Gillian McClure

Gillian McClure

Author of books, Children's author, Illustrator
Booking enquiry
Gillian McClure - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview, Commission a book


Age 3 to 5, Age 5 to 7, Age 7 to 11, Age 11 to 14, Age 14 to 16, Age 16 to 18+, Further Education, University, Adult


Adventure, Art, Fable, Fairy tale, Fiction, Folklore, Legend, Narrative, Picture book

Book types

Anthologies, Picture book


  • My books have been shortlisted and Commended in the Smarties Award - one was Highly Commended in the Kate Greenaway Medal and one won the US Parent's Guide to Media Award for Outstanding Achievement in Children's Books



 I love to inspire children to draw and to write their own stories. In my school and library visits, I bring along puppet characters for the children to use and I show my original artwork, roughs and sketches.  I have also developed some popular virtual workshops for schools that are too far for me to visit from Cambridge.

EYFS  Foundation Stage

  • I give a workshop with puppet characters based on The Little White Sprite, a story about a little creature that lives inside a tree. The children  draw their own magical trees which can then be used as the setting and idea for a story.

EYFS Nursery 

  • The senses: sight, sound, smell and touch can be explored in a little hide- and- seek game with puppets based on  Mouse in the House.

KS 1 

  • I use Dog on Wheels which is fast paced and fun and will grab the interest of all young children with its skateboarding theme. Told in rhyme and with a lot to read in the pictures, it offers an entertaining way of developing literacy skills. Using prepositions of movement, we create a new journey for Dubbin, Dog on Wheels. (year 1)
  • Topics – fantasy. Creating a mysterious character and giving that character a name. (year 1)  In The Little White Sprite a boy goes through a hole, into the hollow inside a strange tree. In the workshop based on this book, children can create a mysterious place of their own where they can imagine entering another world, in the tradition of Alice in Wonderland or the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. What happens next? Story openers. (year 2)
  • Mythical beasts. In my book Selkie a boy makes friends with a seal that can change into a girl and back again into a seal. In this workshop, I ask children, 'If you met a creature like that what would you want to know about it?'  Big questions, open questions, philosophy. (year 2)
  • Water and weather – for these topics I offer workshops based on  We’re Going to Build a Dam and Flood and show how I edit my stories and pictures ( years I &2)
  • We’re Going to Build a Dam is a seaside story about two little boys building a dam out of things they find on a beach and a little dog that upsets their plans. The workshop based on this story will explain what happens when a flow of water is blocked. Ideal for a science week.


  • Editing. In my workshops I show rough drafts and sketches and talk about the importance of editing my work
  • Topics -water/ seaside. The sea setting of Selkie and the magic of a seal that can transform into a human can be used to inspire pupils to write about a beach they know and an encounter with a selkie seal. Place as a starting point for individual stories, creating a character and structuring a narrative. (years 5 & 6) or story openers. (years 3&4)
  • Fairy Tales. I offer a fairy tale workshop about a mysterious cat based on my book Tom Finger. Pupils are encouraged to create their own mysterious character. (years 3 &4)
  • Story boards and sea adventures. An illustration-led story inspired by Zoe’s Boat. The pictures in this book are in graphic format and ideal for inspiring pupils to create their own story board narratives, ship's log and nautical adventures. (years 4,5,6)


I'm prepared to travel by car to schools within a 20 mile radius of Cambridge. 

In a day in school, I can give four sessions lasting one hour plus either an Assembly Q&A or a half hour Nursery/Reception session. If the numbers are large, I'm happy for classes to double up for a Power Point presentation in the hall before splitting off into their respective classrooms for the writing or drawing task.

Here is some feedback:

"Gillian captured the children's attention and imagination with her stories and illustrations.  Seeing Gillian's original artwork and hearing about the process of creation, inspired them to create their own images and stories.  We had a wonderful day."

Angela Taylor, Sancton Wood School, Cambridge.


"We have just had the most wonderful Zoom virtual visit from the author and illustrator Gillian McClure. We were treated to an hour of magical and mesmerising reading from the author's book 'Selkie.' for the older children and 'Dog on Wheels' for the younger ones. The children were transfixed by hearing about the editing process, seeing her drawing live and hearing about where her ideas come from. There then followed a very informative Q & A session where Gillian gave us a real insight into the life of an author and illustrator. The younger children loved the interactive quiz linked to 'Dog on Wheels.'
I never believed that a virtual author visit could be so successful - thank you!"

Julia Clarke
St John’s College School Cambridge

"I can't thank you enough for today. I have had so much positive feedback from both staff and children, my own children included who are in years 3 and 4 at school. They have been telling me all about the drawings they did and how you edit your books. It was lovely to hear them talking so excitedly about it this evening at home. I feel we have been extremely lucky as a school that you were able to do this with us today. One teacher commented that they could have listened to you all day and another said that she thought it had been the best author visit she had been part of.
Thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration to our children at school and for helping us bring our book week to life this week. I hope in the future there will be an opportunity for you to do something with our children again."

Jody Johnson

Monkfield Park Primary School 


" We had a wonderful day with you, Gillian, and hope to see you again soon. The children loved the day and we hope to inspire them to write more in the future months." 

Sue Blakeley 

St Louis Catholic Academy, Newmarket


"Gillian McClure gave a fascinating talk on picturebooks to graduates on masters courses on book illustration and children's literature from both Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Faculty of Education. She used delightful examples from her own work to illustrate points she was making about the art of picturebooks. Gillian had an excellent rapport with her audience and took time and trouble to answer their questions. Highly recommended."

Morag Styles, Cambridge Faculty of Education 


“The children of Mayfield from year 1 to 6 were inspired by the beautiful story of the Selkie to write their own stories and poems.  It was wonderful for them to meet Gillian at the end of Book Week and hear first-hand how the story was written and illustrated.  The experience has encouraged our children to write and draw and we have seen some wonderful independent storytelling as a result.”

“The children and teachers were very inspired by your illustrations and the workshop overall. The work the children produced during your visit was in turn so inspiring.” 

Sarah Quigley - Bonneville Primary School Librarian


 "Our World Book Day came to life through Gillian McClure’s visit to Pirton School. The children were mesmerised by her extraordinary illustrations in the Assembly. She took the children through active, imaginative, adventure sessions, which highly developed their imaginations. All children were extremely engaged and continued their story telling and writing skills further, after their class workshop. Gillian had a charming way of enchanting all of our pupils and raised the profile of reading and writing throughout our school."


"I am attaching a few comments written by children:" 

"I really enjoyed the visit. I hope she will write another book. She has really inspired me to become an author and illustrator".  YYYYY

Amara Rah – (Form 1)


"I love your stories. I love “Zoe’s Boat” and the cover of “Selkie”. I also have the book “Tom Finger”. Thank you very much for coming to our school."

Tioluwani Adedayo (Form 1) 


"Children inspired to see the process of writing a story."

Phil Reid

Cliff Park Infant School.  


"This visit greatly supported the work Y1 &2 are doing in literacy. It helped to develop the children’s knowledge of setting, character and problem."


Judith Lowes,

Harpley Primary School. 



Event feedback

We had a wonderful day with you Gillian and we hope to see you again soon. The children loved the day and we hope to inspire them to write more in future months. Best wishes Sue Blakeley St Louis Catholic Academy, Newmarket

Sue Blakeley (St Louis Roman Catholic Academy)

Books by Gillian McClure

Gillian McClure has written and illustrated over 30 picture books including
Dog on Wheels Goes Snowboarding

Dog on Wheels Goes Snowboarding

A snowy adventure for Dubbin and Todd! Dubbin flips off his wheels and Ta-da! – his skateboard becomes a snowboard. Todd follows behind on a tray but there are frightening things along the way – can he and Dubbin deal with them? The latest in the irresistible Dog on Wheels series.  
Dog on Wheels

Dog on Wheels

Children will love this story of a speedy skateboarding dog and his slower friend… both dogs are appealing characters. Well worth jumping on for a ride! 
 Dog on Wheels at Sunny Sea

Dog on Wheels at Sunny Sea

Dubbin and Todd are at the seaside! Dubbin has his skateboard and Todd’s got a blue ball. As they roll along to the pier – disaster! The ball flies over the wall and then Todd disappears. It’s Dubbin to the rescue! A delightful follow-up to the first Dog on Wheels. 


A boy rescues a seal and discovers she is a selkie and can change from seal to girl. They become friends. This book explores a boy’s friendship with a mythical creature. 
The Little White Sprite

The Little White Sprite

˜This beautiful book captures perfectly a child's sense of a haunted world all around him." 
We're Going to Build a Dam

We're Going to Build a Dam

Two boys build a dam out of natural materials found on a beach while a dog isn't very helpful. Practical and funny. 


When an ox, a fox and a hen find themselves thrown together in a flood, they realise they must start working as a team if they are going to reach land safely. 
Zoe's Boat

Zoe's Boat

Friendship doesn't always run smoothly. With illustrations in a frame format, this picture book gives young children the graphic novel experience and, at the same time, a satisfying read-aloud text. 
Mouse in the House

Mouse in the House

Nursery and Reception pupils will enjoy this simple mystery story that explores the senses 
The Land of the Dragon King and other Korean Stories

The Land of the Dragon King and other Korean Stories

Nine sparkling read-aloud tales of mischief and magic 
Tom Finger

Tom Finger

A mysterious cat arrives at Ben and Queenie's door. Is he a witch's cat? A fairy tale theme. 
Mario's Angels: story by Mary Arrigan pictures by Gillian McClure

Mario's Angels: story by Mary Arrigan pictures by Gillian McClure

A little boy helps the artist Giotto liven up his fresco 
Bruna: story by Anne Cottringer pictures by Gillian McClure

Bruna: story by Anne Cottringer pictures by Gillian McClure

Bruna always feels the cold until an exciting friendship helps her warm up.