I am the award winning author and illustrator of the How to Hide a Lion series, and many more picture books. I am a seasoned school visitor and renowned wrangler of over-excited children! I have been visiting schools for over twenty years and writing and illustrating books for twenty five.
I have now created a Virtual School Visit package which is a fun mix of a school trip (you will get a sneaky peek into my studio, and join me on my daily walk on the Northumberland coast) and an author visit all rolled into one! It will be pandemic proof (children studying at home will be able to join in too) and eco friendly (no travelling).
There will be fun videos, colouring in pages and worksheets, a behind the scenes tour of my studio, a look through my sketchbooks where my book ideas start, book readings, a nature hunt, a chat with my dog Peggy, and fun art school activities, all delivered to your inbox. Followed by a brilliant Zoom call from my studio!
You would love your class to meet a real life author and illustrator. You would like them to be inspired to write and draw inventive and thrilling stories of their own, and read for the sheer pleasure of it. You would like them to understand that books are made by real people, and that they could grow up to write and illustrate books too.
You can make firm plans that will happen even if authors are not allowed to visit schools in these uncertain times.
You can share this with your pupils even if we are in lockdown and some pupils are working at home.
We won’t have to suddenly switch to an impromptu Zoom call, this is a pre-prepared package designed to entertain and sneak some education in when they aren’t looking!
This is a series of videos, one for each day of the week Mon-Thurs, then at the end of the week, the children will have access to me through a fun packed live Zoom call from my studio. For pupils working from home, they can join the Zoom call from home and if they miss it, there will be a link to catch up later.
You will have access to the package for a month so you can go at your own pace.
Head over to read more about the benefits of an author school visit.
“The children really enjoyed being involved with telling the story and were really motivated to write their own stories. From a teacher point of view I loved the way you took them through the full planning process. Watching you draw really brought the books to life and we are all looking forward to your return visit. ”
— Anne Rutherford, Head Teacher, Tweedmouth West School, Northumberland
“The children had an amazing time when you visited us recently, to the point where we have been asked for more books! Our children, staff and parents loved it!”
— Stephen Tunesi, Stannington First School
“Helen engaged wonderfully with our pupils, providing an entertaining, active workshop. There was lots of fun and laughter and the opportunities for learning were always skilfully related back to her books.”
— D Mackenzie, Principal Teacher, George Watson's College Junior School, Edinburgh
About How to Hide a Lion
How to Hide a Lion has sold in nearly twenty languages worldwide. It was nominated for the Greenaway Medal, the UKLA Awards, the Red House Children's Book Awards and the Stockport Children's Book Award. Winner of the Prix Livrentête, the Oldham Picture Book Award, and the Rotherham Picture Book Award.
It was featured on CBeebies Bedtime Stories
It was adapted for stage and toured the UK, see a trailer here.
You can watch a How to Hide a Lion trailer here.
The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians featured it in their list of stories which have been tried, tested and loved by children.
Funny and warmhearted' Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the Gruffalo.
'I read How to Hide a Lion with my son. We love it together' David Walliams
'Using a nostalgic style and subdued palette reminiscent of midcentury Little Golden Books masters like Richard Scarry — whose cover for 1956’s
The New York Times
Frequently asked questions
Q. I need you to visit my school next week, is that too soon?
Not at all, just message me and I will check my availability.
Q. How much does a school visit cost?
See my website.
Q. Are your visits suitable for older children?
Yes, I visit children from reception to year 6. For the older children, I talk in more depth about the process of making a book and leave more time for questions.
Q How many children can you see in one session?
Now that we are doing Virtual School Visits, I can see them all in one call!
Q. Do you visit schools for children with special needs?
Yes, I have visited many special needs schools.
Q.What is the best question you have ever been asked?
‘Are you rich?’
‘Helen, I got a new bed.’
‘Helen, my cat died.’
‘Do you have any debt?’
‘Mr (pointing at their teacher) has sweets hidden in his desk drawer.’
‘Helen, I know an Alan.’
Children really do ask the BEST questions!
Q. How far can you travel to visit a school?
Since the world went weird I am staying at home, that's why I have designed the special school visit package. It will be a fun mix of a school trip (you will get a sneaky peek into my studio, and join me on my daily walk on the Northumberland coast) and an author visit all rolled into one! It will be pandemic proof (children studying at home will be able to join in too) and eco friendly (no travelling). Sign up for news here.
Q. Do you have public Liability Insurance?
Yup! I have a Society of Authors policy.
Q. Do you have DBS clearance?
Authors and illustrators don’t need DBS checks. The Department of Education and Ofsted are clear in their guidance that a Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB) is only needed when there is ‘Teaching, training or instruction of children, carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often), or on 4 or more days in a 30 day period, or overnight.’ It is not required for a one-off, supervised visit.
Q. Do you send a real-life lion to school?
Yes, if he’s hungry ;)
Q. Can we take photos on the day?
Yes! It will be a fun day and definitely one you will want to remember. Some schools appoint a child as the event photographer.
Am I the right author/illustrator for your school?
Yes, if you are eager to invite a friendly human face who loves chatting with children.
Yes, if a proven track record is important. (20 years of glowing testimonials from schools, and 25 years in the publishing industry).
Tes, if you a ready for your school to have a fun packed week of films and art activities, with lots education sneaked in! Followed by a fun Zoom call from my studio at the end of the week.
Thank you! Helen
Helen’s How to Hide a Lion series has been published in nearly twenty languages , it has been adapted for stage by The Polka Theatre in London, and toured the UK in 2018. It was nominated for the Greenaway Medal, the UKLA Awards, the Red House Children's Book Awards and the Stockport Children's Book Award. Winner of the Prix Livrentête, the Oldham Picture Book Award, and the Rotherham Picture Book Award. The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians featured it in their list of stories which have been tried, tested and loved by children. Funny and warmhearted' Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the Gruffalo. 'I read How to Hide a Lion with my son. We love it together' David Walliams 'Using a nostalgic style and subdued palette reminiscent of midcentury Little Golden Books masters like Richard Scarry — whose cover for 1956’s The New York Times