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Reading is MAGIC! (and also free)

Here in the UK, we’ve all got the same strange feeling of deja vu. Coronavirus Lockdown Season 2 started last Tuesday and so far episode 1 was very familiar to episode 1 of the first season.

But I’m determined not to let myself sink into the doom and gloom whirlpool so, instead of stocking up on toilet paper, episode 2 will see me filling the car boot with wine.

On that note, I’ve got two things to share that will hopefully bring more happiness into your family.


Children’s Book Festivals have unfortunately been cancelled right across the country (and the globe). But I’m pleased to share that a whole bunch of them have banded together to create an online Children’s Book Festival for schools and families to enjoy . . . and the best bit is that it’s completely FREE!

It’s called “Reading is Magic.”

Six days of free, inclusive and engaging digital events with leading authors and illustrators for schools and families.

It’s inspired by the wonderful children’s author Cressida Cowell, who wrote ‘The Wizards of Once’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ series.

It’s full of seminars for all ages, which are live and then available to watch until the end of the year, and here’s my top three suggestions:

  1. Be Inspired to Write a Book-Themed Song with ‘The Bookshop Band’The Bookshop Band write songs inspired by stories and enjoy nothing more than performing them in book stores around the country. English folk singer-songwriters Ben and Beth perform three magical book-themed songs especially for the Reading is Magic Festival.
  2. Create Your Own Cartoon Portrait with Adam MurphyIn this lightning-fast live-drawing session, Adam will show how he does it, using self-portrait and pictures of famous people from history, and pulling out details to create cartoons which will surprise you and make you laugh. He will then invite you to have a go at creating your own cartoon portraits. Guaranteed to be fun, educational and informative.
  3. Reading for the Joy of It with Two LaureatesJoin not one, but two Children’s Laureates in an all-star international celebration of books and reading with the always brilliant Cressida Cowell from the UK and the superb Jason Reynolds from the USA! They celebrate the joys of reading and writing on both sides of the Atlantic – and the good that can come from the magic of reading when that magic is available to everyone.

Here’s the full schedule.

All the events are free to watch and rewatch until the end of 2020.


Now that Season 2 of Lockdown has begun, I want to do my bit to entertain all those delightful goblins who are locked up again (potentially for 6 months . . . gulp!)

Last time I made my latest book – The Village Creatures – a free download and lowered the price of all my books to 99p. But I want to do something different this time.

So, I’ve added all my books to Kindle Unlimited.

If you’ve never heard of it before, its a book subscription service run by Amazon. When subscribed you have access to over 1 million books, thousands of audiobooks and hundreds of magazine subscriptions. The first 30-days are free and then it’s £7.99 a month, so you and your kids can read as many books as you possibly can (for me that would be roughly 3-4 books, but I’m a snail reader).

I’m also planning on making the first book in my new pirate adventure series – Monsters of the Sea – free to download once it’s finished. I promise you guys will be the first to know when it’s ready.

Right, it’s time to crack open that next bottle of wine. It’s always 5 pm somewhere in the world, and today it is that time in my bathroom where I’ve locked myself in for the weekend.

Happy reading!

James

“Oh bugger”

Well, it’s official.

The UK Government has upgraded the Coronavirus warning level from “slightly miffed” to “oh, bugger”, and now we’re all are pretty much stuck inside for the foreseeable future.

(But, one nice silver-lining for me, my extremely organised wife has been bulk buying toilet paper before the pandemic hit from Who Gives a Crap. So I didn’t have to start a fight in Tesco for the last pack of loo rolls).

With all that in mind, I want to do my bit to help parents and kids get through this period of school closures and isolation.

Yes, I’m in the process of making as much fun and entertaining content available as I can to make sure none of us go stir-crazy, all starting with making my latest children’s fiction book FREE. I’d much prefer spread hope and happiness than make some extra cash from a new release.

It’s not yet released, so I’ve created a link below for you to download the free eBook via Book Funnel. I hope it will keep you or your kids away from the TV for at least an hour or so.

The Village Creatures: A Tale About Tails

If you drank Mr. Fitz’s Fabulous Formula, what animal would you turn into?

This hilarious book, illustrated with over thirty pencil drawings, is quite possibly the silliest story ever told! If you enjoyed Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine or David Walliams’ The Beast of Buckingham Palace, then you’ll love The Village Creatures.

Download your free copy here [now expired].

(P.S. Please do share this post or the link with anyone and everyone you think might appreciate a free kids book to make this situation a little less stressful!)

Because I want to focus on producing more books and other free resources, I’ll be pressing pause on this Weekly Cartoon email. I’m planning on returning to sending out these cartoons again later in the year but for now I’m keen to do my bit.

So, if you want to continue receiving updates on new helpful stuff you’ll need to sign up to my other mailing list. In doing so you’ll get a further three FREE eBooks, so it’s worth a few extra clicks.

Get your free copies of 49 Ways to Steal the Cookie Jar, 49 Excuses for Not Doing Your Homework, and The Boy Who Stole One Million Socks by signing up to my Parents Newsletter here.

I’d love to hear from you – if you have any suggestions on what content I can create to help let me know. What can I write / draw / produce to keep you and your kids busy?

Leave a comment on this post with your thoughts and I’ll comment back 🙂

Happy reading, everyone!

Monthly Cartoon: The Gay Ghost

Gay Ghost

I drew this cartoon for Halloween ages ago!

Then forgot about it until today. . . the day after Halloween. . . so I could either wait for another 360 days or post it a day late (hope you agree I made the right decision).

Check out my next cartoon eBook fresh from the press – ‘49 Excuses for Skipping Gym Class‘.

Monthly Cartoon: The Holy Spirit

Whiskey

In the past year I’ve been luck enough to visit three whiskey distillaries in three different countries: Glenkinchie Distillary (Edinburgh, Scotland), Jameson’s Old Distillary (Dublin, Ireland), and Pendryn Distillary (Pendryn, South Wales).

The word ‘whiskey’ comes from the old Gaelic term ‘uisge beatha’, which literally translates as “the water of life”. Naturally after learning this important piece of trivia the spirits cabinat in my dining room has quickly become more of a whiskey cabinat, complete with several tumblers and tulip glasses.

Clearly whiskey is the one spirit that rules them all, so I figured it deserved a cartoon… and this is it – ‘The Holy Spirit’.

Got some exciting news to share soon about my next fiction book and will also being sharing new drawings for my next 49 eBook aswell, so keep a look out and enjoy the cartoon.

Monthly Cartoon: Reasons for Voting

4 Reasons for Voting

Morning all…

Slight change of plan as today is a Thursday, and so far I’ve been religiously posting cartoons every Monday and Friday. The reason for the break in tradition is fairly obvious of course – today is the European Parliament Voting Day. So here’s my effort to get you guys in the voting mood.

Monthly Cartoon: Primary Teacher Wife

6 Things Every Husband Must Do for their Primary School Teacher WifeGood morning… and happy Friday!

Being a husband to (a wonderful) Primary School Teacher this particular idea has been bubbling in my brain for months. I felt obligated to share my knowledge and handy tips with my fellow husbands/partners/housemates who live with a Primary School Teacher. Its good to finally share it with you.

Have a cracking weekend and I’ll see you on the other side.

Monthly Cartoon: Talking to Your Boss

6 Sentences You Should Never Say to Your Boss

Morning…

I’m extremely glad Friday has arrived, partly because it means the weekend is around the corner, but mostly because I get to share another cartoon with you. I overheard one of these in the office I work in (number 5) while the boss was away and it made me chuckle… that’s something you definitely don’t want to suggest! So I thought of another 5 that made me laugh, put pencil to paper, and here they are – 6 Sentences You Should Never Say To Your Boss.

I’m really enjoying Cartoons on Toast. If you are too please like the Facebook page, follow the Twitter page, and share them with your friends. Thanks folks and see you again soon.