Never work with children or animals.


Having spent my career toiling away in advertising this well-known saying was always muttered on TV shoots that involved children or animals or both. I’ve had the pleasure of working with unnaturally gregarious children who chose to turn into statues on the big day and dogs that decided to exit stage centre after watering the set. Don’t even ask about the donkey. It quickly became apparent in the land of TV commercials that no matter how prepared you were, something reassuringly always went wrong. Which is the clear message I’m getting from The Working In Schools Industry Lab I’m attending at the moment: expect the unexpected and you’ll do just fine.

I’ve gone back to school. Well, sort of. I’m fortunate enough to have been chosen by The Scottish Book Trust to do this amazing – if slightly terrifying course. At some point in the future, I’d love to run workshops for kids and I’m so glad to have been able to hear all about it straight from the mouths of teachers, authors, librarians and staff at the Book Trust. The sharing of knowledge has been extremely generous, the tips vital and the pitfalls highly entertaining. But as children’s writer, Lari Don said: it’s not about you, it’s all about the kids. And if you’ve managed to fire up their imaginations then the rewards know no bounds.