Sunday, 24 February 2013

Climate Change Week

Climate Change Week takes place from 4th to 10th March 2013. It is a great chance to get children (and adults) thinking about what we can do to reduce the impact of climate change to communities around the world. 
In 2011 I became quite obsessed about the metling ice in the Arctic. I read up about it in books that spelled out not only the grim impact climate change is having and coming threat on communities aroud the world, but, in particular, about what will happen in the Arctic when the ice has gone.
I visited Tromso and the Arctic areas north of that city in Norway to find out more. Then, using my findings, I wrote a children's novel - White Fear - about five child spies who are trying to prevent a war that is about break out about who owns the oil and gas that lies beneath the Arctic seabed. All too likely, I am sorry to say.
My website page on how I went about writing White Fear has more information about that research and on the melting ice.
There is a free schools' pack of activities around the book and the theme of climate change too.

But, more importantly, please visit for more information about Climate Change Week and what you, your family and your school can do to help.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Fair Trade Fortnight

Next half-term it is Fairtrade Fortnight: a great opportunity to get children thinking about where they spend their money and the difference that choice can make other people's lives.

In 2009 I wrote a book about a boy called Kofi, who - as well as being a gifted footballer - was the son of cocoa bean farmers in Ghana.

The book is called Off Side.

At the beginning of the Off Side, Kofi's family were being cheated and not paid a fair amount for their beans. By the end they had become part of the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative which supplies chocolate manufacturers Divine.

I was very lucky, when in Ghana researching my novel, that Divine took me to meet some farmers and to a school paid for by our buying Fairtrade Chocolate. I have seen the results of the decision we can make to buy Fair Trade chocolate: children being well-schooled, learning to run their own businesses and families living in decent accommodation.
When I came home I worked with Divine Chocolate to produce a schools' pack that should encourage children to think about the impact of buying Fair Trade products. It is free to download.
There is more information about my book, Off Side, which also looks at people trafficking, particularly the exploitation of young footballers from Africa.
And, if you would like to download the first chapter of the book for free, it is available here.
Fair Trade fortnight runs from 25th February to 10th March 2013.