Millbank Primary School

Growing Together To Be Our Best

* Author Visit

Mrs Rowlands had organised all sorts of fun activities for Book week to remind everyone just how much fun reading should be. We had dressing up as your favourite book character, book swaps and book readings. But best of all was getting a real author in of books that we actually had read and recognised - John Dougherty

John tailored his time with each of the classes in the school. Here he is with dosbarth Dylan Thomas/ class 3; where he read the children a bit from a book he is still working on called ‘Stinkbomb and Ketchup face’ he told us that he might have to change some bits.

Great! When I was your age I used to get told off for daydreaming, now it’s my job! I get to daydream all day and I get to sit around thinking all day, it’s difficult to do it wrong! Who likes reading and writing stories? [lots of hand went up in the air] It was my favourite thing when I was a pupil

It varies on the book you are doing. One day my publisher rang me up and asked me to write a book for a literary festival and I wrote the tale of Finn MacCool(see below) for it. I did not have to think of the story as it’s an old legend so it only took me a couple of days.
My First Zeus novel took about 8 days work in total. But my First ever book took quite a while. I sent it off to my publisher who told me that it was good but the first version had too many ideas in it and I needed to rewrite it to make it better. So I listened to what she said changed it and sent it back in. Then she said yes that is much better but still you can make it even better, so I changed it again. And each time It did get better. Of course when you are doing other jobs its difficult to find the time but once I had one book published i could spend more time concentrating on writing.

POEM “What teachers do”


You guys are writers, you have all written stories you are therefore authors the difference is that I have been published. My advice is to keep on trying and certainly the best tip is to keep reading. Read fun things you like, that you want to read. It does not matter if people say oh no that comic book is not suitable for you, it is about what you want to read. Go to your library and try out different books, it does not cost anything and soon you might discover you like books by one author so keeping reading other books they have written.

In my special shed. I tried working in the house but it’s easy to get distracted by the phone or e-mails or someone knocking at the door. So I hide myself away in the shed. I always start off by reading what I wrote the day before so I get back into the flow of the book.

No I use a computer.

John then sang us a song about Underpants!
Lucia 7 said “I thought he was very good and his readings and poems were very funny.”


Later on John visited the Infants who again asked him some questions and he read them the story of Finn MacCool.

What sort of books do you write?
Well read them and find out! I tend to write funny books, though some are scary funny

Kieran: How many books have you written?
That depends on how you count them really? If you go to the Library or bookstore you could find 9 books that I have had published. I am talking to the publishers about another book now.

What Kind of books do you read?
I have never been asked that, and that is such a good question for a 5 year old. The answer is Lots! I read all kinds of different books and all kinds of different reading material such as comics and magazines as well. .
The more you read the better at it you will get and the more fun you will get out of it
At the moment I am reading a book of magical short stories and a book about Quantum Physics which is full of fascinating facts . Did you know that coffee weighs more when hot than cold? Or that there is a liquid that runs uphill?

John that said that there are lots of different ways to tell stories, it might be through books, poems or through song and he sang us “Goodnight man”

How long does it take to write a book?
It depends on the book, you might have a story in your head for years and rewrite it several times. The book I will read about the Giants FinMcCool had to be done quickly and was adapting a well known folk tale that took a few days. Other books take much longer but it’s a bit like running a marathon you do not start out thinking I am going to run 26 miles you think that I am going to run one mile at a time and it’s a lot easier that way

When did you get the job to write a book?
It’s not a job like a teacher or a police man where you are interviewed and get a job. I write lots of books and send them to the publisher if they like them they arrange for them to be made into books

Gabrielle: what is your favourite book?
It is very difficult to choose just one but I have always liked the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe?

Poem “What teachers do”

How do you do the drawings?
I don’t, the publishers choose an illustrator that will best suit my story and ask them to do all the paintings and drawings.

“My hands burn from clapping so much"


John speaks to class 5.


At the end of the day John did a special book signing where the children could buy his books with a special message in them but as he pointed out several times during the day, all the books are available in our local Ely library, in the Central library in town and easiest of all in the school Library too!

We all want to say a huge "Thank You" to John for giving us all such a great time we all enjoyed it, and the children seem really enthusiastic about getting into these books and following John's advice. You can find out what John is working on and learn more about him at his website.