Tag Archives: writer

Launch of the ‘Young Kelpies’ range of new books. Mine included.

I was delighted to be invited to attend the launch of the new Young Kelpies range. It features four series from exciting authors. ‘Axe throwing’, ‘goal scoring’, ‘mysterious’ and ‘adventurous’ are the key words for each series.

Mine is the adventurous one…with lots of gags, wordplay and exciting action.

Each brilliant series has six books and is written for children aged six to eight. If you want funny and engaging stories then Young Kelpies will do the business for you.

The launch was a light hearted affair where each author read an extract in front of the great and the good from the publishing trade. I was on last and could see how well the other authors were being received.

I ate a bacon buttie and threw myself into my performance.

Alan Dapre Porridge The Tartan Cat

Alan Dapre reads an extract from his Porridge The Tartan Cat Series

There was certainly a lot of interest for my Porridge The Tartan Cat series.

When Porridge was wee he fell into a tin of tartan paint. A tin of tartan paint. Not easy to say or do. Porridge loves sharing tales about the McFun family. He has even cat-a-logged all their funny adventures. Six books coming out in 2017.

Can’t wait. Guess I’ll have to 🙂

More info on my books and lots of others can be found on twitter #discoverkelpies

 

Authors I’ve NOT seen – Oliver Jeffers.

I popped over to Oliver Jeffers’ website which is full of his fantastic illustrations. He is a master illustrator with a deft touch and writer of surreal, yet captivating stories.

So it was rather surreal to see on his site that he was in NZ and Australia when I was about to see him in Edinburgh. Looking again, I realised that the post was dated May which meant he was probably back by now. Checking his blog I could see he was in London and therefore much closer to home. My home.

Happy to get out of the house and get to see a proper writer for a change (rather than seeing myself in the mirror) I handed my daughter over to my wife at work – after getting lost in Glasgow again – and set off for the train station. People are really friendly and helpful in Glasgow and a passerby saw me wheeling in circles, dithering away, and showed me where to go. Finally I jumped on a train to Waverley station.

One hour later I arrived with half an hour to spare. I sauntered towards the National Galleries and admired the posters of past Olympic sporting greats. After twenty minutes of pottering about I headed for the Garden entrance – which was closed. At six o’clock I took a walk round the whole stone edifice and discovered it was shut for the night.

Taking out my invitation e-mail I found the organiser’s telephone number and gave it a bell. Someone answered who wasn’t too sure of the event and he seemed to think it was taking place elsewhere. That explained the problem of the missing Oliver.

Only it didn’t – the organiser chipped in to say that Oliver Jeffers was due to start at 6.30 at The National Galleries … on Wednesday the 13th of June.

My heart sank – it was approaching 6.30 … but on Tuesday the 12th of June. I was a day early. I had arranged Gran to come over and babysit, my wife to leave work, and my sister-in-law to put me up for the night. And for what? To wander around a huge stone building and admire the blooming great Olympic rings on the hill beyond.

I shuffled away in embarrassment.

And now, as I write tonight, Oliver Jeffers – illustrator par excellence – is in Edinburgh and I am at home unable to make the event. There was so much I wanted to say, so many books I wanted him to sign.

Another day, perhaps.
Guess when you’re as disorganised as me, it’s always another day…

***

If you wish to have a peek at or download Cuddle Muddle, please click one of the links below
Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle now (UK link)
Cuddle Muddle‘ – interactive iPad version with movies  (UK Link)

Local library: use it or lose it? (Alan Dapré: Blog)

Times are tough and politicians are tough talking which means that things we hold dear are under threat. Not everything can be paid for by the taxpayer but Libraries should be up there, protected from indiscriminate cuts. At the moment my local library, West Kilbride, is under threat and has a few months left before its fate is debated and possibly sealed.

This is a newish building built in the mid-nineties and has a fabulous view of the village. The atmosphere is welcoming and the books are laid out invitingly. My daughter loves visiting the place and is often found in a tiny tent, reading away happily – surrounded by picture books. Meanwhile, other older children are drawing and sketching, locating books for projects and homework, or quietly exploring the computers. There is quietness, of course, but a sense of purpose and relaxation – and entertainment.

The services our library gives is growing; there are DVDs, portals into government sites, spaces for writing groups, for book groups such as Book Bug … and it is a key part of the community.

All this has a cost – and local authorities don’t like shelling out for something that is so ‘normal’ and taken for granted. So, for many libraries, their opening times are more difficult to remember as hours are cut, more staff are part-timers, and most books are more mainstream, replaced less often and getting dated. There is a secondary threat from e-books and no one has sorted out in the UK how e-books can be incorporated into a library lending scheme.

I love our library – I love what it offers and the messages it sends out to children that books are there to be valued, that written words have a place in our society and there is a welcoming place to find them.

During our campaign to save our library – type (Save West Kilbride Library) into Facebook – I have received comments that other services are more important and reading is best done by parents at home. Sadly these reactions miss the point. Not everyone can afford a regular supply of books, not everyone has a safe place in which to read – and not all children have supportive book reading adults around.

I grew up in children’s homes and books were on the walls. I read them but most were faded, jaded or biodegraded! Only when I was older did I get to the library – going by myself – and I discovered a wonderful world of hope, colour and laughter. Characters became my lifelong friends, I read about far off places which I vowed to visit, and I was taken out of my grey, troubled existence. My library in Deal did that. Libraries still do that.

I wonder how many politicians use libraries? How many bankers? I see with my own eyes lots of children who do actually enjoy them, who love sharing in books, who gain a respect for stories and a better understanding of how to communicate their own. The educational value should never be underestimated.

Unfortunately, when a library is lost it’s lost – it’s passed on! This Library is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life … shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ bookshelves invisible!

Use it or lose it? I’ll see you there …