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Author Michael Morpurgo answers your questions....

(59 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 05-Dec-08 16:50:42

Great news! Award-winning children's author Michael Morpurgo has kindly agreed to answer YOUR questions. Michael has written more than 100 books, including The War Horse, The Butterfly Lion and Private Peaceful, and founded Farms for City Children with his wife. His most recent book, This Morning I Met a Whale, is the story of a little boy who meets the whale that turned up in the Thames a couple of years ago. Please use this thread to post your question - or your children's questions - to Michael. You don't have to give any details about your children, although their age may be useful. The last day for sending in questions is next Friday, 12th December. Michael will then answer as many as possible and they'll be published on the site before Christmas.

I think it's fantastic that you've agreed to do this - you have been on the site's 'wanted' list for a good while now.

Your books have been widely enjoyed in our family. They are a tonic to the gimmicky serialised things children can get hooked on. I think it's fantastic that they appeal to both genders and to such a wide age range.

Anyway, my daughter is eight, and she would like to ask you a fairly predictable question, but if you would humour her, that would be great.

Her question is:

How did you become a successful author, how much work do you do from having an idea for a book to its publication, and how important is editing?

oh, and strike out one of the fantastics and replace with a positive adjective of your choosing. I had a bit of a break between writing the first paragraph and the second as my daughter heard our chickens making strange noises and ran off to investigate.

FioFio Wed 10-Dec-08 16:42:03

do you like cheese? If so, what is your favourite?

Boco Wed 10-Dec-08 17:07:58

Is that you Wallace?

FioFio Wed 10-Dec-08 17:25:03

haha

snigger Wed 10-Dec-08 17:37:12

Hello Michael! <wave wave>

DD1, (8) would like to know:

"Would you do the same as Charlie in Private Peaceful?"

EffiePerine Wed 10-Dec-08 17:37:19

Hooray!

What would be your top tip for getting children (esp boys) to enjoy reading? And what do you think of the current literacy strategy in schools wink?

tortoiseshellWasMusicaYearsAgo Wed 10-Dec-08 18:06:05

Hi Michael - my ds1 is 7 and really enjoys your books. At the moment he would like to be an author when he grows up and really loves writing. What advice would you give him?

roisin Wed 10-Dec-08 18:08:01

Michael, we are huge fans in this house. ds1 wrote to you when he was very young and was delighted to receive a handwritten reply.

I run two reading clubs in secondary school, which are popular and successful. But I also do literacy intervention with those who are still struggling, and I ache for those children who have already been turned off reading and writing by our current education system. I have tried various initiatives without much success to try to encourage them to love reading in the way I do, and my boys do.

Do you have any magic solutions? As parents and/or professionals what do you think we could be doing to bring about changes in (primary) education?

weblette Wed 10-Dec-08 18:29:10

Hello Michael,

My 8yr old dd adores your books.

She would love to know why animals play such an important part of so many of your books.

Thanks!

MrsWeasleyStrokesSantasSack Wed 10-Dec-08 18:37:54

Hi Michael,

My Son would like to know if Kensuke's Kingdom is based on a true story? Is the letter from Michiya Ogawa at the end of the book a real letter or one you made up?

Would like to add that the Teacher read The Marble Crusher to our class of year 3 children(age 7&8) last summer and they enjoyed it so much it started a new fasination for playing Marbles. grin

Thank you.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Dec-08 19:21:11

My son loves your books, even though lots of them make him cry.

He wants to know why so many children's authors don't write about sad things. And why you do. smile

Fennel Wed 10-Dec-08 19:21:15

My 7yo daughter wants to write something:

"Hello Michael, my name is Esme, I liked the book Adolphus Tips because I have a kitten jut like Adolphus Tips named Clara. She's very cheeky. We went to see Slapton Sands in the autumn. Where did Adolphus Tips live before he lived with the family or was he born in the family? Do you have any more stories about cats. Clara has a brother called Orlando. He's even cheekier! From Esme."

And my 8yo daughter wants to say something too.

"I like the book Adolphus Tips because the book is interesting because it has lots of interesting things in it. And we have been to the place where it's set in Slapton Sands. I read "The Wreck of the Sambar" too. I liked it because it was all about a child who wanted to ride the gig. We are going to go to the Isles of Scilly one day. From Xanthe."

overthemill Wed 10-Dec-08 19:29:24

how do you make your books seem so real i like it, it makes it so realistic your the best writer ever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
smile

(rosie age 9)

overthemill Wed 10-Dec-08 19:33:45

and from me, how do you manage to write so many great books that completely appeal to children of all ages (and adults too). I am always so pleased when one of mine pick up a book by you and enjoy the conversations they provoke.

The eldest (15) wants to know why she can't study 'private peaceful' at GCSE instead of lord of the flies!! Do you feel your books wil stand the test of time like some of the 'classics'?

herbietea Wed 10-Dec-08 20:15:52

I haven't got a question - I just want to say thank you for the many enjoyable hours of reading that you have given both my boys, especially the youngest.

herbietea Wed 10-Dec-08 20:18:28

Oh now I have a question (or my eldest does)

1 How old were you when you wrote your first book?

2 What was your favourite story as a child?

3 What was your inspiration for Private Peaceful?

Hello..... Just wanted to say hi! Im sure you came to my school (redland high school in bristol) when I was really little and everyone was really excited.

I was very young though so I might have it wrong.

I loved the butterfly lion as a child! I read it to my little boy although he is still a bit young to appreciate it.

I would like to know out of all of your books, which is your favourate?

Well done and keep up the good work!

DisasterArea Wed 10-Dec-08 20:42:04

DD2 wants to know how old you are and which of your books is your favourite.

DD1 wants to know what inspires you to keep writing.

I want to know why the albatros in 'alone on a wide wide sea' has to die? thought it a bit unnecessary and brutal and it made me cry (as did adolphus tips and kensuke's kingdom among others)

Doobydoo Wed 10-Dec-08 20:54:51

How utterly fantastic that you are doing this.My 9 year old son has read The Butterfly Lion squillions of times and also Private Peaceful.He is thinking up a question for you.

tillyblue Wed 10-Dec-08 21:40:09

Hello Michael.

Daughter 12yrs would like to know

"Why do write about World War 2 so much? Also do you take your inspiration from true stories/facts ?"

Mum(38yrs)My favourite is Why the whales came. It was beautifully written and came highly recommended by my daughter.

Wishing you a Happy Christmas. smile

My 11-year-old daughter loves elephants and wants to know why,although you have written about so many different animals you have never written a book about an elephant?

Fauve Thu 11-Dec-08 08:34:11

My 10-year-old loved Adolphus Tips, Born to Run, War Horse, Kaspar, Prince of Cats, Private Peaceful, The Butterfly Lion and Mr Nobody's Eyes.

The pupils at her small primary school produce a little student magazine - if she sent you some questions, perhaps via your publisher, would you consider answering them so that she could put them in the school magazine? It would only be a short 'interview' - normally ten questions - but it would make Year 6 very happy!

PS she says she adores your work. We're aiming to see War Horse at the National Theatre in January!

grin

ahundredtimes Thu 11-Dec-08 14:35:21

We came to see you at the Bath Children's literary festival this year, and you were splendid - it should be said.

One of my children had his hand up, he wanted to ask you this: 'I think the ending of Born to Run was too sad. It was very sad. WHY couldn't he go back to the boy? You made me cry, and I'm quite cross about it actually.'

I told him you answered the question when someone else asked you something, and you said 'I think I do sad very well.' He thinks this NOT good enough, sorry. He is being quite high maintenance about the whole thing, but I told him I would post the question here.

p.s I don't want to go on too much about how brilliant you are - but the way you answered all the questions about 'where do you get your ideas from?' was wonderful, the sitting on the train and seeing the white horse, and the talking to people in the pub etc. It was v. inspiring and clever and really opened up how stories are made in a proper way. Properly inspired all three of mine and I want you to know I really appreciate it. [Charlie Higson said to similar questions 'from a shop' also considered 'Not Good Enough' by high maintenance son.]

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