Website of children’s author Paeony Lewis
Up to 5 years
Sessions of 20-30 mins work well with nursery children, and 30-40 mins with Reception, though longer sessions are available.
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
With individual classes this takes 40 minutes and includes:
+ Chatting with the children and reading one or more of my books.
+ Talking about being an author and perseverance.
+ Unraveling the mystery of how a blank sheet of paper leads to the final book. I use real examples of original manuscripts, proofs and first illustrations.
+ Questions and Answers
A multi-class version of this session is also available and takes up to 30 minutes (without a Q&A). It’s ideal for halls with screens for PowerPoint.
(classroom additions to the main session)
Story Structure (15 mins) POPULAR Year 1+
This add-on session uses the children’s imagination and I never know 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.
Characterisation (approx 45 mins) Year 1
An introduction to characterisation for Year 1, in which they create their own characters (including writing and/or drawing). This can be extended to one hour with the addition of the story structure session.
Colours (35 mins) Year 2+
An add-on session on eye colour in which we discover how one extra descriptive word can bring a colour alive. All that is needed is imagination and a whiteboard or flipchart. Best for Year 2 upwards.
‘Morning Bird’ Workshop (approx 1.5 hrs) Year 2+
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, using individual handouts, everyone creates their own ‘Morning Bird’, all with different characteristics. Plus we discover how the addition of one word to a description can make a huge difference.
This is suited to Year 2 upwards, and older years may wish to extend this activity by writing their own stories.
Characterisation and Traditional Storytelling
(from 90 mins to 1 day, Year 3 - Year 6)
Depending on the time available we use a variety of exercises to stretch the imagination to create distinct, individual characters and a problem to be solved. The characters can then be used to write a story to a traditional structure.
Alternatively... I’m also available for support with longer projects. For example, 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.
Website of Children’s Author, Paeony Lewis www.paeonylewis.com © Paeony Lewis 2005
Last updated 2014
Key Stage 2
Increasingly, I’ve been asked to work on writing skills with Years 3-6 and I really enjoy this. Many of the sessions listed above are suitable, albeit I tailor them for older children.
Although my books are best suited to younger children, I’m currently writing a novel for 9-11 year olds. I’ve found that older primary school students still enjoy hearing stories and discovering how an idea and rough drafts become a book. I’m particularly keen to inspire all abilities because as a child I was terrified of writing.
I was 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 together. We were all delighted with the the project.
Since then I’ve done this with other classes and although all years benefit, I’ve found Years 5 and 6 gain the most from working with an author on an extended project.
“’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.”
- Deputy Head, Ravenswood Primary School, Suffolk
I enjoy visiting schools, libraries, bookshops, festivals...
I’m often invited to visit children aged 4-7 years and that’s great fun as I write for this age group.
Plus I find it stimulating to work with Key Stage 2 on writing. I’ve found they can get a lot from working with an author. I’ve had particularly rewarding times working with classes on their own printed books of fairytales.
For many years I’ve also enjoyed tutoring adult courses in Norwich on writing children’s fiction. I’ve also tutored a summer university course in London for teens.
Listed on this page are some of the sessions I can provide. There are more available, but I hope this gives you a feel for my visits and I’m always happy to discuss specific needs. Sometimes schools provide a timetable and class/room list and I suggest a specific plan for the day. (For contact details please scroll to the end.)
“I just wanted to thank you for two marvellous days at our school. The children were talking about their story ideas this afternoon and are excited to start writing.”
- Deputy Head, Thomas Bullock Primary School, Norfolk
“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
“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
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 enjoy teaching and put the emphasis on fun and increasing confidence.
For current adult courses please click On Writing.
As a young child I adored stories but struggled to write. I tell this to primary school children because self confidence can soon be squashed if writing feels like an insurmountable battle.
I’m mildly dyslexic and I hope that knowing this will inspire those who struggle not to give up.
“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
CRB checked/certificated. Public liability insurance.
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.