pepper won the Simply Books Book Factor award for 2017!!!!! Voted for exclusively by children the awards ceremony was held in Stockport Plaza, a big theatre. When I arrived it was full of children and the atmosphere was amazing. Thanks so much to everyone who voted for Knitbone and to Simply Books for organising the awards. I am truly over the moon.
— Claire Barker (@clairebarker) May 15, 2017
*Competition time* head over to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram ( links on my contact page) to be in with a chance of winning a signed dedicated copy of the new Knitbone Pepper paperback!
My lovely German publishers, Kosmos, serialised the first few chapters of Knitbone in Schwarzwälder Bote, a regional newspaper covering the Black Forest area. Imagine that: a story every day over seven days in the newspaper for children. Germany, I ❤️ you.
March 20th 2017
I am absolutely thrilled that Knitbone has been shortlisted for the Book Factor 2017 awards organised by the fabulous Simply Books of Bramhall, Cheshire. I had such a brilliant time visiting schools with them last autumn so this news is the icing on the cake. Two thousand children will be voting and I’m up against some great authors, so fingers crossed!
Came home from holiday to find the new paperback in my postbox. It’s beautiful, so shiny and glossy! I love the little copper leaves. Out very soon….
World Book Day 2017
A mad and crazy day in which I visited about 900 Barnstaple children, over seven stops. It was SO enjoyable though. Here are some pictures.
17th August 2016
The Edinburgh Book Festival was so much fun! Ross and I had a wonderful time and met some familiar faces. Early copies of Knitbone Pepper and a Horse Called Moon were on sale in the bookshop and Ross gave away his beautiful drawings.
2nd August 2016
Scrolls ready for my Revolting Writes workshops to be held at Barnstaple (tomorrow) and South Molton libraries (Friday) as part of the Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge. Can’t wait.
16th July 2016
TODAY WAS THE LAUNCH OF THE SUMMER READING CHALLENGE!
Here I am meeting some young readers and writers at Barnstaple Library, talking about the Revolting Writes competition.
I had a lovely day and can’t wait to see your awful, horrible, dreadful, revolting rhymes!
3rd July 2016
This week on a school visit a girl folded one of my cards and turned… https://t.co/X7DYSbcoMP
— Claire Barker (@clairebarker) July 3, 2016
29th June 2016
Yesterday I visited two school in Wisbech with Pop Up Hub. These schools were Ramnoth and Orchard C of E and I have to say I had a marvellous time. I should have taken lots of photos of the lovely wall displays but I was so busy talking to the children that I forgot! However, I haven’t forgotten a promise I made to Adrian, who so kindly taught me to say ‘Knitbone Pepper’ in Polish. For Adrian and all of the other Polish speakers in both schools, here are the first pages of Knitbone Pepper and the Last Circus Tiger (Kostek Ostatni Cyrkowi Tygrys). For the first chapter in English, visit the Usborne website here 🐯
Thank you to the staff and children of both schools who made me feel so welcome. I shall remember my day for a long time.
18th May 2016
This Sunday I’ll be on Saunton Sands beach in North Devon watching lots and lots of dogs break a world record, not to mention surfing dogs and a clever dog competition 🐶! I’ll be there signing copies of Knitbone Pepper and saying hello next to the main stand. All of this is to raise money for Dogs Helping Kids, a truly marvellous charity. They go into schools with specially trained therapy dogs, helping with reading but also with kids who have had a tough time. To quote the website:
Dogs Helping Kids is the UK’s unique charity dedicated to using highly trained dogs to help teach children non-violence, empathy, respect, kindness, love, responsibility, friendship and trust.
As a result they are always busy raising funds. The great news is that their charitable status means that Usborne was able to donate a generous sum towards their remarkable work. If you’d like your dog to join in be sure to enter before Sunday! Find out more here:https://www.facebook.com/DHKpawsonthebeach/?fref=ts
23rd April 2016
Today was a very big day as Devon Libraries came under control of Libraries Unlimited. This means that our much loved libraries in Devon won’t shrink or disappear, they will go from strength to strength,growing as part of the community. I was very lucky because they asked me to do a speech for the launch. It was a really big honour as I LOVE libraries. If you’d like to read the words I chose, follow this link:
In the afternoon I was invited to Walter Henry’s Bookshop in Bideford to celebrate the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. There were lots of friendly writers there and I learnt some very interesting historical facts about laces!
22nd April 2016
This evening me and my author friends; Victoria Eveleigh and CJ Busby, were all invited to speak in Bideford College library as part of the World Book Night celebrations. Victoria talked ponies, Cecilia talked swords and I spoke about Knitbone. I met so many wonderful children and had a really great time together.
21st April 2016
WOW! What a day! First of all I visited Oldfield Park Junior school in Bath where all the children dressed up in marvellous hats just like the Peppers!
Then I went on to Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital school where I met this lovely lot and a load more besides:
Thank you so much for being so welcoming and having such excellent questions. I hope you all enjoy your books!
18th April 2016
I’ve got a busy week ahead of me visiting Oldfield Park Juniors in Bath and then Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital School in Bristol on Thursday. Then on Friday I’m at Bideford College for World Book Night with fellow children’s authors Victoria Eveleigh and CJ Busby. Then on Saturday morning I’m the guest author speaker at Barnstaple library as the Devon Library Service becomes Libraries Unlimited. THEN in the afternoon I’m off to Walter Henry’s most excellent bookshop in Bideford for a party in the afternoon. This morning though I received this tweet which made my day:
— Gavin WJ Young (@GavinWJYoung) April 17, 2016
7th April 2016
I’m being quiet at the moment because I’m writing a new story. But I wanted to share this interview with Mead Vale Community Primary School. I enjoyed doing this interview a lot, because it was full of such thoughtful questions. Thank you very much Emily ( great photos too, although that’s no surprise! xx)
Knitbone is in today’s Sunday Express!
In January we received a call from the Dogs Trust centre in Ilfracombe. Our old dog Finn, the inspiration behind Knitbone Pepper, came to us as a puppy from there about 13 years ago. After he died I’d visited the centre a few times, hoping to find a friend for Sam, our Border Terrier. But thing was that Sam, a typical terrier, only likes certain dogs (we think he missed Finn) and finding the right one was tricky.
I’d almost given up when I got a call out of the blue, a year after my last visit: “Hello? Mrs Barker? We think we have the right dog for you. She’s called Luna and she’s a two and a half year old French Bulldog. She’s so sweet and we all love her, but she does have problems. You work at home don’t you? Aren’t you a writer? It’s just that she hates being left alone…”
Sam and I went over to the centre and met her. They played for a while in the introduction room and, despite Luna barking in his ear for quite a long time, he really seemed to like her! And not only this, our whole family ADORED her: she is the sweetest little soul who yowls like a little cat when she is sad and sort of purrs when she’s happy.
All of this is remarkable when you realise that Luna had a such a terrible start in life. Caged for 15 hours a day, she had dreadful separation anxiety. She kept being sick, her fur was sparse in places and her ribs stuck out. She hated going outside and had to eat special prescription food five times a day, as well as take two different types of medication.The situation was so bad that she came on a full foster plan, which means her vet bills are covered for life. The centre had done their very best with her but they knew that what she really needed was a special someone.
Now it is March and she has been a part of our family for over two months. Already the transformation in her is amazing. She plays all day long with Sam and then goes for runs in the woods where she gambols like a little lamb.
She eats all sorts these days ( cheese and chicken are her favourite treats at the moment) and is never sick any more and the tablets are history. She’s putting on weight and her coat is glossy and full. She can even be left at home alone for up to 4 hours at a time quite happily. Best of all she doesn’t run away from her lead and loves the outdoors. She’s cheeky, funny, very loving and such a wonderful new addition to our family. It’s been a real joy watching her learn how to love being a dog again. The Dogs Trust didn’t give up on little Luna and or me. And thank goodness for that.
Two very happy readers. Hope you are enjoying your books Kira and Silas!
South Molton Library you are the BEST – tea, macaroons, lego club, big pile of books all sold out in the first 20 minutes and best of all, loads and loads of smiling faces.
Then North Somerset Childrens’ Book Group published this interview with me on their blog, which is rather thrilling. The questions were very interesting and perceptive, so I particularly enjoyed answering them…..
— North Somerset CBG (@JustAboutBooks) March 12, 2016
Such a lovely review by Charlotte Heathcote in The Daily Express today.
Back on home ground. Looking forward to visiting North Molton, South Molton, Chittlehampton and Filleigh schools on Thursday and Friday this week with my lovely librarian friend Annie, talking about Knitbone and Easter holiday reading. Then, on Saturday morning between 10 and 12 I will be in South Molton Library signing copies of my latest book, Knitbone Pepper and the Last Circus Tiger. You can buy a book on the day (£9.99 provided by Waterstones) but there are only 30 copies, so you’ll need to be quick!
6th March 2016
4th March 2016
Today I visited Broadclyst Primary school, in a really lovely sparkling new hall with amazing facilities, but best of all the children -years 3,4,5 and 6 – were buzzing! We had such a great morning and I signed lots and lots of book plates.
3rd March 2016
WORLD BOOK DAY! To celebrate I visited two really wonderful schools in North Somerset. The first one was Winscombe Primary
— Amy Dobson (@AmyDobson_) March 3, 2016
and the second was at Sandford primary.
— North Somerset CBG (@JustAboutBooks) March 6, 2016
In both schools the children and staff were an absolute delight- I met so many interesting people. It was a wonderful way to spend World Book Day.
2nd March 2016
I visited lots of bookshops today in Bath and Bristol and signed their copies of both the first Knitbone and The Last Circus Tiger:
Then I talked to Claire Cavanagh on BBC Radio Bristol:
THEN best of all I received these pictures of Ruby’s school project. Ruby’s mum tells me that she loves Knitbone and her reading is coming on in leaps and bounds. Aren’t they brilliant? Well done Ruby ( and well done to Ruby’s cat for the photobomb).
1st March 2016
Today was my book birthday. 🎂 Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog and the Last Circus Tiger is out officially today. In celebration I visited two schools (super Sidcot and marvellous Mead Vale) and had a BRILLIANT time and signed lots and lots of books, not to mention receiving some beautiful circus themed cakes, stories, cards and letters. On top of this I received two wonderful photos of World Book day costumes; Katie in Edinburgh as Knitbone and Emma as Winnie Pepper. I think they both look really wonderful. WHAT A DAY!
Feb 28th 2016
ROLL UP! ROLL UP! Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog and the Last Circus Tiger officially comes out in two days time! Here’s a lovely review by blogger and school librarian Book Lover Jo 🐯
20th Feb 2016
Would you like to win a copy of Knitbone Pepper and the Last Circus Tiger? Then head over to Twitter! Competition winner will be drawn on Monday x
— Claire Barker (@clairebarker) February 20, 2016
19th February 2016
Today I’m at Guardian Children’s Books online talking about Dogger, a simply brilliant book by Shirley Hughes, and how it influenced my writing.
Me and Dogger in the Guardian. Someone pinch me. Shirley Hughes’s Dogger: one of the greatest picture books ever https://t.co/2bDb7g5so4
— Claire Barker (@clairebarker) February 19, 2016
11th February 2016
Last Friday I visited Crediton Library Children’s Book Group. Beth the Librarian put on snacks ( biscuits of course) and juice and we all sat down to have a good chat about Knitbone Pepper. I really enjoyed myself and I’d love to go back. Do you have a book group reading Knitbone Pepper? Would you like me to visit ? Or, if far, far away, even Skype you? If so drop me a line on my contact page and we’ll see what we can do….
2nd February 2016
Today I visited Beaford school with fellow author friends CJ Busby and Victoria Eveleigh. We all live in Devon and write about animals so there was no shortage of things to talk about. We had LOTS of fun and the children even gave us flowers at the end. Thanks Beaford school!
29th January 2016
Yesterday I was made very welcome at the Clinton Primary school. I met loads of their pupils, but also others too from Dolton and Monkleigh primary. I had such a fun time and the children were FIZZING with good ideas.
I was supposed to visit before Christmas, but I’d had to cancel because I lost my voice and (as anyone will tell you) I talk a lot. As a reward for being patient…shhhh…. I gave them a sneak peak at the next book in the Knitbone series, Knitbone Pepper and the Last Circus Tiger, even though it’s not due out until the 1st of March. Ross, the lovely folk at Usborne and I are very proud of it and think it is beautiful. I hope you agree.
24th January 2016
Sammy got a new squeaky toy today – a pink wafer biscuit! Unsurprisingly he destroyed it in seconds …
22nd January 2016
I’ve been rather quiet lately. This is because of two things:
a new ‘person’ has moved in. I can’t say more about this just yet because she is settling, but as soon as she does I’ll tell you more.
I am writing a brand new story, hunkered down in my kitchen, surrounded by half drunk cups of tea.
I’ve disappeared down the rabbit hole but I’m going to pop up again very soon!
31st December 2015
Today is the last day of a very busy, very wonderful year. I can’t think of a better way to round it off than by announcing that today Knitbone Pepper is to be published in Spanish. Feliz año nuevo!
HAPPY CHRISTMAS 2015!
Come and see me tomorrow!
READER REVIEW: Many thanks to “Bethany” for this great review:
Title: Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog
Author/Illustrator: Claire Barker Ross Collins
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Who Read it: A girl aged 9 read it on her own
Star Rating: 5 stars
“I really enjoyed this book. It was awesome! I loved it so much I’ve told all my friends about it and they want to read it. The start of the story was really sad, but the ending was very happy! The hamster was my favourite character, he was really funny.”
5 Star #review 8 yo girl recommends Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog by @clairebarker @Usborne https://t.co/ArsAAN7iWi pic.twitter.com/4hGm6rTAhj
— Toppsta (@toppsta) December 10, 2015
Friday 4th December
I’m very proud that Knitbone Pepper has been chosen by the BOOKS ARE MY BAG team to be in the new Christmas catalogue. Hello booksellers everywhere – thank you for all that you do.
Wednesday 2nd December
Today with Cathie from the Crediton Community Bookshop I visited, Burrington school, Chulmleigh, Lapford and East Worlington! Lots and lots of books were bought and I signed them to lots of special people. Chulmleigh you were particularly OUTSTANDING! In fact there were so many that we sold out of books. Cathie will be delivering the extra copies on Friday to four very patient children.
Tuesday 1st of December.
Today I have been very busy visiting three schools – East Worlington, Lapford and Chumleigh in North Devon, not far from my house. They were all really wonderful and in one I even met an old friend (hello Eartha!) Tomorrow I’m going back again to sign lots of books but first I’ll be popping into Burrington school to tell them all about Knitbone Pepper….
Monday 30th November
Knitbone Pepper is in today’s papers! Featured in the 5-8 years section as one of the ‘Best books for young minds’ in Metro today. I’m next to Judith Kerr, which is SUPER exciting.
Friday 27th November
In the morning I visited Tregolls school where the children were wonderful, had excellent questions and plans to create their own Beloveds in class. Then I visited Truro library where I found out that there are lots of copies of Knitbone Pepper, but all of them are out on loan, except for one in St Ives, so if you’re there nip down to your library sharpish and nab the only copy. Then I went into Truro Waterstones and signed lots of copies but by now it was raining and I definitely needed a snack. So I visited a local cafe where I met a man with two tiny Chihuahua’s in a bag! They are called Coco and Paris. No chance of them having to get their paws wet, lucky things.
Then I went on to visit Bosvigo School. I REALLY loved this visit and met some extremely nice children and teachers.
They were all dressed in costumes as a way of raising money for charity. I signed lots and lots of books, was given a special green pen which I will now use for signing, and a little girl gave me this MOST EXCELLENT picture of Krispin O’Mystery with Winnie peeking around the corner. I think it’s amazing.
Thursday 26th November
LOTS MORE CHILDREN SHOUTING KNITBONE PEPPER! Here I am at St Mary’s in Truro:
Callington Primary, you deserve a special mention as you were OUTSTANDING!
Later on I visited Falmouth and met this rather beautiful French Bulldog puppy called Bee!!!
Monday 23rd November
I visited Witheridge School where I met the children of High Bickington too. It was a really enjoyable morning where I met some very special people. What a sunny and marvellous school, full of smiling teachers and sparkly children. A special hello to Isla, who is something of a fan 😃 x
Friday 20th November.
Today I visited two schools: Cheriton Fitzpaine and Hayward’s Primary school in Crediton. I had SUCH a great time. The children of Hayward’s drew these wonderful pictures:
Thank you SO MUCH for making me so welcome! Remember: if you want to come and see me again I’ll be at CREDITON COMMUNITY BOOKSHOP ON SATURDAY 12TH DECEMBER FROM 10:30AM UNTIL 12:30!
Thursday 19th November
Today I whizzed between Yeoford and Bickleigh Primary schools and lots of smiles were smiled and lots of books were signed. Ooo I DO love this job!
Wednesday 18th November
Terrific day with the children of Tedburn and Copplestone school today. So many big smiles! The icing on the cake was coming home to find out that Knitbone Pepper is available as an audiobook here . Have a listen – Knitbone’s got a Bartonshire accent. It made me laugh!
Tuesday 17th November
I had a great afternoon with the children of Thorverton School today. I know lots of you wanted to buy a copy of Knitbone Pepper but had forgotten your money. Don’t worry – all is not lost! Remember you can buy them at a special rate at the Crediton Community Bookshop and I’ll be there on the morning of Saturday the 12th of December signing and saying a Christmassey hello! Come and say hi!
Friday 13th November
Unlucky for some but not for me! I had a great morning at Kingsley School in Bideford and was asked some particularly interesting questions about the Beloveds. Tomorrow I’ll be back, signing books and sitting in for Santa, storytelling. But which book should I read first????
11th November 2015
The Magical Maynard School
My visit to The Maynard School was as wonderful as always. I learnt lots of useful and interesting things about Cat’s Tongue biscuits, white hedgehogs, and tarantulas! Elisa made me a beautiful, thoughtful book which I will keep always. We talked about our pets and discovered that between us we have enough for a zoo!
November/ December Dates for the Diary
11th November – The Maynard School, Exeter ALL DAY!! 😊
13th November – Kingsley School, Bideford
14th November – Kingsley School, Bideford. Christmas Craft fair. 11:30 reading.
17th November -Thorverton School
18th November – Tedburn School and Copplestone School
19th November – Yeoford school and Bickleigh School
20th November – Cheriton Fitzpaine School
23rd November – Witheridge School
26th November – Callington School and St Mary’s school,Truro
27th November – Tregolls school and Bosvigo School, Truro
1st December – East Worlington, Lapford, Chulmleigh
2nd December – signing books at Burrington, East Worlington, Lapford, Chulmleigh
12th December – 10:30 am Signing books at Crediton Community Bookshop
30th October 2015
Today I’m going to be at Exeter central library at 11am-12, talking about my animals, Knitbone Pepper and bringing along my suitcase full of things. It’s a free event and little witches, wizards, ghosts and ghouls are most welcome so plunder those dressing up boxes! I’ll be giving away postcards for interesting questions and signing books. See you later!
29th October 2015
I’m in the newspaper! Here’s my article about haunted houses in children’s fiction from Neil Gaiman to JK Rowling. Follow this link to read all about it.
26th October 2015
WOW! What a wonderful week in London that was! Firstly I went to visit the children of Chatsworth Primary school in Hounslow. The first thing I noticed was that they had a bus as a school library – YES A BUS! 🚌 Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and one little girl even gave me one of her stories to take home. (Reham – I read your story and I think it’s very good. I like the bit where Trixie’s face turns violet. That’s a very good piece of descriptive writing, especially for a 7 year old.)Then we went on to Orlean’s school in Twickenham where I was asked SO many interesting questions and signed lots and lots of books.Then, the next day I visited a terrific school with a very special young lady.
A year ago I sat next to a young girl on a train from London to Devon. I was editing the final draft of Knitbone Pepper and she was reading her holiday book. We got chatting and I explained that I was an author. She said that she really liked books and asked me if I might be able to come to her school. I said that I hoped so, although I lived very far away and that was that. Eight months later Lily Tanner (because this is her name) got back in touch to ask if I could come to Devonshire Primary school in Sutton – how could I resist?! It was a very brave thing to do and I was very impressed. What a lovely school and it was great to see Lily again and I signed her copy of Knitbone Pepper. Here we are together:
In the afternoon I visited Tales On Moon Lane; a beautiful children’s bookshop in Herne Hill in London. They have a wonderful window FULL of Knitbone Pepper, stars and a big moon, not to mention Starcross Hall. It looks really magical.
Whilst I was there I signed lots of books and even got to write my name on their author’s wall. I felt very lucky because I could see Mog by Jan Pienkowsky, and signatures from Chris Riddell, Francesca Simon and so many more. Most thrilling!
Check out FunKids radio here and ⭐️WIN⭐️a copy of Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog!
Saturday 17th October 2015 11:30 am
🎃Central Library Plymouth (Children’s Section)🎃
I’ll be here, with my suitcase, talking about my bonkers animals and Knitbone Pepper. The event is FREE so come along and say hello. Books will be available for sale after the event and I will happily dedicate them and stamp them with my special paw print stamp.
This morning I was on BBC Radio Devon with Fitz. Then I went off to meet the children of Stoke Damerel primary school. They are very lucky because they have a full-time author with them every day in the Shape of Mr Beasley, otherwise known as Andrew Beasley, author of the Ben Kingdom series and fellow Usborne writer. I was made very welcome indeed, one little girl called Rhiannon making me this beautiful card in Golden Time:
I’m in Plymouth! Today I visited Boringdon Primary school and St Peter’s where I signed lots of books and answered lots of interesting questions (hello Abbi, the answer to your emailed question is ‘reading lots of stories!’) I hope all of you that took home a copy of Knitbone will have fun reading it. Tomorrow morning I’m on BBC radio Devon with Fitz at 11:30 then atI’m at Stoke Damerel school. On Saturday I’m at Plymouth Library for an hour at 11:30.
Thank you to Charlie and his owner who let us take a picture. He really is adorable.
⭐️Big Moon,Twinkly Stars and Knitbone !⭐️
Look at this beautiful window at Tales On Moon Lane in Herne Hill in London. I am so happy I could burst – even the little orange windows will glow at night! I’ll be here signing stock on the 23rd of October at about 2pm.
I AM VISITING SCHOOLS AS PART OF THE APPLEDORE BOOK FESTIVAL CHILDREN’S PROGRAMME! Wed 16th and Thurs 17th of September.
WE ARE AT THE EDINBURGH BOOK FESTIVAL ON THE 27th AUGUST!
Claire Barker & Ross Collins: Things that go Bark in the Night
Thursday 27 August 12.15pm – 1.15pm Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre
Come and hear about ghosts, ghouls and things that go bark in the night. Knitbone Pepper is a friendly ghost dog who haunts the crumbling Starcross Hall with a gaggle of other ghostly pets. When he discovers that the Hall is up for sale and his beloved owner must leave her home, he takes things into his own paws. Find out all about this fun and quirky new series with author Claire Barker and illustrator Ross Collins.
— Amy Dobson (@AmydUsborne) April 24, 2015