The Joys of Writing!


Book Monsters is generally all about the books, where would we be without books? We wouldn’t have such a great opportunity to escape into other worlds, to learn, to share, to improve our vocabulary and develop our imaginations!!

In truth, where would be without authors? Or writers? We would be bookless!! Oh my!!
So, we need fantastic organisations, projects and teachers to nurture writers and writing skills and our authors of the future.

At Book Monsters HQ this week, I was fortunate enough to interact with two such writing inspirations!

Firstly, on Twitter I was sent this gorgeous Book Monster illustration created by an Inkpots student! What a lovely thing to see appear on my Twitter feed! The power of a drawing or piece of writing to bring a big smile is immense! This was drawn by Hannah from Inkpots’ Lindfield Primary after school club.


Inkpots is an organisation run by the wonderful Gill Pawley, a lady who I have been lucky enough to be talking to online for quite some time now. Gill runs workshops for children and young people, who either love reading, drawing and writing, but also to encourage those who don’t, or those who may fear it, fear their apparent lack of ability. The Inkpots tagline is “encouraging expression through words and pictures.” which is a fantastic ethos. Children are bursting with ideas and imagination but often lack the confidence to express this. Gill works with children in a creative and friendly way to bring out their confidence expressing ideas, be it through writing or illustration. It’s incredibly inspiring to see the work that Gill does.

Not only does she run workshops in primary schools throughout mid sussex, but she provides, along with the help of her designer, fantastic activity sheets which can be purchased from her website, to support young writers and she’s now reaching out further with her new online club!

Inkpots Inc, an online club for children aged 8-11 years, is set to launch on 1 May 2017

Each month a new creative bundle will be released exclusively to club members, which will include a video message with writing ideas and book news, our own newsletter, guest interviews with authors and artists, help with editing and story development – and much more! And all children will have access to their own individual Inkpots page.

Every single photo that I have seen of Inkpots groups in progress have contained grinning, happy children having a great time, and every illustration and piece of writing I have seen has been wonderful and creative.

Gill’s work with Inkpots is inspiring, and with this she is nurturing some of our potential authors of the future, but at very least giving children the confidence to enjoy writing and drawing and have pride in their creations.

To find out more about Inkpots, please visit their website here:

The new online Club, Inkpots Inc, will launch in May 2017, so watch out for that, it’s sure to be something special!



So, my next interaction which got me wanting to talk about writing today, was communication with the lovely Zoe Sadler Ink, an illustrator based on the Isle of Wight. I had never spoken to her, until she popped up on my Twitter feed one day with a gorgeous drawing of a book monster! A bit of a chat ensued, and two days later, on my doorstep landed a handwritten letter, and the most gorgeous little book monster illustration! The letter was packaged so beautifully, time and care taken to make it a really special treat, which again, brought a big smile to my face!


This is not just a random thing. Zoe has started a project to share good old fashioned snail mail. Zoe is sending out individual monster illustrations, with letters and encouraging receivers to do the same. It’s just a lovely, sweet idea. It’s getting people to write to each other, to share a little bit of artwork (or a simple doodle if you like) and link people together through snail mail joys. What a brilliant concept, and way to connect people and encourage communication and artistic expression.

I will be sending out some of my own monster letters shortly, so if you do receive one, please post it on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, tag @BookMonsterAlly in it, and include  so other people can join in the fun.

Teachers, why not get your classes involved. It doesn’t have to cost, you can encourage children to write letters to other class or school pupils, to save posting. Just get children communicating through writing and drawing in a non pressurised and fun way.

Thank you Zoe for my drawing! :)

If you want to find out more, please check out Zoe’s website here:


Thank you for reading this blog post! Now … go write or draw something :)


Lost Magic – The Very Best of Brian Moses


I’m a big fan of poetry, for young and old, and we are fortunate enough to have some fantastic and talented poets around to inspire and entertain children and adults. One such poet is the fantastic Brian Moses who has been writing poetry incredibly successfully for many years. I was very fortunate that Brian offered to send me a copy of his latest anthology Lost Magic The Very Best of Brian Moses, Cover illustration by Ed Boxall and inside illustrations by Chris Garbutt and published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

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I Love You (nearly always)


I’m going to just dive right in here, I adored, really really adored Anna Llenas’s book The Colour Monster which I reviewed here:
It is a delightful, collage based book, about feelings and emotions, so I cannot begin to explain my joy at opening my latest book post I Love You (nearly always) written and illustrated by Anna Llenas and published by Templar.

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Happy New Book Year!


So, it’s 2017 and Book Monsters has had a very quiet end to the year. Crazy, busy, up and down life got in the way of books, I know that’s a horrifically terrible thing for a Book Monster to confess to, but it’s true I’m afraid. I’m sorry.

This is the beginning of a brand new year, something, which in the past, I admit to not really welcoming into my life. But for 2017 I sense good things, I have good feelings, and I’m grabbing those feelings, bunching them in my arms like a big pile of lovely books, and running with them! Sprinting even!

My aim is to be better. Better at life generally. Better at drawing, design and writing. And, most importantly for this corner of the internet, better at reading and blogging about reading.

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As Nice as Pie


I believe that one of the most important traits in humans is kindness. What better method to start to instill this into children is through picture books. They are a powerful form of communication and education and if done in an engaging and fun way, can help children build important skills and knowledge for their future selves.

As Nice as Pie written by Gary Sheppard, illustrated by Tim Budgen and published by Maverick Arts Publishing achieves exactly this.

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There has recently been a resurgence and reinvention of some much loved classic children’s books, specifically for adults as gifts. The Ladybird books and now Famous Five. Brilliant gifts, that adults can identify with and enjoy.

Mum … created by Morty Sey and Scott Chegg is a read for children first and foremost, but, the special thing about this little picture book is what a brilliant gift for adults it would make.

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