25 Jun 2018



As a regular school author visitor, I've made over 2,000 school author visits and conducted whole-school Assembly Shows and individual Class Workshops for more than 400,000 children. Lots of schools do class work on my books either before or after the visit.

Using the 'Reading Room' from the 'My Story House' learning system, I encourage children to READ-TO-WRITE: advising them to read as many books as they can by as many authors as they can to help them plan and write their own stories.

One author I suggest children may like to discover is S. F. SAID (more below). An A-Z list of more suggested children's authors for children to discover is on my website: https://www.jacktrelawny.com/read-to-write.html


S. F. Said (born 1967) is a British children's writer.

Said was born in Beirut in 1967 and spent his first years in Jordan. He grew up in the Iraqi community in London, moving there with his mother at the age of two. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, he worked as a press attachĂ© and speech writer for the Crown Prince of Jordan’s office in London for six years. He began a Ph.D. in 1997 looking at the lives of young Muslims in Britain, but left academia to focus on film journalism for the Daily Telegraph – where he brought attention to much so-called world cinema, including contemporary Islamic cinema – and on writing for children.

His first novel was Varjak Paw, illustrated by Dave McKean and published by David Fickling Books in January 2003; four months later in the U.S. Said wrote 17 drafts of the book. It tells the story of a Mesopotamian Blue cat called Varjak who leaves his sheltered upbringing to explore the city and learn the "Seven Skills of the Way", taught to him in dreams by his ancestor Jalal. In his dreams, Varjak finds himself transported from his gritty urban surroundings to the deserts, rivers and mountains of Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq). With the Skills, he is able to fight the Gentleman and, in The Outlaw Varjak Paw (2005), the domineering "white cat with one eye", Sally Bones, who is invading the territories of other cats and ruling them with torture and terror. Varjak Paw won the 2003 NestlĂ© Smarties Book Prize, reader ages 6–8 years, and The Outlaw Varjak Paw won the 2007 Blue Peter Book of the Year. Varjak was staged as a play by Playbox Theatre, and was performed as an opera by The Opera Group in 2008.

Phoenix (2013) is a longer novel written for older children. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database calls it young-adult science fiction rather than (animal) fantasy. It made the shortlist of four books for the 2014 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, whose judges recommended it for ages 10 and up, and whose coverage by The Guardian called it a "space epic".

Go to VARJAK PAW book on Amazon

VARJAK PAW: https://amzn.to/2yzM36p
Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue kitten. He lives high up in an old house on a hill. He's never left home, but then his grandfather tells him about the Way - a secret martial art for cats. Now Varjak must use the Way to survive in a city full of dangerous dogs, cat gangs and, strangest of all, the mysterious Vanishings.

 Go to THE OUTLAW VARJAK PAW book on Amazon

THE OUTLAW VARJAK PAW: https://amzn.to/2KduBJH
Having saved the city cats from a fate worse than death, Varjak Paw finds himself the elected and popular leader of a new gang - a gang that supports freedom and kindness for all. But will the pressure take its toll on this brave yet sometimes naive cat? Soon the city erupts in an all-out gang war as the evil Sally Bones attempts to control the lives of all cats. Horrified and outnumbered, Varjak and the others must fight for their freedom or die trying; can Jalal's Way really be the best way? This is another thrilling adventure, eagerly awaited by all Varjak fans, both young and old.

 Go to PHOENIX book on Amazon

PHOENIX: https://amzn.to/2K23n9y
A boy with the power of a star... Lucky thinks he's an ordinary Human boy. But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing to him, and wakes to find an uncontrollable power rising inside him. Now he's on the run, racing through space, searching for answers. In a galaxy at war, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies, the only people who can help him are an Alien starship crew – and an Alien warrior girl, with neon needles in her hair...

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