Website of children’s author Paeony Lewis
Up to 5 years
Sessions of 20-30 minutes work well with nursery children, and 30-40 mins with Reception, though longer sessions are available. In addition, the Reception children often join the main session in the hall.
The focus is on enjoyment and storytelling. Although it’s kept simple, I tell the children where I found the idea for each picture book story. I try to interact with the children as much as possible so they’re not only sitting and listening. (Some children remember I’ll Always Love You from an episode of the BBC Tweenies and the BBC Messy Time DVD/video.)
Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
MAIN SESSION On Being An Author
(R) Year 1-Year 6 30 minutes
This introductory presentation is the first session of the day. Usually it takes place in the hall if there’s a screen and computer (I bring a USB stick with PowerPoint images). The main session can also be done in the classroom (with Q&As added).
Main session includes:
+ How I became an author and the importance of perseverance. I try to motivate both the good writers and those that struggle..
+ Sharing the ideas that inspired some of my stories.
+ Unravelling the mystery of how a blank sheet of paper leads to the final picture book. I show examples of original manuscripts, proofs and rough illustrations.
Then I share the story.
ADDITIONAL SESSIONS KS1 and KS2
(These are classroom additions to the main session, plus storytelling is always available.)
Particularly popular with Year 1-Year 3
25 minutes, or 35 minutes if we share a story too
A short, popular interactive session that uses the children’s imagination. I never know quite what is going to happen! In a visual way we use a traditional structure to bring to life a group story about the ‘Morning Bird’. This can be done in the hall or classroom, with one or more classes.
30 minutes, and longer if we share stories. Plus it’s fun in combination with the Story Structure activity.
Devised for Year 1 children, we have fun with the bouncing bunny from ‘Hurry Up, Birthday’. Includes bouncing, a little writing, drawing, stretching the imagination and sharing.
Year 2-Year 6
35 to 60 minutes - flexible
Enhances descriptive skills. The children discover how authors use one extra word to add intrigue to a colour. The children then apply this technique to their eye colour. Equipment not essential.
‘Morning Bird’ Workshop
Especially popular with Year 2-Year 3
This longer session brings together story structure, characterisation and description. Using a set structure, we create a class story about the fabled ‘Morning Bird’. Next, everyone creates their own ‘Morning Bird’ (through imagination, drawing and writing using a gapped handout). Each bird has individual characteristics. Plus we discover how the addition of one word to a description can make a huge difference.
A plotting sheet is left for those who wish to extend the activity and write their own ‘Morning Bird’ stories.
What if the dragon...
Year 3-Year 5
A fun session that stretches the imagination and looks at characterisation. We use ‘What if?’ to inspire the creation of story ideas and non-standard dragons (they often get distinctly bizarre!). Each child then uses a gapped handout to flesh out the character of their individual dragon, and we use colour in a creative way. This activity may be extended later by using the dragons in individual stories.
Year 5-Year 6
75 minutes +
Before the session, the children carry out non-fiction research on an animal of their choice (whatever excites them, such as a penguin, snow leopard or rabbit). Then in our session we discuss effective characterisation, and using a gapped handout the children create a believable fictional animal character. From this, the children will be ready to write a story after I’ve left.
Characterisation and Traditional Storytelling
Year 3-Year 6
From 90 minutes to 1 day
Depending on the time available we use a variety of exercises to stretch the imagination to create distinct, individual characters and a story problem to be solved. The characters and ‘problem’ can then be used to write a story to a traditional structure.
Sometimes I’ll work all morning with one class, or even visit several times.
For example, over several weeks I worked with Year 2 at a School of Creativity in Norfolk and together we wrote and illustrated a story about Scorcher the Dragon. Their excitement and pride in their final ‘books’ was inspiring.
I was also the ‘author in residence’ for a primary school in Essex. Working with Years 2 and 5, we wrote fairytales to a set structure and each child was given an illustrated printed book containing the work we did over several weeks. We were all delighted with the project.
Although all years benefit from extended projects, I’ve found that in terms of writing skills, Years 5 and 6 gain the most from working with an author. I’m particularly keen to inspire all abilities because as a child I was terrified of writing.
Website of Children’s Author, Paeony Lewis www.paeonylewis.com © Paeony Lewis 2005
Last updated 2015
“’Thank you’ hardly seems strong enough to express how I feel about the wonderful work you did in school today. You have inspired so many of our pupils and they were thrilled to meet a ‘proper, live author’, as one pupil told me.”
Ravenswood Primary School, Suffolk
I enjoy visiting schools, libraries, bookshops, festivals...
Listed here are some of my school sessions, ranging from Nursery to Year 6. I’ve provided the minimum timings and all may be lengthened (there’s so much we can do!).
Often schools provide a timetable and class/room list and I suggest a specific plan for the day.This might entail a whole school talk in the hall (screen needed), followed by individual shorter sessions and a long session with a specific class. It all depends on a school’s priorities and the size of the school (sometimes schools book two consecutive days).
I hope this gives you a feel for my visits and I’m always happy to discuss specific needs. Please don’t hesitate to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
“I just wanted to thank you for two marvelous days at our school. The children were talking about their story ideas this afternoon and are excited to start writing.”
Thomas Bullock Primary School, Norfolk
“Paeony should be available for yearly injections of motivation! The children couldn’t stop talking about it afterwards. We loved it!”
Barford Primary School
(Years 1 and 2)
“Paeony was very engaging for all the age groups; she enthused the children to want to write and become authors themselves!”
Great Witchingham Primary (Reception to Year 6)
“We so enjoyed your visit and the enthusiasm that you instilled into our pupils.”
Heltwate Special School
(for 5-15 yrs), Peterborough
“Thank you so much for traveling so far and giving us such a wonderful day.
...All of the staff caught me throughout the day to say how much the children, and themselves, enjoyed it. So thank you, thank you!”
- Eagle House Pre-Prep School, Berkshire
"Paeony worked with Years 2 and 5 in one of our primary schools in a ‘writer in schools’ project. She developed great relationships with both teachers and children, inspiring both to write. We found her to be thoughtful and enthusiastic, often going beyond the call of duty to make the project the huge success it became. All the children saw themselves as writers by the end and they produced some wonderful writing. The project exceeded our expectations and this was all down to Paeony."
- Jonathan Bond, Harlow Education Consortium
Adult and teen courses on writing for children
I’ve tutored various courses in Norwich with Adult Education and also some Continuing Education classes at the University of East Anglia and a summer school for teens at the University of Middlesex. I put an emphasis on increasing confidence.
For current adult courses please click Courses.
“Thank you also for all the time you spent book signing - the children are over the moon!”
- Eagle House Pre-Prep School, Berkshire
Some children like a book to celebrate an author’s visit. It adds to the excitement. I’m always delighted to sign books at the end of the day; albeit the sale of books is not essential. My priority is focused on inspiring an interest in books, writing and words.
The National Association
of Writers in Education (NAWE)
The Scattered Authors’ Society
The Society of Authors
Public liability insurance
“Paeony worked with our Year 2 children on our School of Creativity Project. The core purpose was to support the children in expressing their school values through story. Paeony quickly developed a positive relationship with the teacher and the children. The children were excited and engaged throughout. The quality of the story they produced was fantastic. Because of the way Paeony worked with them, they were highly motivated and they felt total ownership of their illustrated story. This was a very successful project - thank you, Paeony!”
- Sue Eagles, Creative Agent for Surlingham Primary School, Norfolk
A younger me!
As a young child I adored stories but struggled to write. I share this with primary school children because self confidence can soon be squashed if writing feels a futile battle.
I believe it was constant reading that improved my writing. I’m mildly dyslexic and I hope that knowing this will inspire those who struggle not to give up.
Contact Paeony, venues and rates
I live in Norwich and enjoy visiting libraries and schools in the Eastern region. With longer distances it’s harder to fit schools into my schedule, but I’ll do my best, and please be aware there are additional expenses for overnight trips.
I’ve recently been invited to work with the Norfolk School Library Service. Therefore schools in Norfolk have the option of booking through the library service (using their vouchers) or independently. Either method is fine, though separate.
To contact me directly about rates, dates and further information please email:
I try to reply within 24 hours
and look forward to hearing from you.