IMAGINE IF YOU COULD LISTEN IN TO WHAT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU ARE THINKING!
That’s what happens to Matt when he is given a crystal. He can hear what his friends, teachers, parents – in fact, EVERYONE is thinking!
But what will Matt do with his magic power – and what happens when it lands him into DANGER . . .?
‘MINDREADER THE CRYSTAL’ is typical of Pete Johnson’s writing. This exciting, fast-moving plot line will keep the pages turning – and Matt is a thoroughly recognisable character. Great fun!’ Love Reading 4 Kids
‘MINDREADER THE CRYSTAL’ was incredible. One of the best best books ever written by Pete Johnson. It only took me one day to read it as it is so fascinating.’ Good Reads
‘MINDREADER THE CRYSTAL’ was originally published as MINDREADER, and was long listed for The Carnegie Medal.There are two popular Sequels:‘MINDREADER SUPERHERO’ and ‘MINDREADER GHOSTLY WHISPER.’
COMING SOON TEACHER’S GUIDE FOR ‘MATE MATCH’ (‘How I Almost Didn’t Survive my First Date’ in Germany)
Joe has never been cool or had a girlfriend . . . then he signs up with the dating app, Mate Match where he swiftly – and hilariously – learns the rules of the dating game.
‘Mate Match’ has been described as a ‘wicked comedy of manners . . . 21st century problems examined in an easy to read and lively short novel.’ (Andrea Reece, Love Reading 4 Kids) And as ‘an honest and heart warming tale for modern teenagers . . . perfectly pitched for digitally obsessed teens.’ (Mail Book Shop)
The response to ‘Mate Match’ in both the UK and Germany has been so enthusiastic a teacher’s guide is coming out later this year.
Produced by Beltz for their acclaimed series ‘Reading, Understanding, Learning,’ This guide will offer text analysis for teachers and worksheets. It will also feature an exclusive interview with Pete, in which he will reveal: ‘How much of teenage Pete is in the main character?’
Pete says, ‘I’m thrilled my short novel has aroused such interest. It was great fun to research. I really look forward to seeing Beltz’s teacher’s guide.’
‘Mate Match’ is brilliant. My child is eleven and has found it very difficult to get going with reading, but ‘Mate Match’ was read within 48 hours. My daughter is happy to be in bed reading for half an hour on her own now. Brilliant.’
UK review Amazon
‘I can warmly recommend ‘How I Almost Didn’t Survive my First Date,’ to anyone who has had difficulty with ordinary books and would like to be gently introduced to the world of books using current topics. 5/5 stars. A great idea.’
German review Amazon
PETE’S TRULY AMAZING
Exciting events often occur during the festive season in Pete’s books. So here are six cunning questions to find out just how well you know Pete’s stories - AND two bonus questions we’re calling ‘CHRISTMAS CRACKERS.’
1) In ‘My Parents are driving me Crazy,’ what was Louis’s early Christmas present from his grandparents?
a) A tray he had made for them at school.
b) A big box of chocolates. c) The news that Louis was coming to stay with them for a year.
2) In ‘How to Update Your Parents?’ what is Maddy’s Christmas present for Louis?
a) A box set featuring the top comedians of today.
b) A charm bracelet with hearts and stars on.
c) A giant joke book.
3) In ‘How to Update Your Parents’ Louis records a spot on a show which will be broadcast on a Christmas Eve, what happens next . . .
a) Offers pour in for Louis as he tours round the world spreading laughter wherever he goes.
b) His parents say he is too young to miss school and cancel the tour.
c) He is cut from the show.
4) In ‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy’ Maddy tells Louis, ‘I’ll never go on a date with you again.’ But . . . what does she go on to say?
a) ‘I will let you take me skating.’
b) ‘I will go on an un-date with you.’
c) ‘I will allow you to cook me a meal.’
5)Which of Pete’s books begins with this entry for January 4th. ‘All I did at break time was turn into a gorilla and you can’t tell me that’s against the school rules, because it isn’t.’
a) ‘Trust me I’m a Troublemaker.’
b) ‘Help I’m A Classroom Gambler.’
c) ‘How to Get Famous.’
6) Matt is Christmas Shopping when he receives a dramatic warning from his magic crystal. ‘You are in great danger. Watch out.’ What happens next?
a) He feels a strong push in his back. Someone was propelling him into the path of a car swishing past.
b) A man he has never seen before appears pointing a gun – at him.
c) A huge Alsatian tears right up to him – barking furiously.
7) CHRISTMAS CRACKER QUESTION. Of all Pete’s books which one has sold the most copies in the United Kingdom?
a) THE GHOST DOG?
b) HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS?
C) MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL
8) CHRISTMAS CRACKER QUESTION. OF ALL PETE’S BOOKS. WHICH HAS SOLD THE MOST COPIES IN GERMANY?
a) ‘How To Become 13 and Stay Alive? (UK title ‘The Vampire Blog.’)
b) ‘How to Become 13 and stay Calm’ (UK title ‘The Vampire Busters.’)
c) ‘How to Raise Your Parents’ (UK title ‘How to Train Your Parents.’)
1: c) The news that Louis was coming to stay with them – for a year.
2: a) A box set featuring the top comedians today. (Louis gives Maddy the charm bracelet with hearts and stars on it.)
3: c) He is cut from the show (Aaaah)
4: b) ‘I will go on an ‘undate’ with you.’
5: b) ‘Help I’m a Classroom Gambler.’
6: a) He feels a strong push iu his back. Someone was propelling him into the path of a car swishing past 7: b) ‘How To Train Your Parents’ is the champion seller , with ‘My Parents Are Out Of Control’ and ‘The Ghost Dog’ second and third respectively. 8: a) ‘How to Become 13 and Stay Alive.’ is Germany’s top seller.‘How to Become Thirteen and stay Calm’ is Pete’s’ latest Marcus Vampire book - currently exclusively on sale in Germany – and ‘How To Raise Your Parents,’ Pete’s second most popular book in Germany.
This was a tough quiz – so if you got 4 or 5 questions right you deserve a Christmas mince pie.
6 questions correct – make that 2 mince pies.
7 or 8 correct – you are such a star you deserve a personal visit from Father Christmas. (Click here for Pete’s horrifying Halloween Quiz.)
PETE’S HORRIFYING HALLOWEEN QUIZ
Pete has written a number of spooky tales and Halloween regularly pops up in his stories – even some of his comedies. So how well do you know Peter’s books? Why not take part in this extremely fiendish quiz and find out. (Answers at bottom of this piece.)
1) In which Louis the Laugh book does Louis say: ‘After Christmas Halloween is the happiest day of the year?’
a) HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS
b) MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL
c) MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY
2) THE CREEPER is a monster who haunts wrong-doers at night.But what first alerts people to the Creeper’s presence?
a) The smell of burning.
b) A trail of dust appearing out of nowhere.
c) A sinister tapping on the window.
3) In ‘The Ghost Dog’ why is Daniel’s Halloween party cancelled?
a) Daniel has received a very bad school report – and that is his punishment.
b) Aaron comes to stay on the day of the Halloween party,
c) Daniel’s parents are worried the party will be too scary for him?
4) In which vampire book does Marcus lose his reflection?
a) The Vampire Blog
b) The Vampire Fighters
c) The Vampire Bewitched
5) In the Vampire Hunters Marcus has a blood craving. But where?
a) In the middle of double maths
b) While he is on a blind date
c) When he is playing basket ball.
6) In Werewolf Brother what kind of werewolf does Harry wish for?
a) A scary one who howls at night.
b) One who can also perform magic tricks and waggle his ears.
c) A very tame werewolf with a cheerful disposition.
7) Who does Louis say is the only guy who doesn’t have to bother wearing a mask. He’s more terrifying without one?
b) Elliot, his brother.
c) His dad.
8) In The Vampire Hunters who says. ‘In my opinion weird people are the only ones worth knowing?’ a) Gracie
THE GHOULISH ANSWERS ARE: 1) b MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL 2) c By tapping on the window 3) b Aaron comes to stay on the day of the Halloween party. 4) a THE VAMPIRE BLOG 5) b While he is on a blind date 6) c A very tame werewolf with a most cheerful disposition 7) a Edgar (in MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL) 8) c Marcus
If you got four answers correct take a bow. They were tough questions. If you got six right – take two bows! And if you got seven or more right – Congratulations! You know more about Pete’s books than he does!
MY TIPS ON HOW TO WRITE A HORROR STORY by Pete Johnson
Facing the blank page. Is this the part you dread most? Well, you are not alone. So does every other single writer.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET STARTED?
My suggestion – Warm up first.
Each day I start off by scribbling down notes, half sentences, maybe a couple of lines of dialogue. It doesn’t matter, but the great thing is I have begun.
WARM UP EXERCISE
Jot down FIVE spooky sounds. For instance:
How about a sudden scream?
A yell for help?
What about animal noises?
Have sounds ever scared you?
And then you might think about when you heard a particular noise. For instance, a cough might not sound very frightening. But how about, though, if you were alone in a house late at night when you suddenly heard a cough erupt out of the darkness?
Now you are also thinking about setting. So next imagine you are running through a churchyard at night. What might you see, hear and smell? This leads you to a vital ingredient of any horror story.
So the more vividly you can picture your setting – whether it’s an isolated house or an eerily silent wood – the scarier your story will become.
Weather can really help to build up atmosphere.
Think for instance, of a morning covered in thick fog or one of those winter afternoons when it turns dark all at once.
You do not have to write your story chronologically. You can have what I call a ‘trailer opening.’ This is when you begin in the middle or even at the end of your story. You pull the reader in right away because it is so dramatic and exciting.
‘The first time I only saw its face.
It had evil red eyes.
Blood poured out of its mouth.
It was the ugliest, most horrible thing I had ever seen.
And I’d brought it to life.’
These are the opening lines of my book, ‘THE GHOST DOG,’ hopefully grabbing your attention right away. The Ghost Dog doesn’t appear then for more than twenty pages, but I’ve given you a strong hint of the horror waiting for you.
I also used the trailer idea in ‘THE FRIGHTENERS.’ See also the opening to the first of the Twilight books.
THREE MARCUS/VAMPIRE BOOKS
LAUNCHED IN GERMANY IN MARCH
The Marcus/Vampire Blog books mix comedy and horror, with a dash of romance. In the first book THE VAMPIRE BLOG Marcus makes a shock discovery on his 13th birthday – he is about to transform into a half- vampire. Three sequels have followed.
The books have achieved their biggest popularity in Germany, where they are known as the ‘HOW TO BECOME 13’ series.
NOW EXCLUSIVELY IN GERMANY A BRAND NEW MARCUS BOOK – THE VAMPIRE BUSTERS - launches in March as HOW TO BECOME 13 AND HOLD YOUR NERVE.
Marcus is so well liked in Germany that alongside the new title are two spin-off titles: ‘THE MARCUS FRIENDSHIP BOOK’ and ‘THE MARCUS VAMPIRE ACTIVITY BOOK’ (pictured below).
Pete says, ‘This is Marcus’s most exciting month in Germany with three new titles coming out together.’
BOOKS TO CHEER, INSPIRE
AND MAKE YOU LAUGH
‘WITH THE NEXT FEW MONTHS LOOKING JUST AS UNSURE AS THE LAST FEW, THEN A LITTLE ESCAPISM AND LAUGHTER ARE JUST WHAT OUR KIDS NEED . . . I THOROUGHLY RECOMMEND PETE JOHNSON’S LOUIS THE LAUGH SERIES TO KEEP THEM LAUGHING THROUGHOUT.’ Books for Tweens - How Felicity Finds
THE LOUIS THE LAUGH SERIES
‘My son could not put this book down and finds it very funny. (All I could hear was giggling) It also made for fun conversations. about what he would do to train us. Now his friend is reading it, and I am told is enjoying it just as much as he is.’ Amazon review 2020
‘I loved this book and I am glad you gave me the tips, Louis. Definitely worth a 5 star rating and for children who like funny and happy books.’ Amazon review 2020
‘My son loves this book. Kept quoting parts of it.’ Amazon review 2020
‘My 10 year old loves it. Fun and educational for both parents and children and that can’t be bad.’ Amazon review 2020
‘Fabulous, so funny, can’t put if down and have read it several times now.’ TOPPSTA review
‘Profound commentary about having confidence in simply being ourselves, presented with disarming humour in a new tale about Louis the Laugh, the aspiring schoolboy comedian.’
AND DON’T MISS THESE MUCH LOVED TITLES
‘Written in Pete Johnson’s accessible style yet totally different to ‘How to Train Your Parents.’ A gripping and occasionally chilling tale about children standing up to bullies. Highly topical and hard to put down. Great for adults and kids to read.’ Amazon review
‘A haunting and captivating read which will keep you hooked to the end.’ Book Trust
Click the cover to read Pete’s new article – Twenty Five Years of ‘The Ghost Dog.’
‘Finally a vampire book with a witty male lead for middle grade kids to love and laugh at.I really loved ‘The Vampire Blog.’ Pete Johnson is such an amazing author, funny, witty, scary and addictive.’ Amazon review
‘This is a cleverly crafted, fast flowing comedy and the most subtle lessons in growing up and trying to change people won’t be lost either.’ Gil Roberts, Carousel
‘This is a thoroughly goodhearted and entertaining book with lots of humour and witty dialogue. Fast and funny . . . a thoroughly enjoyable read.’ The School Librarian
BOOK OF THE MONTH MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY
‘Glowing with Pete Johnson’s trademark warmth and good humour, My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy,’ is a not to be missed novel, with wickedly sharp, perfectly timed writing.’Droplets of Ink
PETE says: A question I’m often asked is. ‘What is the best book you have ever written?’ It’s tough to answer, but one title which always appears on my short list is, ‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy.’ Why?
Well, I think it is one of the funniest books I’ve ever written – Louis the Laugh is on especially good form here. But also, one of my most poignant.
The story begins with Louis’s dad losing his job. So he and Louis’s mum do a swap: Mum works full time now and Dad takes over the running of the house, including all the meals – only his food is inedible and soon there is chaos. Yet Louis also sees how lonely and isolated his dad is. And how he comes to rely more and more on Louis’s company.
At first Louis is a bit cross about that – he can’t spend all his precious free time hanging out with a parent for goodness sake – but then he starts to see Dad in a completely new way...
So yes, I’ll admit it I’m rather proud of this story, and it is definitely one of my favourites.’
In Germany the book is called: ‘HOW TO COPE WITH YOUR CRAZY PARENTS.’ ‘Louis, a text book teenager, reminds me of myself at that age. I liked him right from the start. Pete Johnson writes full of humour, captivating both young and old.’ 5 Stars, Amazon review, Germany
LOUIS THE LAUGH LAUNCHES HIS FIRST EVER JOKE BOOK – WITH INVALUABLE HELP FROM THECHILDREN OF NORTHERN IRELAND.
Ever since the first lockdown the sales of the Louis the Laugh books have soared. Children tell Pete Johnson that Louis’s antics and his mission to get everyone laughing has helped boost their spirits!
Laughter it seems, really is the best medicine!
And now comes Louis’s dream book.
‘Louis the Laugh’ presents:
‘HOW TO BE A COMEDY GENIUS – THE BEST JOKES IN THE WORLD EVER.’
What makes this book extra special is the involvement of the children from all over Northern Ireland, who have always had a special affinity with Louis. So it was there the big call-out for children’s favourite jokes began. This was launched on Lynette Fay’s show on RADIO ULSTER and superbly co-ordinated by LIBRARIES N.L. The results have exceeded all Pete’s expectations. ‘We were absolutely flooded with fabulous jokes from children all over Northern Ireland,’ says Pete. ‘Their enthusiasm and love of comedy was a joy to see. It also shows how many budding comedians there are in Northern Ireland.’
Pete continues: ‘Libraries Northern Ireland has played a vital role in the development of this life-enhancing book. So it is wonderfully fitting that the launch took place on 9th February at Chichester Library in Northern Ireland.’
For every copy sold Award publishers will make a donation to help support children’s mental health.
And just to start you giggling . . .
Why couldn’t the pony sing? It was a little horse.
Why did the Dalmatian go to the optician? It kept seeing spots.
And one of Louis’s favourites from HOW TO BE A COMEDY GENIUS . . .
What did the pencil say to the rubber? Take me to your ruler!
'HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS'
The latest Louis the Laugh book, 'HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS,' launches in Iran. Pete says, ‘Houppa covers bring out all the energy and fun of the Louis books. This new cover is no exception.’
STUNNING NEW COVER FOR 'TRAITOR'
A top Basque publisher, Desclée De Brouwer, is the latest to bring out an edition of Pete’s award winning anti-bullying title, ‘TRAITOR.’ Pete says ‘I really like this vivid, dynamic cover from Desclée. In fact I think it is absolutely brilliant.’
Desclée writes about TRAITOR:
‘This exciting thriller has been applauded for dealing with anti-bullying issues. It has been used in many schools as a teaching material. Pete Johnson has certainly used his outstanding storytelling skills in‘Traitor.’ This fast-paced story is full of energy. It’s a compelling story of great sensitivity.’
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’JOINS
PETE’S BEST SELLERSAT THE WORKS
‘MY PARENTSARE OUTOF CONTROL,’ one of Pete’s funniest and most acclaimed titles, is now available from The Works, which highlights top selling books at competitive prices.
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL,’ hailed as ‘a brilliant look at family life today. A hilarious story which will appeal to boys and girls alike.’ (Parents in Touch) is a stand-alone sequel to ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS.’
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ IS:
‘A GREAT BOOK TO GET YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN READING.’
‘I bought this for my nine year old girl, and she’s spent the past few days with her head buried in it, snorting and chuckling away. I have had her read a few pages to me, it’s well-written and very engaging. And of course funny . . . if your child lacks confidence in their reading, I pretty much think they would find this an appealing read. Be prepared for laughter.
‘A great book and I’m sure we will be sniffing out more reads by this humorous author.’ Whisper Top 100 Reviewers
‘My 8 year old has read ‘The Diary of a Wimpy Kid,’ ‘The Diary of Dennis the Menace,’ and David Walliams. So we were looking for something new to grab his attention and ‘How to Train Your Parents’ was a massive success. My son could not put this book down and found it very funny (all we could hear was giggles) and it also made for further conversations about what he would do to train us . . .’ Amazon reviewer
‘How to Train Your Parents’ is well-written and a great idea and storyline and I would recommend it for all ages, even adults . . . comedy at its peak.’ Amazon reviewer
The other ‘Louis the Laugh’ books are . . .
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ ‘This is an awesome book. Along with the series the book is an uplifting read. Excellent book. This was the highlight of the series’ Amazon review
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY.’
‘Pete Johnson is a genius writer, this is the best book ever. I recommend it for all ages. This is a must read. Thumb well up for this book.’ Amazon
‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’
‘Loved this book. It was easy to read and a fun story. Kept me wanting more right until the end. Would love to read again and tell friends to read it. Will look for more by this author.’ Romeo Slater aged 10, Toppsta
‘HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS’
‘A wonderful book. Ben would definitely recommend. He found this to be fantastically funny.’ Ben S246 aged 12, Toppsta
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS IS A TEACHERS’ PICK
After feedback from hundreds of teachers Amazon has curated a list of incredible books – to inspire a life long love of reading. Johnson’s comic romp, ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ is one of the titles chosen.
Louis the Laugh who became an ‘instant favourite’ has gone on to appear in five more favourite titles.
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ HAS BEEN
‘TRENDING’ ON THE WORKS WEBSITE
The Works, which highlights top selling books at competitive prices, currently features two of Pete’s best loved titles . . . ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ and ‘THE VAMPIRE BLOG.’
And ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ has, for the past week, been trending. Pete says, ‘It really is exciting to see the trending symbol by ‘How to Train Your Parents,’ which is the first book to feature Louis The Laugh. It is widely regarded as one of my funniest titles. As is, ‘The Vampire Blog,’ although you might not realise it from the stylish cover, which does not show how humorous it is. In Germany the book has been retitled, ‘HOW TO BECOME 13 – AND SURVIVE,’ and the cover better illustrates both the spooky and funny elements. Interestingly, in Germany, ‘HOW TO BECOME 13 – AND SURVIVE’ is my top selling title.’
Eighteen years ago – February 2003 – ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ was launched. It became a big comedy hit. It also got children and parents laughing and talking together. Pete was even invited on to BBC Breakfast Television to discuss his comedy hit.
The narrator is Louis the Laugh. He has only one dream, one ambition, which is to be a comedian, while of course, his parents have other ideas. And he has now become the best loved of all Pete’s characters.
He was so popular that LOUIS THE LAUGH has returned in five best-selling sequels. ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL.’ ‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY.’ ‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS,’ ‘HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS,’ AND ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS.’
The sales of the Louis the Laugh books have soared during lockdown – outselling all Pete’s other titles in the UK. Why does Pete think this is?
‘Just before lockdown I met a girl who said she was my biggest fan. So when the teacher asked her if it was exciting to meet me, she replied.’Yes,’ more than a bit doubtfully, before adding. ‘Who I really want to meet is Louis the Laugh.’
I wasn’t offended in the least as I know Louis has become – to many readers – a funny, and engaging friend. And I’m thrilled he has helped cheer up so many young people – especially during lockdown.’
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING AMAZON REVIEWS . . .
‘I bought ‘How To Train Your Parents’ for my nine year old girl and she’s spent the past few days with her head buried in it, snorting and chuckling away. I have heard her read a few pages to me, it s well written, very engaging and of course funny. ‘A great book and I’m sure we will be sniffing out more reads by this humorous author’.
‘How to Train Your Parents,’ is Laugh Out Loud Funny and keeps you engaged until the end. I would recommend the book to 7-12 Year olds.’
‘It is filled with jokes from the beginning until the end. This is the best comedy book Ihave ever read and I want to read the whole series.’
TOPPSTA REVIEWS . . .
‘I read this book really quickly because it is so good.’ Ron Weasley aged 8
‘I thought this book was so good.’ Suzanne aged 10
‘As a character Louis is likeable and a good friend.’ Superluckydi adult
‘This is a humorous book which reminded me a little of The Wimpy Kid series. I would recommend this book to children aged 8 and over and parents (with a sense of humour).’ Professor Snape adult
‘I like this book because it is funny and it has a lot of twists and turns. It also has lots of characters with emotion.’ Loch Scot Aged 8
BOOKS OF THE MONTH
‘HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS’
A best-selling Louis the Laugh book. Has Louis found the way to get his parents to do exactly what HE WANTS . . .
‘My son loves these books, makes him laugh out loud.’ Five stars, Amazon reviews
‘Best book ever, this book made me now read 10 books every 2 weeks as this book is the BEST. I recommend it loads.’ Five stars, Amazon reviews
‘I have this INCREDIBLE crystal that can read minds. Sounds a bit like a SUPERPOWER, doesn’t it? But I had to keep it a secret from everyone – until one day . . .’
‘This book was incredible. One of the best ones written by Pete Johnson. It only took me one day to read it as it was sooooo fascinating. It’s worth reading, believe me.’ Good Reads
TOP BLOGGERS – AND THEIR FAMILIES – SAY ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS’ IS . . . ‘PERFECT READING WHEN SOMEONE NEEDS CHEERING UP DURING LOCKDOWN.’
‘Pete Johnson’s book couldn’t be better timed . . . Just loved the book and can’t wait to read the rest of the series.’ KAPPACINO BOOK CLUB -LATTE LINDSAY
‘Pete Johnson has a fluent and engaging style which will appeal to adults as well as younger readers . . . some of the situations are laugh out loud.’ PARENTING WITHOUT TEARS
‘This book is packed full of laugh out loud mischievous humour that kids will enjoy.’ THE SIMPLE MUM
‘With the next few months looking just as unsure as the last few, then a little escapism and laughter are just what our kids need . . . I thoroughly recommend the Louis the Laugh series to keep them laughing throughout.’ BOOKS FOR TWEENS, HOW FELICITY FINDS
‘With Louis cracking jokes throughout the book my son actually laughed our loud. A real fun book . . . Pete Johnson knows how children think and it’s wonderful to see this coming through in this book – just what we all need.’ RACHEL JESS
‘Florence and Jimmy absolutely poured over Tom Gates and now we have discovered another funny book series they have have come together over . . . the Louis the Laugh books. Florence read, ‘How to Change Your Parents into Superstars’ in one day and said it was as funny as Tom Gates. Then we saw Jimmy voluntarily reading it, and laughing while doing it . . . the style is fun and chatty as a child would talk to his mates.’ ROCK N’ ROLLER BABY
‘Emilia enjoys reading but through the lockdown she has fallen out of love with books a little. I purchased a small selection of new titles but nothing seemed to grab her. We then received ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS’ and she was hooked instantly! Emilia and I highly recommend ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS’ for young readers.’ YOU, ME, RAISING THREE, A Parenting & Lifestyle Blog
‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARSIS PERFECT READING WHEN SOMEONE NEEDS CHEERING UP DURING LOCKDOWN… A GREAT PRESENT TO GIVE FOR THE BEGINNING OF THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS.’ PARENTING WITHOUT TEARS. Click here to read the full review
‘THIS BOOK IS PACKED FULL OF LAUGH OUT LOUD MOMENTS AND MISCHIEVOUS HUMOUR THE KIDS WILL ENJOY… WE WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. IT IS PERFECT FOR YOUNG READERS WHO WILL ENJOY LAUGHING ALONG TO THE STORY.’ THE SIMPLE MUM Click here to read the full review
MORE LAUGH OUT LOUD LARKS AND FRENZIED FUN FROM ‘LOUIS THE LAUGH’ IN‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS’
‘Louis is back for his sixth, speedily-paced comic quest, with lashings of laughs, induced by Louis’s mindfulness-obsessed mum and dad in this riotously readable feast serving up an energetic child-centred perspective on family life, friendship and following your dreams (hitches and all) . . . in a time of high stress and uncertainty laugh out loud books like Johnson’s ‘How to Change your Parents into Superstars’ are just the tonic.’ Joanne Owen, Love Reading4kids
LOUIS THE LAUGH SPECIAL PETE TELLS
‘WHY LOUIS’S DREAMS CAN’T BE LOCKED DOWN.’
‘Whenever I feel a bit fed up and want to cheer myself up, I pick up a Louis the Laugh book and soon I’m laughing away … he’s my crazy friend.’
Every time you write and tell me that, I feel so happy. And Louis would be thrilled – as more than anything Louis wants to make you laugh. That’s his dream, his ambition – to be a comedian.
But in the latest Louis the Laugh book, ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS,’ it is Louis’s parents who set the nation chortling! Suddenly they are living the dream, Louis’s dream. How on earth will he deal with that?
Louis faces many obstacles on his path to reaching his dream, but he keeps on trying and never gives up. Why?
Well Louis is no super hero. He describes himself as ‘a diddy boy with an onion-shaped head and jug ears.’ He is bottom of his class in just about every subject and he won’t be taking home any sports trophies. He is a perfectly ordinary boy.
So what gives him his resilience? It is Louis’s humour and optimistic view of the world. He has that in such abundance – it amounts to a super power. And it is this which makes Louis such great company.
At times like this – with us all marooned in our homes – I hope ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS, is somewhere to escape to, as you follow Louis’s zany adventures and laugh along with your ‘crazy friend.’A friend who can be brought to life whenever you need him.
And guess what – no social distancing is required.
But does Louis’s dream finally come true in ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS.’ Well, I couldn’t possibly tell you that, could I?
But here’s what I can tell you: if my new book makes you smile and laugh and feel a bit better about life – then MY dream has already come true.
WIN A SIGNED COPY OF: ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS.’
LOUIS THE LAUGH fans, make space on your bookshelves for another FUN FILLED adventure, about the boy who has just one ambition – to make you laugh!
And: tell your friends tell your mum and dad tell your hamster LOUIS THE LAUGH IS BACK!
PUBLISHED ON JUNE 19TH . . .
Can Louis' parents get any more embarrassing? Will they ever get on board with his dreams of stardom? Why is everyone dressed in glittery and ill-fitting clothes? And why, oh why is everyone chanting 'Ommmmmm'? Follow the hilarious adventures (and misadventures!) of Louis, the aspiring schoolboy comedian, in this laugh-out-loud tale.
‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS’ The sixth and final laughter-filled Louis the Laugh adventure.
Perfect gifts for boys and girls and regularly feature among the toptitles in Amazon’s MOST GIFTED.
‘Louis is a boy who makes you laugh out loud.’ SUNDAY TIMES
PETE AT KRISHNA AVANTI
Pete says, ‘What a super visit. The pupils were so enthusiastic about books and reading. I’m delighted that a story writing competition is following my events.’
Sam Maciel, Library co-ordinator, writes, ‘I just want to say Pete, on behalf of our school how fantastic your visit was. The kids were inspired by your story of becoming a writer, your personal correspondence with Dodie Smith and the extracts from your books.
‘By the end of the day all of your books had disappeared from the library and there is a waiting list for them. Interestingly it was the boys who especially wanted yourbooks which just shows how authors visits can be hugely motivating for more reluctant readers.’
PETE’S WORLD BOOK DAY IN SHEFFIELD
Pete says: "I was really pleased when the peerless Jayne Crawshaw of The Sheffield School Library Service invited me to spend World Book Day with them and help launch their Sheffield Year of Reading.
"I had a fabulous, really uplifting day – and also signed over four hundred books! Among the highlights was a visit to Meynell Primary School - their enthusiasm for books and reading was so inspiring."
'This piece of comic genius follows on from the equally brilliant 'HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS,' 'MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL' AND MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY.'
'More substantial than most of the diaries for children and teenagers, these Louis books are simply superb and should be issued to every child on their ninth birthday as they learn how to manoeuvre the next few tricky years.'
Jo Dixon Suffolk Libraries Review:
"Great fictional diaries for children and teens"
EXCLUSIVE: ‘LOUIS THE LAUGH’ RETURNS IN 2020
Pete tells all:
‘When is the next Louis book coming out?’ That’s the question I’m asked more than any other. Also, I know some of you are getting ‘really impatient,’ because you’ve told me exactly that.
I haven’t been slacking, honestly. And like you, I have often wondered how Louis and friends are getting on now? Somewhere they were carrying on with their lives, I was certain of that. But I needed something else.
A really strong, central idea.
I thought and thought and ... but you get the idea.
Then one day I was out walking my dog, when I heard a voice in my head saying. ‘My parents are living the dream. My dream.’ It was Louis’s voice. That was all he said. (ideas rarely come fully formed) but it set my imagination racing.
And finally I was laughing away to myself as I began to see all the funny things that were about to happen to Louis and Maddy …
And now – big drum roll..
The book is now finished and the new Louis tale is called, ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS.’
I’m hoping this will be very funny, of course, but also have some big surprises for all Louis the Laugh fans too. The less good news for fans, is that this will definitely be the last Louis book. Although it is a stand alone title, it does also feel like an ending. You will see what I mean when you read it.
So ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS,’ will launch in the UK in June 2020. It has already been sold to arsEdition in Germany who are planning a big launch in 2021.
It’s so exciting and scary bringing Louis the Laugh back one more time. But I really hope readers will enjoy spending time with Louis, Maddy and Edgar again – as well as an intriguing new character, Isla.
More news – including an exclusive first peek at the new cover soon.
The Louis the Laugh books have been described as:-
‘Comedy at its peak’ ‘Very cool’ ‘Awesome books’ ‘My daughter loves this series’
(from Amazon reviews 2019)
THE LOUIS THE LAUGH BOOKS are...
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’
‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’
‘HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS’
(click the covers below for more details)
AND IN JUNE 2020 ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PARENTS INTO SUPERSTARS.’
The TOP SELLING ‘LOUIS THE LAUGH’ book in Germany is . . .
‘HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS’
In Germany it is called:‘HOW TO CHILL HIS EXTREMELY STRESSFUL PARENTS’
‘This book is a blast. My son really enjoyed reading this book. It is very modern . . . very appealing.’
‘A wonderful book which I would recommend for readers of 12 years.’
‘This is just fun to read. You see Edgar again from a very different side. I can only recommend it.’
‘Our daughter laughed a lot.’
AND IN THE UK, FAMILIES REVIEW‘HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS’
On Toppsta . . .
‘Fabulous, so funny I can’t put it down and have read it numerous times now.’ Miss Messy
‘A hilarious book … we especially liked the ending as it was so satisfying.’ Reebs
‘Very funny. I laughed loads of times, the book is written as a diary which is nice to read.’ Ewamm Aged 9
‘A wonderful book. Would definitely recommend. Found this to be fantastically funny.’ Ben S246 aged 12
‘This is a very funny book. We loved all the different characters. There is even a quiz at the end of the book to test your knowledge of the story. We would definitely like to read other books in the series.’ Amy, adult
Back on the Book Shelves: ‘Trust me I’m a Troublemaker’
If you like Louis the Laugh, you’ll really enjoy meeting Archie and Miranda.
‘My ten year old daughter and I both loved this. A very inspirational story especially for children who aren’t top of the class – great message about embracing what is special about you regardless of academic achievement. as well as being very funny. We both felt sad when it ended.’ Amazon review
AWARD WINNING SPOOKY TALES FOR HALLOWEEN
‘THE GHOST DOG’
‘An incredibly enjoyable book.’ Books for Keeps
‘This book was funny and fast moving and sometimes I felt what was happening in the book was happening around me and I also got scared sometimes and had goosebumps on my arm after I had finished reading the book. I also read the book a second time . . .’ Reshma, Goodreads
‘What if you had done something terrible to your best friend and now you were racked with guilt. Lucy not only has to struggle with her conscience but has to face The Creeper, a ghostly avenger – who spies on wrong doers.’
‘Delightful and totally absorbing tale told with plenty of wit, flair and humour… it’s genuinely creepy in places which children will relish with glee . . .’ Jonathan Weir, Amazon review
‘Pete Johnson brings us a story that is scary and spooky . . . readers will love it.’ The Bookseller
‘THE VAMPIRE BLOG’(‘HOW TO BECOME 13 AND SURVIVE’ IN GERMANY)
‘I was thrilled when I found this much talked about book. I love the story of a half-vampire.’ Marcus
‘I would definitely 100% pick this book over the Hunger Games trilogy, The Twilight Saga and the Dork Diaries.Well done Pete Johnson.’ Kindle review, Amazon
‘Johnson’s tween characters are always wry, ironic and dry, cracking jokes that their parents often miss and their readers notice with glee . . . there are some creepy scenes in the wood too with a goodly dollop of fangly terror. Perfect. The Bookbag
OUT NOW Jamie, Harry and Reema return in a brand new adventure . . . WEREWOLF BROTHER
Jamie has a cape which can make wishes come true. Harry, his mischievous younger brother, secretly wishes for a happy werewolf for their Halloween party. But the werewolf who turns up doesn’t sound at all happy. In fact, he sounds SPOOKY!
FULL OF MAGIC, MYSTERY AND FUN. THIS STORY IS ALSO ENJOYABLY SHIVERY!
A perfect Halloween read for the whole family.
Click the cover or the bats for this book's Amazon page.
Brilliant New cover for: ‘HOW TO BECOME 13 AND SURVIVE’
Pete says. ‘In Britain it is known as ‘THE VAMPIRE BLOG’ of course. And I like the stylish, spooky, Random edition, but arsEdition in Germany have captured the spirit of the book much more vividly
‘For while the story is spooky and mysterious it is also a comedy, about a boy who turns 13 and in addition to all the usual teenage problems – discovers he is also about to change into a half vampire! arsEdition have given it a brilliant new title: ‘HOW TO BECOME 13 AND SURVIVE,’ and a wonderfully zany, eye catching look.’
German readers write on Amazon about, ‘HOW TO BECOME 13 – AND SURVIVE’ . . .
‘Vividly written, very funny and exciting to the very end. Earned 5 out of 5 stars.’ Isna K
‘Our 12 year old son devoured this book. 2 days and he was done. He wanted to tell everyone about the story.’ Malu 2004
‘The best book that I have read for a long time. From the first page to the last is tension, horror and a touch of a love story, in addition to a brilliant story with cool characters.’ Kindle review
‘My 10 year old son secretly read under the blankets because it was soooooo exciting and ‘cool.’ The sequel also highly recommended.’ Amazon review
THE BOOK TRUST ASKS
WHAT TO READ AFTER ‘DIARY OF A WIMPY KID?’
Which books will provide ‘more fuel for their reading fire’? Among the top suggestions – fromNORFOLK EDUCATION AND LIBRARY SERVICE:
‘THE FUNNY BOOKSBY PETE JOHNSON’
HOORAY! But which ONE would you recommend to read first? Here are a few suggestions . . . (click a cover to find out more)
OFF TO SCHOOL WITH . . .
What happens when Jamie and Reema take a Pirate to School?
It’s WORLD BOOK DAY. Everyone is dressing up as their favourite character. But Jamie has a magic cape which grants wishes. So he wishes he could jump into a story with his favourite character: Brave Bill, the boy pirate.
But the wish goes wrong and instead Jamie magics Brave Bill out of a story and into his bedroom!
You will laugh at all the chaos Brave Bill causes . . . but something very exciting happens too . . .
‘Pirate Brother is a wonderful story for Key Stage One. It is written in the first person which allows readers to relate to the main character in the story . . . it also contains a wide range of vocabulary. It is helpful for children to start implementing new techniques in their own writing.’ Sidra, Goodreads
Read the other books in the Jamie Magic Cape Series! Click the covers below for more information . . .
THE CRUCIBLE CELEBRATIONS READING FOR PLEASURE
- AND MINDREADER MAGIC
Pupils from twelve schools packed into The Crucible in Sheffield on Friday 22nd March. They had all come to hear Pete talk about his most popular titles in Sheffield – the LOUIS books, of course, and THE GHOST DOG, TRAITOR AND THE VAMPIRE BLOG.
Pete also introduced them to his new, acclaimed MINDREADER trilogy – with magical tales of a crystal which has the power to ‘overhear’ anyone’s most secret thoughts.
This was followed by a book signing which lasted for nearly two hours!
Pete says, ‘I was thrilled to be invited back to Sheffield by the School Library Service. They are devoted to the promotion of reading and really care about books, story telling and their readers.
‘The audience at my event were so engaged and enthusiastic, listening intently to me for over an hour. While their questions were highly original and showed a keen understanding of my work which, of course, cheers the heart of any author!
‘A really huge thanks to Jayne, Claire and the School Library Service team and to Abby, from Award and all the super teachers and pupils I met!’
‘I just wanted to thank you for organising such a wonderful event. The children absolutely loved meeting Pete Johnson. It was lovely.’ Sharrow Primary School
Pete with the School Library Service team
‘These post it notes show how many kids bought a book and had it signed by the fantastic Pete Johnson. My job is made extra special when I can see the children’s happy faces and see that we are making a difference to their lives.’
Claire South Senior Schools and Young People’s Library Officer, Sheffield.
Pete with Mrs Jayne Kennedy and Mrs Betty Conboy, Literacy Co-ordinator at St. Teresa’s Primary School, Harrow.
Pete says: ‘What an inspiring visit. Many thanks to St. Teresa’s and The Harrow School Library Service.’
LATEST REVIEW OF ‘MINDREADER:THE CRYSTAL’
‘Typical of Pete Johnson’s writing, this has an exciting, fast-moving plot-line that will keep the pages turning – and Matt is a thoroughly, recognisable character, even in this extraordinary situation. Great fun.’ Andrea Reece, LoveReading4kids
Click the cover for the full review.
PETE’S TWO FUNNIEST BOOKS ABOUT TEEN LOVE
‘Faking It is a great read. It contains lots of amazing incidents and funny phrases. The writer really understands teenage boys and portrays them really well. Faking It is just pure fun and is great to read if you need cheering up.’ Amazon review Five stars
‘It’s my all-time favourite book.’ Amazon review Five stars
"Pete Johnson is a wickedly funny writer, and it's a welcome change to have first steps in the dating game described from a boy's point of view." Mail on Sunday
‘Spencer wonders what on earth is wrong with friends when they start swapping Warhammer for girlfriends. It is about relationships and feelings and growing up, while remaining very light hearted and tongue in cheek.’ Amazon review Five stars
‘I bought ‘Diary of an(Un)Teenager for my 13 year old reluctant reader godson for Christmas. He read it cover to cover in one read. The first book ever read in one go for him. He even asked me to get him the sequel, ‘Return of the (Un)teenager.’ Amazon review Five stars
The third in the much-loved Louis the Laugh books.
‘This hugely entertaining Louis the Laugh story is one of our favourites now – hilarious of course, yet full of charm and unexpectedly touching too. The parents emerge as real characters. Another real gem from Pete. Great to read out loud too.’ Five star Amazon review
‘We’d read ‘How to Train Your Parents’ and the other Louis books and weren’t sure what to read next – when my friend recommended this one.
‘A little sadder than the Louis books – but just as funny especially when they try and improve their dad! The whole family loved this poignant comedy. A real discovery.’ Five Star Amazon review
MINDREADING MAGIC COMES TO THE CRUCIBLE THEATRE
The Sheffield School Library Service, in collaboration with Pete’s publisher, organised a celebration of reading for pleasure on March 22nd, highlighting the MINDREADER books, which have been especially recommended for reluctant readers.
The venue for this dynamic event with Pete was the world famous Crucible Theatre.
Pete says, ‘I was so excited to be invited back to Sheffield by the brilliant School Library Service. And how super to be at The Crucible Theatre again.’
WHAT’S HOT? JUST OUT: THE MINDREADER TRILOGY
‘I HAVE A STRANGE, EERIE, SUPER POWER . . .’
Meet MATT – just an ordinary school boy, until he is left a crystal which enables him to read minds. Suddenly Matt knows what everyone is thinking!
The MINDREADER trilogy are comedy adventures with a good helping of fantasy, especially recommended for fans of all the Louis the Laugh books.
Matt’s crystal means he can read minds. At first he just fools about with his new super power – but then he has to save a life. Is Matt up to the challenge?
‘Pete Johnson’s books are fast paced and energetic.’ The Bookseller
Matt has a secret. He is an ordinary boy with a super power. He can read minds. But this time Matt’s powers are put to a real test. He will need to be extremely brave … but he knows he isn’t the least bit brave.
So can Matt ever be a true, super hero? ‘Pete Johnson grabs you from the first page.’
GHOSTLY WHISPER With the help of his crystal Matt can read minds. But one day he over-hears something extremely puzzling. Suddenly he and his friends are plunged into a big mystery. Then Matt receives a terrifying message. ‘YOU ARE IN GREAT DANGER...’
Dare you read on?
Another action-filled comedy adventure.
‘Pete Johnson’s books leave readers ravenous for more.’ Achuka
READ ‘MINDREADER:THE CRYSTAL’
FOR ONLY 99p
To celebrate the Kindle launch, all three MINDREADER books are at a special price.
Click the covers to find out more!
These funny, exciting tales are full of magic and characters who will become your friends . . .
‘Bags of boy and girl appeal in this story – and the idea of a magic cloak (cape) and a never ending chocolate bar will make it quite irresistible to young readers.’ FUN KIDS
‘Along with being a great read for children 7-11 it is a popular choice for literacy lessons/activities. This is a very humorous novel that keeps the reader entertained from beginning to end.’ Amy, Goodreads
‘Another hilarious adventure, just right for those who are enjoying reading their first books on their own – but fun to read aloud too.’ Parents in Touch
‘A wonderful story for KSI readers.’ Sidra, Goodreads
PETE JOHNSON’S BOOKS ARE FILLED WITH LAUGHTER
In September Pete spoke at The Youth Libraries Group Conference in Manchester on the subject of Funny Fiction and especially his five phenomenally popular LOUIS THE LAUGH books.
‘Pete has a great ear for comedy, using humour that really helps to engage even less keen or confident readers.’ Jake Hope, Chair of Youth Libraries Group
‘Pete Johnson is the unsung hero of entertaining writing that delights both the proficient and reluctant reader …. has you lauging in loud snorts just as you’re fighting tears of empathy.’ Ink Pellet
So to celebrate we highlight Pete’s . . .
TOP TEN FUNNIEST TITLES . . .
. . . THE LOUIS THE LAUGH BOOKS
Louis has just one ambition – to be a comedian. His parents have other ideas! These fun-filled stories also have something to say about life today, as Louis and his parents disagree about everything, from homework to how much time he should spend on on his computer!
‘Louis is a boy who makes you laugh out loud.’ Sunday Times
‘Those Louis the Laugh books have got my eleven year old reading. She actually seems to be enjoying them.’Amazon review
‘How to Train Your Parents’
Pete Johnson addresses big issues in a frank manner and with a light touch.’ Junior Education
‘My Parents Are Out Of Control’
‘Very funny. As a parent made me sympathetic with my children and what they have to put up with.’ Good Reads
‘My Parents Are Driving me Crazy’ ‘Appeals to teens and tween-aged readers of both sexes and all reading ages.’ Good Reads
‘How to Update Your Parents’ ‘A rip-roaring hilarious adventure.’ Book Trust
‘How to Fool Your Parents’ ‘Packed with jokes and funny observations on contemporary teen life. This is super-readable.’ LoveReading4Kids
. . . SPENCER THE (UN) TEENAGER
Next to Louis the Laugh, Pete’s most popular character is Spencer, who likes his life exactly as it is. And when he turns thirteen he decides to take a stand and promises he will never turn into a teenager.
No, he will stay an ‘Unteenager’ forever!
‘I think it will be hard to find a reader who couldn’t relate to even a tiny bit of Spencer’s story. So it’s a book for everyone who is going or gone through the teenage years.’ Nayu’s Reading Corner
‘Diary of an (Un)Teenager’ ’I was so chuffed that my twelve year old couldn’t put this down … this household loves Pete Johnson.’ Amazon Review
‘Return of the (Un)Teenager’ ‘Definitely another winner from Pete Johnson.’ Bookworm
. . . AWARD WINNERS
‘Trust me I’m a Troublemaker’ ‘A lovely, funny book which explores the ideas of misfits and labelling people in a wonderfully funny way.’ School Librarian
‘Help I’m a Classroom Gambler’ ‘Really funny, clever, exciting and completely draws the reader in.’ Supernanny
‘The Vampire Blog’ ‘It’s the dialogue that really sparkles – Perfect.’ The Book Bag
‘There’s something about this book that I really loved.’ Good Reads
Top Danish Publisher, Flachs, has bought the translation rights to ‘MINDREADER:THE CRYSTAL.’ They thought it had ‘a great idea – a crystal that can read minds’ – and also found it ‘very funny.’
‘It’s exciting,’ says Pete, ‘that the MindReader books have already found a home in Denmark – and with such a great publisher too.’
The three MindReader books have just been published in the United Kingdon.
FOLLOW THE FUNNY . . .
‘I had a fantastic time at the YLG (Youth Libraries Group) Conference,’ says Pete. ‘I was discussing humorous children’s books with top funny writers David Solomon and Dave Skelton, at an excellent event, expertly chaired by Anthony McGowan. Brilliant to meet so many dynamic librarians afterwards. They really are the best ambassadors for children’s books. Congratulations to Jake Hope and the YLG Team.’
‘Pete Johnson’s ability to see into the minds of young people is reflected strongly . . . there’s plenty of humour in ‘How to Train your Parents,’ alongside strong emotional truth. It should be compulsory reading for parents as well as children.’
This nationwide celebration of books and bookshops returns on October 6th. ‘It has got me thinking,’ writes Pete, ‘about some of my favourite bookshops.
MY FAVOURITE LOCAL BOOKSHOP:
Waterstones, St Albans.
This beautifully laid out bookshop - on two floors, complete with coffee shop - is a perfect place to browse and look for books. It has a ‘laid back’ yet buzzy vibe with several reading areas.
A BOOKSHOP I WOULD RECOMMEND: Chorleywood Bookshop
I have worked several times with this bookshop – and they are justly celebrated for brilliantly organised author events. But this bookshop – and the companion one at Gerrards Cross - has some of the most informed staff you could hope to meet, yet wear their knowledge lightly and are also friendly. You really are among friends here.
A SPECIAL BOOKSHOP FOR ME:
Foyles, Great Russell Street This dazzling bookshop was the one I first visited as a child, with my parents. Here was where I came to pick my birthday or Christmas books - as well as over the summer holidays. No wonder it had a wonderful enchanted feel about it. There were books here I could not find anywhere else. Visiting it is still a real treat and I always leave with a bag of books and a deep sigh of contentment.
THE SUMMER READING CHALLENGE 2018 MISCHIEF MAKERS
To celebrate here are SIX SENSATIONAL MISCHIEF MAKERS FROM PETE’S BOOKS
LOUIS THE LAUGH Pete’s best-loved and most mischievous character first appeared in ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS.’(‘How to Train your Parents, has always helped me when I become depressed.’ Letter from a fan in Nottingham)
Here is Louis’s very first appearance in print …
‘I think I’ve arrived somewhere weird. Started at my new school today I was met by this moth-eaten old geezer who said he was the headmaster. He’s about a hundred and eight, has one huge eyebrow and spits a lot. Had to wipe my face down after he’d gone. I was soaked through.
He told me a few times how lucky I was to come to his school as he kept getting my name wrong. It’s Louis, pronounced Lou-ee not as he said it, Lewis. But I didn’t say anything. I was a bit scared of that that eyebrow!’
MADDY in HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS. Louis’s friend and agent may seem quiet but when her parents plan to move away Maddy and Louis are totally horrified. And Maddy decides to stop the house selling …
‘Normally they’d have brought the sales agent in here,’ Maddy hissed. ‘But today they didn’t dare.’ The room looked perfectly normal until a huge gust of whiffiness blasted right through the room. ’Eeer,’ I began.
Maddy giggled, ‘What do you think it is?’
‘Well, I said, ‘it reminds me of when I was on this train and I thought the man in the seat behind me was doing the smelliest farts ever. It was truly disgusting. But it turned out he was stuffing his face with Scotch eggs. But actually I’d say that stink is even worse.’
Maddy’s face was one big smile now. ‘And it’s all thanks to me. I’ve hidden a dead fish down the back of the sofa ...’
DANIEL in ‘THE GHOST DOG’
Daniel only wanted to scare big-headed, annoying Aaron. But somehow the bloodthirsty monster Daniel conjured up with his imagination escapes and becomes REAL …
The first time I only saw its face.
Out of the darkness it came floating towards me.
It had evil, red eyes. Blood poured out of its mouth.
It was the ugliest, most horrible thing I had ever seen.
And I’d brought it to life.
I thought it was only mad scientists in stories who could create monsters. Not ten year old boys like me, Daniel Grant. I’m still not sure. I certainly never meant it to appear at my spooky party.
JAMIE in Jamie’s Magic Cape adventures beginning with BUG BROTHER.
Have you got an annoying brother or sister? Jamie certainly has. But he didn’t mean to turn his brother into a blue bottle. As he had no idea his cape was magic. But it was and then ...
‘I rushed back to my bedroom. And the bluebottle came too. I gaped at it, horrified yet excited too. I’d wished for my brother to be a bluebottle and somehow the wish had come true. It must be the cape. It really was magic. This was totally incredible. I couldn’t wait to tell Reema. The smile on my face just grew and grew. I was very happy But the bluebottle wasn’t. He was buzzing furiously round and round my head. Only my brother could make that much noise...’
What would you do if you were mistaken for a very famous – but mysterious – star. Ben can’t help enjoying it at first, especially when he finds a group of fans outside his house one night . . .
‘You’re on a mouse mat as well, aren’t you?’ said one girl.
‘Yes I am,’ I said with a proud grin.
‘I’d love to have my face on a mouse mat said Rosie. It would be such an honour.’
‘And you painted a picture for charity, didn’t you?’ said another girl.
‘Er two pictures actually,’ I said. I knew more about Ben Moore than his own mum by now.
It was sort of fun signing the autographs and listening to them tell me how great I was. But after a while I sent them home.
‘Please don’t tell anyone else I said, ‘I just want to forget my days as a top star now.’
Back inside Mum said. ‘It was like your fan club out there.’
‘Yeah, I do seam to have become a bit popular, don’t I?’
LARA in ‘SIX HOURS’
Lara is the school’s biggest rebel and Dominic has hardly ever spoken to her – until one incredible day . . .
Lara jumped to her feet. ‘See you.’
Dominic looked at her in surprise. ‘Where are you going?’
‘Escaping,’ she said.
‘You;’re walking out of school?’Dominic was shocked.
‘Of course.’ Lara looked at him like he was a bit soft in the head. ‘Come too if you like.’
Dominic was so shocked he couldn’t speak at first … ‘But what will we do?’
‘Just chill,’ Lara said.
‘This is like a dream,’Dominic thought. ‘The hottest girl in his class – in the universe – was offering to chill with him. Nerd Boy.’
PETE'S COMEDY WORKSHOP Pete answers your questions about writing funny stories – and gives you some tips too.
How hard is it writing something which you hope is funny?
First of all I never, ever sit down and think. ‘Right, I’ve got to be hilarious now.’ That would just terrify me. Also, I don’t think of comedy as a genre, in the way horror or detective stories are. It’s more a style, a way of looking at life. So first of all you have to think about plot and your characters. That always comes first.
Can you give an example of what you mean?
Yes. One day I visited a neighbour’s house. There, up on a wall she had a plan for each of the three children’s leisure time. ‘I don’t want them to waste a second,’ she told me. I thought and thought about that for ages. Then I began to imagine who would absolutely hate having their life totally organised by their parents. I pictured a boy who was bottom of the class in everything. A boy who had only one ambition – to become a comedian. As I imagined his reactions – and what he would do – I began to smile. That character, of course, became Louis the Laugh and the book ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS.’
Do you worry about your stories being funny?
Oh yes, I’m constantly worried about that. And when I show early drafts to friends, I’m always listening outside the door, hoping I can hear them chuckling! But the comedy has to flow out of situations and characters. It can’t just be added on. That always feels phoney.
Do you hear your comic characters in your head?
Great question and yes I do. I believe the voice of your characters is especially important in funny stories.
Why is that?
Well, you know how some people you meet are just naturally funny. It doesn’t feel forced either. I aim for something exactly like that in my books. So humour just seems to be bubbling out of a character. The person may not even believe they are funny. Look at Adrian Mole or Archie in ‘Trust Me I’m A Troublemaker.’
What’s the best part of writing a comedy?
Normally when I’m writing a story it’s rather like trying to talk on the phone on a train, where you keep losing the signal. So I might write a couple of lines, and then stop and think for a bit … and then maybe write another line. But occasionally the character just takes over and talks away for pages and pages. I don’t feel as if I’m doing much at all, except scribbling down everything which my character tells me. It’s magical, exciting, mysterious. Those days are very rare though.
Do you have days when you don’t feel at all funny?
Most days. A couple of tips – sometimes a warm-up can help. So don’t start writing right away, maybe copy down a paragraph from your favourite funny book. I often do this and it always relaxes me and often frees up my imagination – and humour. The famous writer, Ernest Hemingway also had a suggestion. Before you finish one day – write down the first line you will need to get you started tomorrow. So next day there it is waiting for you. And you’ve begun without any worry at all.
Do you have favourite funny books which inspire you?
There are so many, I collected all Richmal Crompton’s ‘Just William’ books and Anthony Buckeridge’s ‘Jennings’ stories too. I loved Roald Dahl of course, but also Edward Eager, who wrote highly ingenious, witty fantasies such as, ‘Half Magic’ and ‘Seven Day Magic.’ Later I became a huge fan of Sue Townsend’s peerless Adrian Mole books. I also really like books like ‘Holiday at the Dew Drop Inn’ by Eve Garnett which is not exactly a comedy and yet she seizes the humour in every one of her characters and situations.I admire too, a book I read recently, ‘Love Simon.’ by Becky Albertalli. This manages to be both heartbreaking and hilarious... I could go on and on.
Have you got any tips for young, aspiring comic authors?
Yes, don’t be put off by your first drafts. The book in your head can seem brilliant, then when you put it down on paper it appears so flat and dull and disappointing. That happens to me all the time. My first drafts are almost always very, very bad. You have to push past that and keep going. Don’t be afraid to cut too. It’s vital for all stories but especially funny ones. Flabby, over-written scenes can ruin your comic rhythm.
And finally, you have to write from your heart. Find characters and themes you really care about. The humour will follow.
P.S. Writing is really just imagining and pretending. So never be afraid of it. Or think you can’t do it. Just relax and have fun.
With special thanks to:
Little Green Junior School
Chater Junior School
Marlborough Secondary School
And my niece Zoe, for asking me so many interesting questions.
It was a pleasure to answer them.
Brilliant new editions of Pete’s pacy, laugh out loud stories from the best selling JAMIE’S MAGIC CAPE series. Pete says, ‘I am thrilled with these bold, dynamic new editions of some of my best loved stories.’
AVAILABLE FROM MAY 2018
‘Bags of boy and girl appeal in this story – and the idea of a magic cloak (cape) and a never ending chocolate bar will make it quite irresistible to young readers.’ FUN KIDS
‘Along with being a great read for children 7-11 it is a popular choice for literacy lessons/activities. This is a very humorous novel that keeps the reader entertained from beginning to end.’ Amy, Goodreads
AVAILABLE FROM AUGUST 2018
‘Another hilarious adventure, just right for those who are enjoying reading their first books on their own – but fun to read aloud too.’ Parents in Touch
‘A wonderful story for KSI readers.’ Sidra, Goodreads
LOUIS THE LAUGH celebrates his 16th year in print
With 16 of his favourite jokes (placed next to the books they appear in)
What goes? tick, tick, woof, woof?
A dog marking homework.
First candle: ‘What shall we do tonight then?’ Second candle: ‘I was thinking of going out.’
What did the wig say when it was blowing across the street?
‘I’m off my head.’
Why was the broom late?
What did his parents say to the boy ghost?
Spook when you’re spoken to.
Why did the scout feel dizzy?
Because he did so many good turns.
A man is driving along with three penguins in the back of their car. Then a policeman stops him and says. ‘ You should take them to the Zoo.’
He says he will. But the next day the policeman stops the car again and there are the three penguins again, only this time one of them is wearing sunglasses. ‘I thought I told you to take those penguins to the Zoo,’ said the policeman.
‘So I did,’ said the man and now I’m taking them to the seaside.’
What does a monster eat after he’s had his teeth out?
What is the fastest part of a car?
What’s an IG?
A snow house without a loo.
What do you call a Gangsta Snowman?
Frost – T.
Which King had a noisy bottom?
Richard The Lionfart.
What type of boats do vampires use?
Why did the boy throw the clock out of the window?
He wanted to see time fly.
AND ‘TWO’ EXTRA JOKES ESPECIALLY FOR YOU.
Which game do monsters love best?
HIDE AND SHRIEK
What do you call a monster who never blows his nose?
THE BOGEY MAN!
‘Pete is a great speaker and had the staff in hysterics as well as the children. He was inspirational and knew just how to pitch his talk. We appreciated how he took time to speak to each child as he signed their books. We also like how he told the children about the books that changed his life.’ Clare Tandara, Little Green Junior School, Herts.
‘We had a terrific afternoon with Pete Johnson. Not only were the children enthralled and captivated by him, but our Head and teachers thought Pete was brilliant. He pitched his talk at just the right level to engage the children and make it fun too. Reading is our focus this year and this will have really helped to encourage our pupils more.’
Sheena Gamage, School Business Manager, Chater Junior School, Watford. March 2018
BOOK CLUB SPECIAL THE TOP FIVE FAVOURITE PETE JOHNSON BOOKS ARE . . .
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS Comedy, International Best Seller.
Discussion topics: Helicopter parents. Pushy parents. When your parents don’t understand your ambitions and dreams. Pressure at school.
‘While the humour is beguiling and sharp, under Louis’s jokey asides is an unfolding situation which is anything but funny. His parents are steadily being sucked into the competitive atmosphere around them … However, what I really enjoyed was Johnson’s refusal to turn Louis’s parents into villains … without being remotely preachy Johnson manages to impart some useful messages for pushy parents. And their children.’ S. J. Highee, Good Reads
‘Fabulous reading - my son really enjoyed it.’ Latest Amazon review
MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL Comedy, International Best Seller, shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.
Discussion topics: Parents trying to be young again. Generation gap.
‘The strength in Johnson’s writing is that he addresses a lot of the major concerns most 12 year olds are experiencing – so this isn’t a children’s story where adults are somehow airbrushed out of the picture. I thoroughly enjoyed this light hearted look at what is actually a fairly gnarly subject. Very highly recommended.’ S. J. Highee, Good Reads
‘It was very funny with the dad trying to be cool but it was mixed with excitement to see what happens next … super good.’ Latest Amazon review
‘This accessible story offers food for thought – not easy answers.’ The Bookseller
‘I am a SEN literary teacher in a secondary school and ordered this as a class reader for years 7 & 8. All of the pupils thoroughly enjoyed it. It has also raised interesting discussions about growing up, friendship, peer-pressure and issues surrounding bullying. I would highly recommend it.’ Amazon review
AWESOME Comedy with strong appeal for reluctant readers
Discussion topics: Light-hearted and accessible but with deeper themes of honestly, personal responsibility and self confidence.
‘My son has dyslexia and this book was a great, quick read to reignite his interest in reading. Thanks Pete Johnson.’ Amazon Review
‘This book was the right length and there was never a point where I was bored. The images and the very easy writing techniques used in this book are sensational.’ Jax Holt, Good Reads
‘An entertaining story about identity and confidence.’ Lovereading4Kids
Rescuing Dad Pete's first family comedy
Discussion Topics: When your mum or dad separate. Communication problems between parents and children.
‘A funny, positive and engaging exploration of a modern dilemma from a sure-footed storyteller.’ Carousel
‘Children are often the victims when a marriage falters or fails and in ‘Rescuing Dad’ Johnson illuminate this distressing reality with perceptive humour which is a trademark of his work.’ Books for Keeps
‘Pete Johnson has succeeded in presenting a sensitive subject in a light-hearted way without detracting from its seriousness.’ Children’s Books in Ireland
HOT PICKS AWARD WINNING HORROR
‘THE GHOST DOG’ AND ‘THE CREEPER’ CELEBRATED IN STOCKTON
‘THE GHOST DOG’ was the first ever book to win THE STOCKTON CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD.
Now, twenty years later PETE returned to STOCKTON on Saturday 24th March to CELEBRATE TWENTY YEARS OF THIS TOP AWARD and talk about ‘THE GHOST DOG’ and ‘THE CREEPER’ – which also won THE STOCKTON CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD.
PETE IS THE ONLY AUTHOR TO HAVE WON THIS AWARD TWICE.
Pete says, ‘Winning the Stockton Children’s Book Of The Year Award meant so much to me. And I was honoured to be invited back for this special day of events.’
‘HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS’ LAUNCHES IN GERMANY
Last year ‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’ made so many pupils laugh, in Germany, that leading German publisherarsEditionannounced it was one of their best sellers.
So hopes are high for the launch of the latest Louis The Laugh book, ‘HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS’ in Germany. Pete says, ‘The new German cover is brilliant. And I am thrilled that all five Louis the Laugh books are now available in Germany in these highly collectable, hard-back editions from arsEdition.’
Pete's review of 'BOOKWORM' by Lucy Mangan
My voice rose, my face reddened, I had rarely felt so angry. 'We think you are being extremely unfair to all children - and Enid Blyton,' I announced, then I turned to my equally furious mate, David, who nodded in solidarity.
We were both nine years old and normally very quiet and shy. But today we were outraged that Enid Blyton - the author whose books reigned over our lives - had been banned (for reasons we never fathomed) from the publc library.
The senior librarian, to whom we were protesting, was unmoved - even when we threatened the ultimate sanction - if Blyton continued to be absent from this library then we would absent ourselves too. So we switched to a far less convenient but Blyton friendly library three miles away.
In childhood we give to our favourite books and authors something extremely special - unconditional enthusiasm.
Lucy Mangam would understand how I felt. In 'BOOKWORM,' she reveals how she still has her childhood books (so have I). She writes, 'I may no longer imagine them as I did thirty years ago, whispering companionably together at night when I had gone to bed, but I love them still. They made me who I am.'
So many of my favourites are revisited - Blyton, Dahl, Narnia, Tom's Midnight Garden, 101 Dalmatians, 'Just William ...' I was especially cheered to see Eve Garnett's 'One End Street' books given a lap of honour. Especially as Lucy Mangan agrees with me (always a sign of a superior mind) that while the first 'One End Street' is a key classic, the sequel is even better and the sequel to the sequel, 'Holiday at the Dewdrop Inn,' 'is even better than the sequel.'
And when even our tastes clash - 'Sweet Valley High,' and all pony books remain forever unexplored by me - she writes with such warmth, understanding and crackling wit that I enjoyed discovering what she gained from them. 'Bookworm' is so good I even forgive her some terrible omnissions - a whole section on school stories for instance, without even a reference to Jennings. Shocking.
Book lovers everywhere will savour this rare chance to return to those glory days when reading was the thing, and life was only a minor incovenience.'
Yes, those were the days.
PETE’S SUPER WORLD BOOK DAY EVENT
AT LITTLE GREEN SCHOOL,CROXLEY GREEN
Pete says, ‘What a marvellous event. It was a real pleasure meeting the staff and pupils of Little Green School. Not even the dire weather could dampen our spirits.’
‘Louis the Laugh’ celebrated his 16th year in print in February
MY FRIEND LOUIS THE LAUGH Pete’s blog
The strangest thing about Louis is, originally he wasn’t supposed to be in ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ at all – or ‘The Trouble with Parents,’ as I called it first.
Louis and I met after I’d written the opening thirty pages of ‘The Trouble with Parents.’ I read those pages with such a sinking heart. I was certain there was a good idea here – children suffering from what they called ‘parent fatigue,’ but none of the characters jumped off the page. They were shadowy and vague and I just couldn’t make them talk.
I thought and thought about how I could bring them alive. But I found myself at a dead end until in my head I spotted a newcomer. He just appeared out of nowhere. A boy with jug ears grinning away at me with such a wide smile it took over his whole face.
Yes, that was Louis.
I liked him instantly and I knew him instantly. He was the class clown, never wanting to be serious about anything – and yet unexpectedly very determined about one thing – making his dream of being a comedian come true.
Soon I was listening to Louis bantering away with his parents. He was so funny and you know what? I didn’t seem to be doing anything, I was only eavesdropping.
Next day I ‘overheard’ Louis talking to someone else – Maddy. The twelve year old who becomes his agent and also teaches him the four secrets of parent training. They were magic together. A brilliant team.
I knew now what I had to do next.
I ripped up every one of those first thirty pages and all those shadowy characters melted away forever. While Louis – and Maddy took over the book, now called, ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS.’
It became my first ever-international best-seller. I went on to write other award-winning comedies. But ‘How to Train your Parents’ outsold them all – and pupils, teachers and librarians kept asking me when was Louis coming back?
‘I don’t do series,’ I replied. And I didn’t, then. For an incredible ten years I resisted all calls to bring Louis back. I wasn’t just being stubborn. I was scared. Everyone loved, ‘Howto Train Your Parents’ so much that whatever I wrote next about Louis would never match it – and could only disappoint.
But finally Louis the Laugh and I reunited. Once again we hit it off instantly and ‘My Parents Are Out of Control,’ became another best-seller. Three more books narrated by Louis have followed.
We are truly old friends now which is just as well as he accompanies me into every school, library and bookshop I visit. Who is Louis really? Can I meet him? Is he like you at all? Did you ever have a friend like Louis? The questions rain down about him. People seem far more curious about him than me! I was even asked once if Louis was on Instagram. He really has taken on a life of his own.
And occasionally, I remember that very first meeting with Louis and the way he just popped into in my head. Where on earth had he come from? And did I find him or did he find me? Honestly, I don’t know.
But huge thanks for sixteen fabulous years in print.
You really have changed my life.
Smile on Louis.
COMING SOON: LOUIS THE LAUGH’S FAVOURITE JOKES AND . . .
THE GREAT LOUIS THE LAUGH QUIZ!
Pete is a popular visitor to schools and libraries
He gives lively, interactive talks and is happy with large groups.
Pete is best known for being a gripping story-teller.
‘We were laughing almost right away, Louis is such a fun character and the end is just perfect.’ Book Loving Mum. Amazon review
‘I very much enjoyed reading HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS. As ever, the friendships and cheery optimism (even in times of adversity) feel very refreshing and there are a great number of situations which are likely to resonate with young readers . . . The humour here is far more lasting and higher on impact than so much of the derivative toilet humour . . .’ Jake Hope – Leading Children’s and teen reviewer
SELBY PARK ACADEMY HOST THEIR FIRST EVER AUTHOR EVENT
– WITH PETE
Pete’s visit ‘was a very prestigious event for us,’ says Selby Park Academy, while Pete says: ‘The visit was fantastic. The pupils were brilliant and asked some really inspired questions. I certainly look forward to returning to Selby Park Academy.’
The Stockton Children’s Book of the Year Award is a popular prize and a high profile literacy event for children.
Twenty years ago the first book ever to win this coveted award was ‘THE GHOST DOG.’ Pete says, ‘I have vivid memories of the first Stockton Children’s Book of the Year Award. It was a super, dynamic day, spent with some highly enthusiastic pupils – and then chatting with the other short-listed authors at the ceremony, including Anne Fine. Finally came the exciting news that ‘THE GHOST DOG’ had won. My first ever prize too…’
Now twenty years later Pete will be returning to Stockton on Saturday on Saturday 24th March 2018 for a special day to celebrate all the fantastic winners – and the thousands of children who have been involved with this award.
Pete is not only the first author to win, but also the only person to win twice. The second time, with another horror tale, ‘THE CREEPER.’
‘THE GHOST DOG’ says Pete, ‘is now one of my best-loved books. I know many schools use it as a trigger for creative writing, especially around Halloween. But its success really began at the Stockton Children’s Book of the Year Award. So it will be exciting and wonderfully nostalgic returning for the Special Celebrations next March.’
PETE’S LATEST BLOG
DEFENDING WINNIE THE POOH
AGAINST PHILIP PULLMAN
I like to think I’m a fairly tolerant person (lazy might be a better word) but just occasionally something happens which impels me to speak up. Don’t worry, I’m not burbling on about Brexit. I want to talk about something much more important – Winnie the Pooh.
Out of a clear blue sky comes a stinging attack on ‘the bear of very little brain,’ by the distinguished writer Philip Pullman. Apparently the Pooh stories, ‘peddle sickly nostalgia for childhood.’ Pooh is not alone in this grievous wrong-doing. E. Nesbit’s ‘The Railway Children,’ and Kenneth Graham’s ‘The Wind in the Willows,’ also features on the charge sheet. (‘That Squad,’ he calls them)
Let me freely admit I loved Winnie the Pooh stories from the first time they were read to me, right through to well, now. But I must also admit I may not be made of the same stern stuff as Philip Pullman. He is clearly a man of steel where children’s books are concerned, tough and unforgiving about any which ‘fail to portray adolescence as a preparation for adulthood.’
Here I must admit a personal failing – all these years I have been so busy laughing and generally enjoying myself as Pooh and friends try to trap a Heffalump, look for the North Pole and play Poohsticks. I haven’t once considered whether these books were also filling me with a moral purpose.
Hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear one of the characters from the Pooh stories mentioned. So very recently I heard Philip Hammond compared to Eeyore, surely one of the great comic characters (Eeyore, I mean, not Philip Hammond … I don’t know though) And a friend only yesterday described her boss as exactly like Tigger. She didn’t need to say another word. Straightaway I could picture her boss bouncing around full of supreme self-confidence (‘Tiggers can do everything.’)
To have created characters which have lived so vividly for ninety years they have become archetypes – isn’t that an achievement? But it doesn’t help us with this demand of Philip Pullman – that children’s books must move the reader on from childhood. Except – there is that poignant last chapter of ‘The House at Pooh Corner.
Remember when we find out (or Owl does) that Christopher Robin is leaving the Forest in the morning to BE EDUCATED into ‘how you make a suction pump and what comes from Brazil.’ And Christopher Robin tells Pooh that although what he likes doing best in the world is Nothing, from now on he is not going to be doing Nothing anymore, Isn’t this a sign that he was leaving childhood behind and Pooh was moving into the shadows? What a relief! I’ve found a way to justify reading Winnie the Pooh even in these austere times. Of course the book does end with the words, ‘It wasn’t really Goodbye because the Forest will always be there … and everybody who is Friendly with Bears can find it.’ So we’ve moved on from childhood and yet a part of us is forever captured by those days. ‘But children want to grow up,’ barks Philip Pullman. And he’s right – sometimes they do. And wrong – sometimes they don’t. Well that’s my experience. Certainly I was very torn (still am) But Mr Pullman would probably say I’ve spent too much time in the Hundred Acre Wood.
Anyway, I believe that the Winnie the Pooh stories – created in affectionate partnership and presented with immense skill and sympathy by E. H. Shepherd – retain a secure place in children’s literature.
Did I mention they are still very, very funny?
I did. Well then I think I’ve said everything.
GEEKS RULE FIVE FAVOURITE GEEKS FROM PETE’S BOOKS
SPENCER He promises he will never turn into a teenager in the much loved: ‘DIARY OF AN (UN)TEENAGER’ AND ‘RETURN OF AN (UN)TEENAGER’
Spencer quote:‘If ever I have a girlfriend I’ll meet her in town for just one hour a week. Maybe on her birthday I might take her to McDonald’s as well.
But that’s really all the time I’m going to spend with her. And I’ll never ever let he come to my house. In fact, I won’t even tell her where I live. You’ve got to keep some privacy, haven’t you?’
EDGAR He’s an ‘intellectual’ who wants to be a poet,
in the international best sellers ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL ‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’ ‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’
Edgar quote:‘We are extremely sorry to inconvenience you but we are protesting about a miscarriage of justice … My poem will explain everything. I shall now read it aloud. It’s only nine verses.’
TALLULAH The girl who loves horror stories in, ‘The Vampire Quartet, beginning with the award-winning, ‘THE VAMPIRE BLOG.’
Tallulah quote: ‘Do you think vampires only exist in stories? If you do, leave this page now and don’t bother coming back either. We have nothing in common and you’re just wasting my time. But if you believe vampires might be real, then read on, as I have great news for you.’
WILL The boy who girls really like but only as a friend – in the top teen title. ‘FAKING IT’
Will quote: ‘Ruth is the first girl I ever kissed. She was a Munchken at the time. So was I. Even then I realised this was a significant moment in my life. That’s why I removed the brace from my teeth first.
Afterwards she said I was just so nice.
No boy likes to be called ‘nice,’ as that usually means you’re wetter than a haddock’s underpants.’
ARCHIE ‘The most annoying geek on the face of this planet,’ (according to Miranda) in the award-winning:
‘TRUST ME I’M A TROUBLEMAKER.’
Archie quote: ‘The funny thing is, I’ve never tried to act grown up. It’s just as soon as I wake up I can feel all this maturity bubbling up inside me. It’s a kind of gift, I suppose. I’ve been given a few extra helpings of wisdom.’
THE FIVE FUNNIEST ‘LOUIS THE LAUGH’ MOMENTSchosen by YOU
THEY ARE – IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
THE TRULY DISGUSTING SCENE WHEN A PIECE OF CAKE FLIES OUT OF THE HEADMASTER’S MOUTH AND STRAIGHT ON TO LOUIS’S TONGUE. Favourite quote: ‘I did think of somehow spitting it out – but in the end I swallowed it …’
From: ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS,’ (page 48)
WHEN MADDY DRESSES UP AS LOUIS’S MUM, Favourite quote: ‘It was Maddy’s huge, curly red wig which really caught my attention. She looked as if she had a ginger tomcat perched on her head.’ From: ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS,’ (PAGES 165-176)
WHEN LOUIS’S DAD TURNS UP OUTSIDE HIS SCHOOLDRESSED UP AS A GANGSTER RAPPER. Favourite quote: A voice shouted out of the darkness: ‘Yo everyone hope you had a wicked time. I’m looking for my blood. Is he here?’ From: ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL,’ (P.65-69)
WHEN LOUIS GOES ON HIS FIRST EVER DATE WITH MADDY AND COMPARES HER TO ‘THE ELEPHANT WOMAN.’ Favourite quote: ‘Desperate now to talk about something – anything – I said. ‘And your dress is great, sensational. I mean, I can’t tell you how much I like it. I really, really like it. Not that I want to borrow it or anything,’ I laughed wildly.’ From: ‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY.’ (P.50-61)
WHEN LOUIS THROWS UP OVER TV HOST, MICKEY BOYD. Favourite quote: ‘My mouth was suddenly ablaze with vomit which exploded out of my mouth so fast, that within seconds I’d totally covered Mickey Boyd in chopped carrots.’ From: ‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY.’ (P.171-176)
With huge thanks for all your votes.
LOUIS THE LAUGH GOES GLOBAL . . .
Above: some of the many faces of How To Train Your Parents.
Right: Pete with the book in Persian
Below: the French version.
Below right: the book in Spanish.
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ NOW TRANSLATED INTO THIRTY LANGUAGES
Last week Pete signed the Slovakian contract for ‘Howto Train Your Parents.’ Exciting in itself but it also reflects a significant milestone, as this book will soon be translated into an amazing thirty languages.
‘I have written many books,’ says Pete, ‘but HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS has a special appeal, as Louis the Laugh is, without doubt, my best-loved character.’
Pete has written three more best selling books about Louis. Most recently the acclaimed and much talked about ‘’HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS.’ A new Louis book ‘HOW TO FOOL YOUR PARENTS’ will be published later this year.
‘Pete Johnson’s ability to see into the minds of young people is reflected strongly in ‘How To Train Your Parents.’ There’s plenty of humour in this book alongside strong, emotional truth. It should be compulsory reading for parents as well as children.’ The BOOKSELLER
‘Written with humour and plenty of attitude, this witty book firmly puts the power in the hands of the children.’ JUNIOR
‘Pete Johnson has an amazing ability to portray resolutely individual characters – extremely funny and emotionally true.’ Chris Stephenson ULTIMATE BOOK GUIDE
‘. . . Fast, funny and very readable. Family dynamics plus Louis’s personal observations on his family, and his tactics to achieve his own objectives create laugh-out loud scenarios. The language is accessible, the characters are well-drawn, surely many children will recognise characteristics in themselves and their own families.’ Annie Everall, Carousel
‘Pete Johnson has been making young people laugh for a few years now and this offering is just as hilarious as his other books, including ‘How To Train Your Parents.’ I particularly love the scenes where Louis decides to dress as if in the 1970s because he feels that is how he has to live … there are also fascinating thoughts about friendship and how young people see things in black and white… A great story for boys and girls alike.’ Margaret Pemberton, The School Librarian
Above: Greatest fan! Pete's been sent this message following his visit to Godolphin Junior Academy, Slough, one of the many school visits he made before, during and after World Book Day.
RECENT HIGHLIGHTS . . .
. . . include a super World Book Day spent at Portland Place School, London, with Daunt Books. And two brilliant days spent with Chorleywood and Gerrards Cross Bookshops.
BOOK OF THE MONTH: ‘RESCUING DAD’ The comedy Pete wrote just before ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’
When all of a sudden Mum and Dad start acting suspiciously nice Joe knows something is up. Then he discovers the shocking truth. Mum is chucking his Dad out.
Joe and his sister Claire want life to return to how it used to be – when Mum would explode with laughter at Dad’s jokes. But they have to act fast, especially as Dad’s appearance is deteriorating and he needs urgent training to overcome his many bad habits. To make matters worse, the slimy Roger is sniffing around Mum.
Joe and Claire don’t have long to retrain Dad. But how will Mum react to ‘Dad Mark Two?’
Pete says, ‘Rescuing Dad was my first ever comedy and has a special place in my affections. I think fans of my Louis the Laugh books will also really enjoy this book too.
‘I’d love to know what you think of ‘RESCUINGDAD.’
‘RESCUING DAD TACKLES A SENSITIVE TOPIC IN A HUMOROUS AND DOWN-TO-EARTH WAY. YOU’LL LOVE THE JOKES AND PETE JOHNSON’S REALISTIC AND FUNNY OBSERVATIONS OF LIFE THROUGH JOE’S EYES.’
Ellen Gregorion, THE ULTIMATE CHILDREN’S BOOK GUIDE
WHERE’S PETE ON WORLD BOOK DAY?
This year Pete will be visiting Portland PlaceSchool in London. The day before he’s in Leicester at Judgemeadow Community College. Then he will be spending two days with the brilliant Chorleywood Bookshop, this will be followed by visiting Prior Park College in Bath … In other words, Pete is really busy in March – just how he likes it.
VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIAL ‘FAKING IT’
A love story which will also make you laugh a lot.
PETE’S BEST-LOVED TEEN COMEDY
MEET WILL – 15 years old and with plenty of friends who are girls but no girlfriend.
So in a desperate bid to improve his street cred, Will makes one up. He bases this dream girl on his step-mum’s gorgeous niece. And Will’s street cred soars. But sooner or later this dream girl is going to have to put in an appearance or Will’s cover will be blown …
‘The story’s diary form makes Will seem like one of your friends … Well-meaning, witty and woefully disaster prone… Will is one of the best teenagers ever brought to life in a novel. By an author whose understanding of what makes teenagers tick is second to none. ‘FAKING IT’ is just the book for when you need cheering up – or to make you feel you’re not alone.’ Eileen Armstrong, The Ultimate Teen Book Guide
January is the longest month of the year.
It is always January 19th for at least two weeks.
And don’t believe people who tell you February lasts for only twenty-eight days. We all know it lingers on for far longer than that.
But fear not. I have some books to get you through the ‘bleak mid winter,’ certain to lift spirits and transport you far away.
At this time of the year, a group of friends and myself re-visit childhood favourites. This year I chose ‘Just William’ for me, the gold standard of all funny kids books. The title I chose was ‘WILLIAM’S HAPPY DAYS,’ by Richmal Crompton. The 12th William book. (Macmillan)
No one rants like William. Here he is, for instance, when he hears that a tutor has been engaged for him during the holidays. ‘I’m sure there is lors against it. I’ve never heard of anyone having lessons in the holidays. Not anyone. Besides I shall only get ill overworkin’ an’ get brain fever same as they do in books an’ then you’ll have to pay for my funeral too …’ I think one of the reasons William struck a chord with me when I was growing up is he was such a dreamer. Here he is dreaming of being a millionaire. ‘We’ll buy a decent sort of house first with no carpets or anything like that in, so they can’t say you’ve made ‘em muddy with not wiping your boots an’ we can break anything we want … ‘cause we can pay for it. I’m going to break ten windows in a day. I bet I’ll have more fun than anyone else in the world. I’m going to keep a window mender in my house all the time mending the windows ready for me to break ‘em again.’
I so love that. William employing his own window mender. He is brilliant company and a richer character than you might remember.The stories are perfect farces – often beautifully judged comedies of misunderstanding. Particularly hilarious examples in this book are THEHIDDEN TREASURE and WILLIAM AND THE SCHOOL REPORT.
What of modern children’s books? One recently enjoyed was ‘JESSICA’S GHOST by Andrew Norris (David Fickling Books) This is a book you just cannot put down.
Francis is a loner, but then one day on his own in the playground as usual, he meets a girl, Jessica who claims no one else can see her, as she is dead. She can’t remember how she died. She just found herself at the hospital one evening dead, where nobody could see or hear her until now.
Then the bell rings and Francis goes back into school ‘with no intention of telling anyone that he had just met a ghost in his lunch break. He had quite enough problems without claiming he could see dead people.’
I love the humour – and warmth – Andrew Norris brings to this fascinating story, full of surprises. Half way through the book we discover just why Jessica died and the story takes a darker turn, but in a very sure-footed way. And the ending is positively inspiring.
Last summer I was one of 200 people at a special conference at the British Library – ‘Bodies in the Library’ – celebrating the big revival of interest in Golden Age crime stories. Of course when we say Golden Age, the first – and in some cases last – name which people think of is Agatha Christie.
Yet, superb as she is there are other wonderful names. Two of my favourites are Cyrl Hare and Josephine Tey. Neither wrote very many crime novels (Hare, nine books, Tey, eight) and both died far too young (in their 50s) But their books are well worth seeking out, as they both celebrate The Golden Age style and yet move it forward too.
So, Cyril Hare’s AN ENGLISH MURDER,’ (Faber) is set in an English country house, with guests arriving in the drawing room for the festive season and looking forward to tea and plum cake, while outside the snow falls on a hushed world … Perfect.
And, of course , the guests are out of sympathy with each other, though in this case – very unusually – the conflict is political. So the characters include The Chancellor of a Labour government, the leader of an English fascist organisation and a Jewish historian and concentration camp survivor. There is also Briggs the butler – who apart from Jeeves is my favourite ever butler in a story.
It is the characterisation – as well as the wonderful wry humour, which sets ‘An English Murder’ apart.
Josephine Tey’s characters are also one of her strengths.
Alan Grant, is a detective who appears in several of Tey’s books, including her last, ‘THE SINGING SANDS,’ (Hodder) published posthumously. Grant is a quiet, polished understated policeman – pure Golden Age, but again there are surprises. As here, he is planning a quiet holiday with an old school friend to recover from a nervous breakdown. Grant’s jangling nerves and mental fatigue are described so vividly we really feel we are there with him.
But on the night train to Scotland, Grant stumbles upon a dead man but when the details about the man come out they seem all wrong and Grant is steadily drawn into the case – and the strange message the man had left behind.
This is a book I re-read every single winter and if I were stranded on a desert island with only eight books this would be one of them. Tey’s magical prose never fails to delight me. Long after I’ve read it the characters live and indeed grow in my mind.
And each time I re-read it I am reminded of the very special power of books to totally transport me away.
Winter – what winter?
LAST YEAR’S HIGHLIGHTS
. . . a brand new ‘Louis the Laugh’ book
HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS ‘a riproaringly hilarious adventure’ The Book Trust
‘Louis is a boy who makes you laugh out loud.’ The Sunday Times
. . . a new Barrington Stoke comedy
‘21st century problems examined in an easy to read and revealing short novel.’ Andrea Reece, LoveReading4Kids
‘Looking for something to entice a reluctant reader. Or a next step for someone who’s read the whole Wimpy Kid series? The (Un) Teenager books are the ones to choose.’ Book Worm
. . . twentieth anniversary edition of the award-winning,
THE GHOST DOG
‘An exciting and touching story about friendship and the power of imagination.’ Books for Keeps
‘Just the thing for a dark, winter’s night . . . Pete Johnson is a master of the hair-raising ghost story.’ The Bookseller
TOPPSTA REVIEWS HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS
‘This is such a brilliant book! It's funny, vibrant and you can't really put it down . . . we highly recommend it to all parents and teenagers who wish to remind themselves how lucky they are to have each other.’ HappyMum, TOPPSTA. Click here to read the full review at TOPPSTA
It was the worst time of my life. Without consulting me, my family had moved house. I hated my new school and my fellow pupils weren’t too keen on me either.
I was as miserable as any twelve-year-old boy could be – except when I was in the school library. It was my refuge, a place of safety and sanity and a gateway to so many other worlds. I read everything. Some books have remained a part of me ever since.
For instance, ‘When Marnie was There’ by Joan G Robinson and ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden,’ by Philippa Pearce. Other times, books that were mine just for a season, like all ‘the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators’ tales.
But with the aid of a wonderful and totally uncritical School Librarian I got through a horrible phase until finally I was ready to start adapting to my new surroundings.
Today I am lucky enough to be invited to many schools and their buzzy and welcoming libraries. In the past few days, for instance, I felt instantly at home at the library at Edgbarrow School, in Crowthorne and Colonel Frank Seely School in Nottingham. But much more importantly, so did many of the children.
The magic goes on.
Indeed, School libraries are far more exciting places now, than ever. They are part of the modern world – offering access to the Internet – as well as building on the social side of reading, with popular book groups now regularly springing up.
Yet, at the centre remains reading for pleasure. Here is when you use your imagination to create a world with the author. And you build empathy too, even returning to your life slightly changed.
However, all this wonderfulness is increasingly under threat. We know school budgets are being cut. While one Head teacher even recently suggested, ‘all reading can now be done on iPads.’
Meanwhile, school librarians are regularly being asked to justify their jobs, (they are, of course, paid peanuts, as it is) and explain why volunteers couldn’t just replace them.
To de-skill and under-resource school libraries is the surest way to destroy them. So let’s resist all attempts to downplay their value, or portray them as an irrelevance in today’s digital world.
Librarians are already leading the fight back, by carefully explaining exactly what they do. Often head teachers are astounded when they see what their librarians are contributing to school life.
But, of course, not everything they help to bring about can be itemised or measured. The gifts of dreaming and imagination, of finding a writer who you’ve never met and who might not even be alive, but who speaks directly to you, of discovering a book you actually live in - and don’t ever want to put down . . .
School libraries are not only special places but for some children, vital ones, whose absence will make their lives immeasurably poorer. Let’s make sure we never lose such a precious resource.
‘SUPER FUNNY. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED ‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’ Shelley Fallows
‘This is a hilarious story of dead fish, gorillas with bananas in their ears, poetry, cunning plans and highly legal documents (kind of) Oh and iPads, iPhones and vlogging, of course.
I’m sitting at home, chortling away at ‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS,’ when Ben suddenly looks up from his game pad and asks, ‘Watcha reading Mum …!?’
Not long after he can’t help but come and take a peek. The title alone is enticing and the cover well …’
‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’ ‘A RIP-ROARINGLY
‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’ is a rip-roaringly hilarious adventure, a brilliant sequel to ‘My Parents Are Driving me Crazy,’ and features tears, bucket loads of snot and some very strange clothes. It also features jokes of this kind of quality. What does a unicorn call his father? Pop. What’s not to like?’ The Book Trust
‘I LOVED HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’ Jake Hope
‘I loved ‘How to Update Your Parents.’ It achieves a careful balance between humour and profundity with comments on technology, screen time and the types of recreational activities that children enjoy and seek, that make it both hugely entertaining and enjoyable, but also thought-provoking too.’
Jake Hope – freelance reviewer who has judged all the top awards in children’s fiction.
A GREAT STOCKING-FILLER FOR LATER THIS YEAR
‘I read How to Update Your Parents with my boys to gauge their reactions. They were laughing a lot and loved the You Tube references in the book. We definitely recommend it.’ A Cornish Mum
‘TOPICAL INDEED AND A VERY INTERESTING TOPIC THAT WILL PRODUCE PLENTY OF DEBATE IN FAMILIES.’
‘Louis narrates his story brilliantly and will have his readers in fits of laughter throughout. Parents might like to volunteer to read this to their children – that would be a great excuse for reading this hilarious book.’ PARENTS IN TOUCH
OUT NOW: MATE MATCH
How would you like to make up a brilliant new identity for yourself?
That’s what Joe does.
He has never been ‘cool’ or hot until he joins a new dating app called, ‘Mate Match.’ With the help of his sister he turns himself into someone really hot. And then Joe gets a date with the stunning Tania.
What can possibly go wrong? Well …
Hilarious new teen comedy about dating today.
‘Honest and heart-warming tale for modern teenagers from the best-selling author of ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS.’ Perfectly pitched for digitally obsessed teens, this upbeat comedy explores teen romance in the age of the App and the value of real-life connections.’ Murdoch Books
‘Mate Match’ ‘is a wicked comedy of manners which will have young people snorting with laughter and quite possibly squirming with embarrassed recognition too. 21st century problems examined in an easy to read and revealing short novel.’ Andrea Reece, LoveReading4Kids
CELEBRATING TWENTY YEARS OF
‘THE GHOST DOG’ ‘The Ghost Dog is a haunting and captivating read which
will keep you hooked to the end.’ BOOK TRUST
‘The Ghost Dog’ isn’t Pete’s first book. But it is his first best-seller. ‘I’d written several books before ‘The Ghost Dog,’ says Pete ‘and they sold okay, without setting the world alight. And then ‘The Ghost Dog’ – just exploded on to the scene – nearly twenty years ago this June.’
‘Weirdly enough,’ says Pete, ‘when I wrote it I’ve never felt so ill. I had a horrible attack of gastric flu and seemed to spend weeks and weeks in bed feeling ghastly. But every afternoon I’d totter out of bed and stagger downstairs and for a couple of hours I was completely caught up in the tale of ‘The Ghost Dog.’
‘The Ghost Dog’ is a horror story about Daniel who makes up a ghost story about a terrifying dog to frighten big-headed Aaron. But each night the ghost dog becomes REAL and haunts nightmares …
Hailed on Amazon ‘as one of the few really frightening children’s books. Every paragraph just brims with juicy intrigue.’ And by Books for Keeps as ‘an exciting and touching story about the power of imagination.’
‘The Ghost Dog’ has never been out of print and has been translated into several languages.
It also won two prizes including, The Young Telegraph Children’s Book of the Year’ which resulted in Pete making his first appearance on Saturday morning television. It is now a top favourite in schools – Edwintree School in Herts, for instance, who use ‘The Ghost Dog,’ as a class reader for Year Seven (Autumn term)
Here are some of the comments from 2015 readers at Edwintree.
‘One of the best things I enjoyed about reading ‘The Ghost Dog’ is the thrill and suspense throughout the whole book.’ Tom Carter
‘The Ghost Dog was gripping at all points and it had an amazing storyline.’ Shane Coyne
‘Everyone wanted to carry on reading ‘The Ghost Dog’ even if it was the end of the day or lunchtime. We would all say, ‘Oh don’t stop.’ Amy Higginbotham
‘The Ghost Dog’ is the best book I have ever read because it has lots of ‘wow’ factor. I like how you leave a cliff-hanger at the end of the chapter. It really encouraged me to read on.’ Rhiannon Cockerton
‘Every so often,’ says Pete, ‘you write a book that seems to have a life of its own. ‘The Ghost Dog,’ is certainly one of those. I feel like a proud parent now as I say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY GHOST DOG.’
THE GHOST DOG’SFAMOUS OPENING The first time I only saw its face. Out of the darkness it came floating towards me. It had evil eyes. Blood poured out of its mouth. It was the ugliest, most horrible thing I had ever seen. And I’d brought it to life ………
PETE AT ST MARTIN’S SCHOOL
Pete says: ‘The ‘How To Update Your Parents’ tour was full of highlights and one of them was definitely my visit to St Martin’s School. The pupils were so enthusiastic about reading and asked such great questions. I was still buzzing all the way home.’
Two pupils' emails to Pete:
‘I very much enjoyed your visit to St Martin’s School. I loved the way you summarised the stories and how you used your real life situations with Louis. The way you interacted with the boys I was not at all bored. Right now I’ve got my hands on, ‘My Parents are out ofControl.’Hassan Merali Dewji
‘I was extremely excited to see you as I was reading one of your books, ‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy’ at the time of your visit. This has got to be one of my favourite books. I especially love how whenever Louis gets into trouble he tries to make a joke out of the situation (we have a few characters like him at my school) Now I want to buy all the other Louis books.’Nishaan Patel
Above and right: Pete with some of the brilliant pupils at St Martin’s School.
PETE IN BROXBOURNE
Pete says, ‘I had a great day talking about Louis the Laugh with
pupils from Wormley Primary School and St Cross Catholic School, Hoddesdon.’
‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’ FIRST REVIEWS
‘Pete Johnson is incredibly funny. No book can ever make you laugh like How to Update Your Parents. He is a mastermind, and Louis can somehow find a funny side to everything.’ Martha Price, Perse Prep School
‘Louis the Laugh is back and he hasn’t changed a bit. The jokes are funny, the story can be taken seriously and has a message behind it. I’d recommend it to confident readers of any age. FIVE STARS Phoebe 152 Amazon
‘I think the best book Pete Johnson has ever written is ‘How to Update Your Parents,’ because what Louis the Laugh does is really funny. And I cannot stop turning the pages of it. Louis is a great character.’ Bavan Gunaseelan, St Martin’s School,Northwood
‘I loved ‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’ so much. Great storyline and narrating, love the bit where Louis says, ‘Poppy’s thumbs should have their own TV show.’ Five Stars, Gary 17/4/2016
‘It was so funny and great. Good for children who like funny things. Absolutely brilliant.’ Five Stars, J.J. 17/4/2016
‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy’ Read by Joe Coen Unabridged Audio from OAKHILL Publishing
PETE GOES UNPLUGGED FOR SEVEN DAYS TO CELEBRATETHE PUBLICATION OF ‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’
In ‘HOW TO UPDATE YOUR PARENTS’ Louis’s parents decide he is spending too much time ‘glued to screens.’ So they come up with ‘their worst idea ever.’ A total ban on tablets, computers and mobiles for a whole week.
What would that be like?
Pete put himself in Louis’s shoes when he undertook his own gadget ban for seven days starting on Monday May 30th.
…‘It has humour, it has quirky but believable characters and it has just the right amount of eww-factor to really appeal to kids (and big kids like me).
‘IF YOU’D LIKE TO BUY A BOOK AS A STOCKING FILLER THIS CHRISTMAS, THIS ONE WILL BE A SAFE BET, APPEALING TO TEEN AND TWEEN – AGED READERS OF BOTH SEXES AND ALL READING LEVELS . . .’ Cheryl Pasquier, Madhouse Family Reviews
‘My Parents Are Driving me Crazy is riddled with delicious humour … it’s utterly rib-tickling stuff as we meet Louis, long-suffering star of Pete’s book series.
‘Fans of Tom Gates and David Walliams are going to absolutely love Pete’s book series.’ ReaditDaddy (Books, comics and cool stuff for kids)
STOP PRESS: TOP WEBSITES CELEBRATE THE LAUNCH of‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’
lovereading4kids SAVE 20% price £4.79.
theguardian bookshop SAVE 20% Price £4.79.
BRILLIANT NEW LOOK FOR THE
BEST SELLING(Un)TEENAGER BOOKS One of Pete’s best-loved and funniest characters, Spencer, the (Un)Teenager, is back in brilliant new editions from Barrington Stoke.
‘Pete Johnson has such a warm, humane sense of ridiculous humour that has you laughing in loud snorts, just as you’re fighting tears of empathy.’ Ink Pellet
Save 20% - price £5.59
Click the cover for more details
‘Looking for something to entice a reluctant reader? Or a next step for someone who has read the whole Wimpy Kid series? Or just an entertaining read? ‘Return of the (Un)Teenager’ is the book to choose.’ Five Stars. Bookworm, Amazon
Save 20% - price £5.59
Click the cover for more details
‘Diary of an (Un)Teenager is an excellent read for all teens …it’s funny but also very perceptive.’
‘Return of the (Un) Teenager is a cracking sequel about the highs and lows of being a teenager, from a hugely popular teen author.’ Parents in Touch.
PETE’S MOST HOTLY ANTICIPATED BOOK EVER . . .
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’
The latest stand-alone comedy starring:
LOUIS THE LAUGH
The two earlier ‘Louis the Laugh’ books are the phenomenally popular:
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ and ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’, now translated into 24 languages.
The translation rights to ‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy’ have already been sold to fifteen countries.
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’ WAS PUBLISHED BY AWARD PUBLICATIONS ON1ST OCTOBER.
THE VAMPIRE BLOG
Horror meets hilarious. It is bad enough turning thirteen – then Marcus discovers he is a half-vampire …
‘Marcus is impossible not to like – and so is this book. Engaging, funny, adventureous … very hard to put down.’ FIVE STARS, Bookster Reviews
‘I am bringing you face to face with the King of Terror … the Creeper is loose.’
‘ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVOURITES DURING MY CHILDHOOD. THIS WAS THE FIRST BOOK TO GET ME INTO DARKER PLOTS AND CREATIVE WRITING.’ Becca – GOOD READS
THE GHOST DOG
A terrifying tale about a bloodthirsty dog who starts to become real …
‘A HAUNTING AND CAPTIVATING READ WHICH WILL KEEP YOU HOOKED TO THE END.’ THE BOOK TRUST
THE WHOLE SCHOOL HAS TURNED AGAINST GARETH – AND HIS ONLY FRIEND IS HIS GRANDDAD – WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO BE A GHOST.
‘It’s a brilliant read.’
THE SUNDAY EXPRESS
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’ GETS OFF TO A ‘BRILLIANT START’ IN GERMANY
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’ launched in Germany on July 9th and the book’s publisher Ars Edition is ‘absolutely thrilled’ with the initial sales.
Pete says ‘It is really exciting, especially as I have never launched a book in Germany before.’ Other bestsellers in Germany include ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS,’ ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ and ‘THE VAMPIRE BLOG.’
The translation rights to ‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’ has now been sold to eleven countries.
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’ launches in the UK on October 1st.
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ Recommended by Discovery Club, Southampton
‘This book has been tested on one of my Year 6 Reading Groups – Discovery Club – who are all able readers stuck in a rut with their reading. This was the first book read by this particular group; so the pressure was on to make it a good one. The club members were not disappointed.
‘Most of them could identify with the main character, Louis. They liked the fact that he had adventures they would not necessarily have themselves, such as sneaking off to go to auditions.
‘Discovery Club would definitely recommend ‘How to Train yourParents’ to their friends.’
‘TRAITOR’ A favourite book with Years 5 and 6. For instance
used by Copthorne School, West Sussex
Significant author, Pete Johnson
‘Traitor’ core text
‘TRAITOR’ is also extremely popular in secondary schools.
‘I am a SEN Literacy teacher in a secondary school and ordered ‘Traitor’ as a class readers for Year 7 and 8 pupils. All of the pupils thoroughly enjoyed it. It has also encouraged interesting discussions about growing up, friendship, peer pressure and issues surrounding bullying. I would highly recommend it.’ Five stars. M.W. Amazon website
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ Recommended by Discovery Club, Southampton
‘Following the brilliant ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ (one of our readers’ group favourites) Our Year 6 (10-11 year olds) could not wait to get their hands on the second book. Here are their comments: ‘It was so funny I nearly cried with laughter.’ Jasmine, Year 6
‘It will make you fall off your chair laughing.’ Mia, Year 6
‘Amazing and funny to read.’ Lewis, Year 6
‘Just like its predecessor, ‘How to Train your Parents,’ this book is absolutely hilarious. It’s tremendously funny and contains some amazing jokes.’
Abdul, Year 6
‘THE GHOST DOG’ ‘A haunting and captivating read which will keep you hooked to the end.’ Book Trust
‘A very spooky read … a compulsive read.’ School Library Association
Recommended by Chicken and Frog Book Club, Essex.
Readers’ Verdict: ‘The Ghost Dog is amazing. My favourite book so far. My favourite bit is Blood fingers.
‘I really liked the part about when they had a party because I liked that they had fun and told spooky stories. I really got into The Ghost Dog.’
EXCLUSIVE! YES, THE RUMOURS ARE TRUE: ‘LOUIS THE LAUGH’ IS BACK AT LAST IN . . .
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’
Pete says: ‘One question follows me everywhere. When is Louis coming back?’
‘And recently people have added they’ve heard somewhere that Louis might be returning. Is it true? With apologies for the wait – I wanted this book to be really, really funny – I can confirm Louis will soon be back on the bookshelves in:
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’
What happens in this book? Well it is definitely the most action-packed yet. For a start, Louis’s parents swap roles. So now Dad is at home all day. And soon he’s cooking meals no one wants to eat (Louis would rather eat his brother’s bogies) And Dad even gives Louis his own duster, so he can clean his bedroom himself. Louis is outraged. Cleaning is what parents do. Louis is far too busy.
And that’s just the start. It’s not long before there is total chaos. Louis and his brother quickly decide ‘Dads are just not meant to be Mums.’ Or are they?
Meanwhile at school – never Louis’s favourite place (‘I’ve never liked it, never fitted in and I’m rubbish at all my lessons’) he is in massive trouble for forging a letter to the deputy head from his dad. No one understands how Louis had no choice …
And then there is the moment when he appears on TV and something TRULY, YUKKY happens … I’ve never written a more disgusting scene or I hope, a funnier one.
I’ll admit I’m really excited about ‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY,’ but more importantly, so are my translation publishers. In fact, Six top publishers have ALREADY snapped up the rights, including arsEdition in Germany (cover pictured, right) and Gallimard in France.
It will be published by Award Publications in Britain in September.
Look out for EXCLUSIVE EXTRACTS, on this website from ‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY.’ I will answer all your questions about the new Louis book too. So get writing.
I can’t wait to find out what you think of the latest Louis book. But meanwhile as Louis himself would say, SMILE ON.
‘PIRATE BROTHER’ AND ‘BUG BROTHER’ - TWO OF PETE’S BEST-LOVED BOOKS - ARE BACK!
The adventures of Jamie and his magic cape have thrilled and amused children all over the world.
Now ‘Bug Brother,’ in which Jamie turns his very annoying younger brother into a very annoying insect, and can’t turn him back – and ‘Pirate Brother,’ where Jamie magics Brave Bill, the boy pirate, out of a story and into his real life return in brilliant new editions.
Pete says, ‘Very often at events a teenager will come up to me and say one of the first books he remembers reading and enjoying was ‘Pirate Brother.’ Other times it’s ‘Bug Brother.’ And sometimes it’s both of them. So I’m really excited that these well-remembered stories are back. They look absolutely fantastic as well.’
PIRATE BROTHER and BUG BROTHER are published by CATNIP on May 14th.
READNOW THE LATESTREVIEWS OF ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’
‘This stand-alone sequel to Johnson’s earlier ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS,’ continues Louis’s unique first person narrative tone – deadpan funny, with just the right amount of sarcasm to get kids laughing out loud, without malice. Brimming with candour and compassion …’ Meher Marfatia, The Swaddle, 20 February 2015 Click the star to read the full review from The Swaddle
‘This book is the best book I’ve ever read. I gave it a five star because it is so funny.’ Sav, Amazon review, 24th February 2015
CHILDREN SHORT LIST
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’
FOR ‘OUR BEST BOOK AWARD’
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ is one of five titles picked by children for 2015 ‘OUR BEST BOOK AWARD.’
Pete says, ‘This award, co-ordinated by the brilliant Leicester Libraries always makes a huge impact. I know how avidly children have been reading the books on the long list. I’m so chuffed they’ve chosen, ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ for their shortlist.’
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ has been picked for more shortlists and Best of the Year selections than any other book Pete has written.
‘READ FOR MY SCHOOL’IS BACK FOR 2015
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS,’ ONE OF THE ONLINE BOOKS THAT CAN BE ACCESSED FREELY FOR TWO MONTHS.
‘Read for My School’ is a completely free reading competition, open to pupils in Primary (Years 3-6) and Secondary Schools (Years 7-8) across England. The fantastic target is for over one million books to be read by pupils between 19th January and 20th March.
‘Read for My School,’ offers a shortlist of ‘the best fiction and non fiction,’ in eight different categories. These books can be accessed freely by every child in the participating schools, either when they’re at school or at home.
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ is in the Humour LAUGH OUT LOUD category, which in the past has proved to be the most popular category of all.
PETE says: ‘Read for My School.’ is fun and exciting. It inspires you to read as much as you can and find your own special books and authors. Brilliant!
‘The books I discovered when I was at school remain friends now. Only last Christmas I re-read ‘When Marnie Was There,’ by Joan G Robinson. And do you know what, it was even better than I remembered.
I shall be visiting many schools and libraries over the next months, so do let me know which books you’re reading for ‘READ FOR MY SCHOOL 2015.’
FIND OUT MORE NOW ABOUT ‘READ FOR MY SCHOOL 2015’ on www.booktrust.org.uk
SCHOOLS TWEET ABOUT ‘BOOKS FOR MY SCHOOL’
'Pete Johnson and his brilliant book, ‘How to Train Your Parents’ are part of our FREE online library.' CLASS 6GW tweeting about the things that interest us.
Merrydale Primary School, Leicester
ENFIELD LIBRARIES release their lists of the TOP ISSUED BOOKS for 2014.
And ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ is one of their TOP TEN MOST ISSUED CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOKS. Other authors on the list include Philip Reeve, James Patterson and Kes Gray.
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ IS SHORTLISTED FOR TWO TOP PRIZES –
AND WINS ONE.
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ is having an exciting time. It has just been shortlisted for two top awards – HOUNSLOW LIBRARIES BOOKBUSTERS AWARD and THE ENFIELD CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD.
It has also just won a prize at the Sheffield Book Award: Commended in the BEST SHORTER/LONGER novel of the year.
Pete says ‘I’m thrilled that MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ is making so many people laugh. That’s brilliant news.’
‘RESCUING DAD’IS BACK IN PRINT!! A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM PETE
‘Thanks to all the people who have contacted me, keen to read ‘RESCUING DAD.’ It has been unavailable for a while but I’m really pleased to tell you it reprinted on October 31st and should be available again really soon from AMAZON, WATERSTONES, www.lovereading4kids.com
‘RESCUING DAD’ is the first of the family comedies and its success led to the Evening Standard hailing me ‘as a wonderful storyteller.’ If you’ve enjoyed ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS,’ and ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL,’ I think you will like this one too.’
STOP PRESS. The award-winning ‘THE CREEPER’ is back in print on November 27th.
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ HAS GOT THE 'B' FACTOR
You’ve heard of the X FACTOR. Now, even more excitingly comes the B FACTOR. This is a new dynamic scheme launching in Chippenham to create genuine excitement about books and promote reading for pleasure.
Pupils will read top books including ‘TRASH’ by Andy Mulligan, ‘WONDER’ by R.J. Palacio and ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS.’
Then they will adapt the books into five-minute performance pieces using drama, film, music, dance or any combination of these. The groups will also attend a boot camp (more echoes of the X Factor) Here they will be coached by performers in drama, film and music.
And then come the live finals on December 9th in Chippenham. And Pete will be the guest author, firstly, leading a gala event at Chippenham Library. And then at the finals Pete will introduce ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ and meet the cast.
Pete says ‘I don’t know anyone else who is running a book project like this. It is a pleasure to support something so exciting and original. Congratulations to Chippenham Libraries and Pageturners Project for delivering this.’
CHILDREN’S BOOK CLUB SPECIAL NEW! Click the covers below for … Book Club notes on the international comedy best sellers, How to Train Your Parents and My Parents are Out of Control, and the "anti-bullying classic", Traitor
THE PUPILS’ VERDICT
Pete ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ his recent visit to Debenham High School, Stowmarket, Suffolk.
But what did the pupils think? Here are their lively views . . .
‘Pete Johnson has really inspired me to read more. His visit has made me want to read his books and maybe write some of my own.’ Ewan Green
‘Pete Johnson has inspired me to read more, especially at night when I usually draw or play on my phone. He made me think about the characters in the books and their feelings and thoughts.’ Jess Way
‘I have never really enjoyed books but now I think I would like to read, ‘Avenger,’ because he left it on a cliffhanger.’ Loui Steward
‘From the beginning of ‘How To Train Your Parents’ I know how Louis feels. Pete Johnson has inspired me to write a comedy and horror books.’ Louise Page
‘I enjoyed Pete’s visit because he was quite bonkers. He did encourage me to read some of his books.’ Alfie
‘I thoroughly enjoyed Pete Johnson’s visit because he was humorous and made me laugh lots. He also intrigued me into wanting to read, ‘The Ghost Dog,’ and ‘How To Train Your Parents,’ and left a really good cliffhanger when he spoke about ‘Avenger.’ Nathan Rooney
‘I love writing stories at home and Pete Johnson’s visit has inspired me to carry on writing them. His cliffhanger at the end of ‘Traitor’ really caught my eye.’ Noelia West
‘We all enjoyed Pete’s visit and loved his books.’ Luke Bower
‘It was very fun.’ Ellie Jaques
‘It has made me think that, with perseverance, I can be an author.’ Sophie Haddon
‘His visit was really fun!’ Thomas Boast
‘Thank you Pete for your visit, I want to be an author thanks to you.’ Bailee Brame
‘I want to become an author, I thought you had to have good handwriting because I am rubbish at writing, but your handwriting is rubbish too.’ James Gould
‘I loved the visit. P.S. Could you try writing a comedy love story that has a bit of a rollercoaster?’ Poppy Walker
‘5***** visit, thank you Pete Johnson.’ Tom Warren
‘He left us on a massive cliffhanger!’ Joe Dearling
‘I will definitely be reading more books.’ Ashleigh Muttock
‘I want to be an author, I’m writing a book called ‘Super Granny.’ A book is dead unless it’s read. Thanks for encouraging me to write.’ Charlie Matthews
‘I think I would like to be an author like you.’ Amy Gilbert
FEEDBACK FROM EDWINSTREE MIDDLE SCHOOL
Every autumn, not long before Halloween, Year Seven at Edwinstree Middle School get inspired to write spooky tales by reading ‘THE GHOST DOG’ and inviting Pete to talk about his books to Year Seven – and give them some special writing tips.
HERE ARE SOME OF YEAR SEVEN’S COMMENTS:
‘Your tips inspired me to write a ghost story better than I ever could before. I am really excited. I have already read another one of your books, ‘TRAITOR.’ It was really inspirational.’
AVA PRESTON ‘I have discovered a love for writing, which is almost as powerful as my love for reading, thanks to you.’ KATHRYN WILSON ‘I particularly liked when in ‘TRAITOR’ you made all the chapters have different viewpoints. I had my heart pounding hard in my chest at times. I found your first paragraph in ‘THE GHOST DOG,’ amazing.’ ABBY
‘I bought ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL,’ it is very funny. I can’t stop reading it.’ EMMA CHARWIN ‘I found your visit to my school very amazing and quite helpful since you gave me tips on writing a good story. You inspired me to become a writer so much that I’m thinking of writing a book. You are one of my favourite authors of all time.’ RESAN TAS
‘I’m on page 125 of ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ and loving it. I want to get the other book now about Louis.’ LUKE RANNER ‘It really made me laugh when you read us an extract from ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL.’ I had loads of fun and laughter.’ MILLIE LUCAS
‘I enjoyed GHOST DOG because it’s scary and that makes it exciting. It was an awesome book.’ ENIS AMITRANS ‘Your books have inspired my ghost story. I might even pinch a few ideas from your books.’ OLIVER GARRATT
‘OUR TALK BY PETE JOHNSON WAS FUN AND ENTERTAINING’
Click the photo on the right to read Lizzie and Annabel’s review of Pete’s event at Teddington School.
Pictured right: Pete talks to pupils from twenty schools in Birmingham.
‘WE ARE REALLY KEEN TO CHALLENGE CHILDREN TO LOVE READING MORE – AND HEARD YOU ARE VERY GOOD.’
‘I WANT TO ORGANISE A WEEK FOCUSING ON READING, SOMETHING I HAVE BEEN PASSIONATE ABOUT ALL MY TEACHING CAREER … I THINK YOU WOULD BE PERFECT FOR OUR BOOK WEEK …’
‘Nothing is more cheering or exciting,’ says Pete ‘than to be part of the wonderful initiatives schools and libraries are planning to stimulate a love of reading and books. And this year more is happening than ever.’
That’s why this autumn is Pete’s busiest – events begin as early as September 10th with a local event in St Albans, at Mandeville Primary School. Then Pete returns to Edwinstree Middle School for the eighth time! Every year - Year Seven pupils read ‘THE GHOST DOG’ as a stimulant for writing spooky stories.
Then Pete is off to STOWMARKET, WORCESTER, TELFORD, SHEFFIELD, THE SWINDON YOUTH FESTIVAL...
Pete says, ‘Stories give us the power to go anywhere and stop us being weighed down by our reality. Yet somehow reading can be reduced to a chore. In my lively, interactive sessions I want to show the pleasure is not far away and highlight the fun and excitement of books. I believe it’s the best and most important thing I do.’
CHILDREN’S BOOK CLUB NOTESON ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’
BY PETE JOHNSON
(To download a printable version of these notes in Microsoft Word, click any of the images in these notes.)
Discussion triggers … First impressions:
Without even opening the book what do you think ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ will be about, based simply on the cover and title? Compare your ideas with the rest of the group. How similar are people’s opinions?
‘I think I’ve arrived somewhere weird (p1)
What is your first opinion of Louis?
How does he describe himself (p8)
From the start, Louis is compared to Theo.
Louis describes Theo as ‘a wet weed.’ What do you think of him? Look at (p.12) Theo writes down both their marks. What does tell us about him?
First visit to Theo’s house (p14-16). On the wall is a chart showing all Theo and Libby’s out of school activities (p15) How would you feel if your parents organised your life like this?
What is Louis’s attitude?
Louis’s parents start to change.
Look at p32-33. Louis’s mum asks him if he’d like to go to French Club with Elliot. And (p.38,39) ‘She’s been through my bag again.’
Louis thinks his mum might be having ‘a mid-life crisis.’ What is actually going on (p40-42)
‘Dear diary, something very freaky is going on in this house.’ This book is a comic look at hyper-parenting (this is where parents devote all their attention to their children, constantly trying to inspire and encourage them)
What do you think is Louis’s attitude to it?’
Look at, for example, p.50,52,56, ‘My bedroom is turning into a sweat shop.
Are you completely on Louis’s side?
Are his parents partly right?
‘Do you know what I’m suffering from? Parent fatigue.
I keep telling myself it’s just a phase they’re going through. They’ve been led astray by our neighbours and got into bad ways.
What do you think Louis’s parents would say to this?
Work out their reply.
What is your first impression of her (p70-71) Does it change as the book goes on?
How would you compare her character to Louis?
‘How to Train Your Parents’ is hailed as an extremely funny book.
Which scenes did you find the funniest?
Look at the scenes in which Maddy pretends to be Louis’s mum, for example (p.164-170) Would you pick that as the funniest moment?
The four rules (p113-116) of parent training.
Are there any others you would like to add?
Maybe compile your own list.
Would you like Louis to join your school?
Imagine his first day.
Do you think you would like him as a friend?
Write Louis’s diary detailing his first day at your school.
READING GROUP NOTES ON ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’
By Pete Johnson
(To download a printable version of these notes in Microsoft Word, click any of the images in these notes.)
How about discussing …
‘I have this very rare medical condition. I’m severely allergic to homework,’ (p.6)
What is your first impression of Louis? Is he someone you would like as a friend?
Louis thinks Rup is the best boss his dad has ever had (p.11)
Why do you think Louis’s dad isn’t so keen?
When Louis’s dad wants to practise touching fists Louis ‘nearly laughed for a week,’ (p.19)
Why do you think his dad wanted to do this? Was Louis right to teach him?
A famous scene: Dad’s outburst outside the school disco (p.65) How embarrassing would you find this? Would you react as Louis did? Why did Louis’s dad do this? (p.68, 69)
What do you think of ‘Kids with Attitude?’ (p.106-114) Would you ever go on a show like that? Edgar said the show ‘plumbed new depths of nastiness.’ Would you agree with Edgar? Some people are worried TV talent shows put too much pressure on children to perform well. What do you think?
What do you think is the most embarrassing thing Louis’s parents do? Might it be when they dance in public, for instance? (p.137-138) or when they try and ‘friend’ Louis on Facebook (p.143-144) or when Louis’s dad buys a baseball cap? (p.155-156) Or maybe you can think of other examples.
What is your opinion of Edgar? Did it change as the book went on? Why do you think Maddy like him?
Louis’s Nan and Granddad: How are they different from Louis’s parents? What is their reaction to the baseball cap (p.163-164) Were they right to interfere?
The ending of the book. Was Dad’s news a shock? (p.230-234). When Louis says right at the end of the book. ‘The thing is, Dad, really you are in fact cool (p.234) What does he mean? Would you agree?
One reviewer described ‘My Parents are out of Control,’ as ‘the funniest kids books I’ve read in ages.’ (Jenny Davies, Wondrous Reads.) Which scenes did you find the funniest?
FANGTASTIC NEWS: THE SCARIEST, SPOOKIESTVAMPIRE BOOK OF ALLIS HERE . . .
‘THE VAMPIRE BEWITCHED’
Pete answers your questions about this eagerly awaited book.
I’M REALLY PLEASED THERE IS ANOTHER VAMPIRE BOOK. BUT WASN’T ‘THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS’ SUPPOSED TO BE THE LAST ONE?
Yes it was. Three Vampire books were all I’d planned to write. But then I had a fantastic idea for a stand-alone book. And it wouldn’t let me alone. I even dreamt about it.
WHAT IS THE FANTASTIC IDEA?
Well, all three of the earlier books were narrated by Marcus, the highly reluctant half-vampire. We only ever see the other main character Tallulah – the vampire-mad human who comes close to guessing his secret – through Marcus’s eyes. But this time Marcus can’t tell us the story at first, because following an accident, all memory of the recent past – including his transformation into a half-vampire – has been wiped from his memory. Sinister things start happening though and only Tallulah – at first – can save the day.
I’M THRILLED TALLULAH IS LEADING THE STORY AS SHE IS MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER.
A number of people say that. So this time you see Tallulah in a whole new way. I’ve really enjoyed letting her narrate the first part of the story. She can’t narrate the last part though.
That would be telling! But it’s a really shocking reason.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE VAMPIRE BOOKS HAVE BEEN SO POPULAR?
I think because they’re (I hope) both funny and spooky, with some of my strongest-ever characters. The great wonderful surprise is how popular
they’ve been in other countries, like Germany and Korea.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE VAMPIRE BOOK?
I’m especially keen on ‘The Vampire Hunters.’ I think the scene in which Marcus has a blood craving is one of the funniest I’ve ever written. But overall I think my favourite is ‘THE VAMPIRE BEWITCHED.’ It is certainly the scariest and I believe the most gripping.
With special thanks to the pupils of Wreake Valley Academy, Siston, Leicestershire.
Keep the questions – and comments about ‘The Vampire Bewitched’ coming.
‘THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS’ -
‘Another fantastically written book by Pete Johnson.’ SCRIBBLER ‘I cannot recommend ‘The Vampire Hunters’ highly enough.’ LIBRARY MICE
‘THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS’ ‘An addictive, fun spooky read – perfect for reluctant readers.’ THE BOOK ADDICTED GIRL
"IN ‘SIX HOURS’ PETE JOHNSON BRILLIANTLY CAPTURES A MOMENT IN TWO TEENAGERS’ LIVES AS HE GETS UNDER THE SKIN OF WHAT PRESSURES THEY ARE UNDER" Julia Eccleshare, Lovereading 4 Kids
Have you ever wanted to run away – just for one day?
That’s what Lara and Dominic do in Pete’s new comedy-drama ‘SIX HOURS’.
Dominic has never done anything wrong in his life. Lara is the school rebel. Together they escape from school for six hours. Six hours they will never forget.
Pete says, "It's a comedy-clash about two very different personalities, who discover they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. But it is also about teen pressure, which I think has never been greater. Pressure at school – but also pressure from social media.
"I really liked both Dominic and Lara and I hope readers will too.
"I'm thrilled too that it is another Barrington Stoke book, who have published some of my best-loved books, including, of course, 'The (Un)Teenager…' books, about Spencer, the thirteen year old, determined he will never turn into a teenager."
PETE’S BEST-SELLING BARRINGTON STOKE BOOKS INCLUDE . . .
'DIARY OF AN (UN) TEENAGER'
"It deals with puberty issues and young love. This household loves Pete Johnson." Amazon
'RETURN OF THE (UN) TEENAGER'
"Looking for something to entice a reluctant reader? This is the book to choose."
'HOW EMBARRASSING IS THAT?'
WINNER OF THE BRAUNSTONE BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD.
"My son has dyslexia and this was a great, quick read to reignite his interest in reading."
MEET PETE . . .
. . . IN JUNE/EARLY JULY
A gala event at OSSETT ACADEMY AND SIXTH FORM COLLEGE IN WAKEFIELD, where ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ has been shortlisted for the Riveting Reads Book Award 2014.
KING’S PREP SCHOOL IN ROCHESTER, where Pete will be discussing his award-winning THE GHOST DOG at an ARTS FESTIVAL on the theme of Dreams.
The wonderful independent bookshop, THE CHICKEN AND FROG BOOKSHOP in Brentwood, Essex.
And returning to TEDDINGTON SCHOOL for their Super Book Festival.
If you would like Pete to visit your school/library.
LATEST LOUIS NEWS . . .
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ ‘The Reading Doctor’ prescribes ‘How to Train Your Parents’ for ‘Wimpy Kid’ fans’
Question In our school library it’s all about ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ series. Children love the humour, the readability and quirky illustrations. Can you recommend any books that have these features that we can move the children on to?
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS,’ ‘HELP I’M A CLASSROOM GAMBLER,’ TRUST ME I’M A TROUBLEMAKER,’ by PETE JOHNSON.
This writer specialises in humorous novels for 8-12 years old. The first two are written in the first person diary entries. The third is a dual narrative – all highly readable and engaging. Like Wimpy Kid books these stories feature, tiresome parents, tricky teachers, good friends, and mini-disasters that resolve happily.
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ ‘My Parents Are Out of Control’ selected for ‘Spellbinding Shortlist.’
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ is AMAZING. I can’t stop turning the pages. There are lots of funny parts and I would definitely want to read more Pete Johnson books.’ Caitlin P, Primary Spellbinding, Cumbria Schools Book Award
A BRILLIANT DAY AT WORCESTERSHIRE’S AWESOME BOOK AWARD
Pete says, ‘I had a great World Book Day at the first Worcestershire Book Award, organised by the wonderful School Library Service. Here I am with the special ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ cake, which of course, was absolutely delicious. It’s always exciting to be in at the start of something special.
'Many congratulations to all the librarians, teachers and, of course, pupils who made this one of the best ever World Book Day events I’ve been involved with.’
"THE FUNNIEST BOOK I HAVE READ IN MY LIFE ." LATEST REVIEWS OF ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ . . .
"I gave this book a five star rating because it was very funny and had a good story to it. I would recommend the book to anyone who has a good sense of humour as I think it’s fair to say, it is the funniest book I have read in my life." RSD Kindle Amazon review, 16th March 2014
"My Parents Are Out of Control is a very good book. Funny and exciting on every page. It is absolutely the funniest book I have read. It is hilarious and I would recommend the book to absolutely everyone." Frankie, Amazon Review, 16th February 2014
‘THE GHOST DOG’: "A TRULY HORRIFYING TALE"
"The Ghost Dog is a truly horrifying tale which plays right to the heart of children’s fears. Yes it’s scary but in a good way, the way that makes you hide behind the sofa when Dr Who is coming on – but still keeps you hooked.
"Enjoy being scared with this gripping thriller from a maestro in children’s literature."
Louise Anne Bateman, Waterstones Reviews
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ RECOMMENDED FOR BOOK GROUPS
Southampton Discovery Club write: ‘Following the brilliant HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS our Year Six Group booktesters (10/11 year olds) could not wait to get their hands on the sequel – MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL.
Here are some of their comments . . .
‘It was so funny, I nearly cried with laughter.’ Jasmine Year, Six
‘It is a diary written by a boy about his crazy parents. It will make you fall off your chair laughing.’ Mia, Year Six
‘This is the sequel to the brilliant ‘How to Train your Parents.’ Just like its predecessor the book is absolutely hilarious. It’s tremendously funny and contain some amazing jokes.’ Abdul, Year Six
Discovery Club say – ‘GIVE THE BOOK A GO.’
Overall Rating – Five Stars
to read more of the brilliant Discovery Club’s comments about MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL at the Waterstone's website (click "reviews").
to download Book Group Notes on MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL.
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ IS SHORTLISTED FOR THREE TOP REGIONAL PRIZES
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ has just been shortlisted for The Riveting Reads Book Award. This award is run by Wakefield Schools Library Service (in partnership with Ossett Academy Secondary) Pete says: ‘Local pupils and students have been reading lots of titles since the start of the autumn term. So I’m thrilled that they have chosen, ‘My Parents Are Out of Control’ as one of their five shortlisted books.’
‘My Parents Are Out of Control’ has also been shortlisted for The Worcestershire Children’s Book Award Key Stage Two. And for The Sheffield Children’s Book Award, which is one of the largest Local Authority Award Schemes in the country, involving over five thousand local children.
BEDTIME WITH LOUIS
Worcestershire Libraries say, ‘If you’re bored with reading the same bedtime story to your children, head off to the local library and hunt out these recommended books-
For 3-6 ‘The Slightly Annoying Elephants’ by David Walliams.
For 8+ ‘A Boy and a Bear in a Boat’ by David Shelton
For 10+ ‘My Parents Are Out Of Control’ by Pete Johnson
"This is a real laugh out loud story, well written and thoroughly enjoyable."
PETE SIGNING BOOKS AT THE CRUCIBLE THEATRE, SHEFFIELD AT THE LAUNCH OF ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’
to read a great review from Forge Valley Community School, Sheffield, on 'MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL' launch.
to read a review of ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ launch with exclusive pictures and comments from the brilliant Year 5 Everest Class, Sheffield.
THE TWO HOUR BOOK-SIGNINGFOLLOWING THE LAUNCH FOR ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL,’ AT THE CRUCIBLE THEATRE, SHEFFIELD.
STOP PRESS ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ IS SHORTLISTED FOR THE ROALD DAHL FUNNY PRIZE
‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ is one of six titles shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.
‘I am absolutely thrilled,’ says Pete, ‘especially as Roald Dahl is one of my favourite authors. It’s wonderful to have a prize celebrating funny books. Growing up, many of my favourite authors wrote fantastically funny books, Such as: Richmal Crompton, Anthony Buckeridge, Jane Shaw, P.G. Wodehouse, and of course, Roald Dahl. They certainly inspired me.’
Click here … to read more about ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL.’
BRILLIANT NEW COVERS FROM arsEdition
‘HELP! I’M A CLASSROOM GAMBLER’ launches in Germany as ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR TEACHER.’
'THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS' launches as 'HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD' (despite being under house arrest)
Pete says: ‘Great new title. And what a brilliant cover – full of energy and attitude. Take a bow Alexander Von Knorre who has designed all these top covers.’
Pete: 'The German covers of my books are something special, but I especially like this one. It's so funny and captures the spirit of the book exactly. TERRIFIC.'
PETE’S GREAT DAY AT THE LINCOLN FESITVAL
Firstly, Pete visited LINCOLN CASTLE ACADEMY, where he spoke to all of Year Seven pupils (some of whom are pictured above). ‘The pupils were so enthusiastic and responsive,’ says Pete, ‘There’s a real culture of reading here and the library is super. A number of books had their supporters but the runaway best-seller at Lincoln Castle Academy was, ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL.’
In the afternoon Pete went on to ST, MARY’S SCHOOL where he spoke to all the Year Five and Six pupils. ‘I was especially impressed by the pupils’ insightful and original questions. They also knew so much about my books. One girl told me she had read, ‘TRUST ME I’M A TROUBLEMAKER’ five times.
‘This was,’ says Pete, ‘a really special day.’
PETE’S TOP TEN BOOKS
Pete’s books have proved the way into reading for many young people inspiring one grateful parent to declare recently on Amazon. ‘This household loves Pete Johnson.’ But Pete has written over FORTY books. So what are PETE’S TOP TEN BOOKS? Here’s Part One of your choices and a big thank you to everyone for their selections.
PETE’S THREE FUNNIEST BOOKS
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS
DIARY OF AN (UN)TEENAGER
Featuring one of Pete’s best-loved characters, Louis The Laugh.
‘There’s plenty of humour in this book, alongside strong, emotional truth. It should be compulsory reading for parents as well as children.’ The Bookseller
‘A great book. I would recommend it to anyone who loves reading funny books.’ Guy, Amazon
Now, even when I’m relaxing after finishing acres of homework, one of them (at least) will be in a chair next to me. And not sitting quietly, toasting their toes by the fire like a proper parent. No,
they’re talking to me. And I could even tolerate that if they weren’t talking to me about history, algebra, or world affairs. They’re always trying to slip me something educational.
Featuring another favourite character Spencer, the boy who refuses to turn into a teenager.
‘I was so chuffed that my twelve year old son couldn’t put this down. It deals with puberty issues and young love. This household loves Pete Johnson.’ Novemberjo
Brief taster ‘I won’t have anything to do with designer clothes or girls or body-piercing or any of it … No, I shall let it all pass me by. Do you know what I’m going to be? An (Un)teenager.’ Book Club notes available from Barrington Stoke.
Hooray, ‘Louis the Laugh’ is back! ‘These Louis books are great, not just great but brilliant, cool, awesome and FUNNY. Read it now (I am not responsible if your heads explodes with laughter.’) Phoebe, Amazon
‘Very funny – reminded me very much of ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.’ NetMums
‘I really liked this book … the writing was so realistic that I would not change anything at all.’ Neon Mimi, The Guardian, Children’s Books.
‘We were all surging outside towards the car park when a voice shouted out of the darkness. ‘Yo everyone, hope you had a wicked time. But I’m looking for my blood. Is he here?’ Instantly an eerie silence descended on everyone – although if you’d listened really hard you could have heard my skin crawl. Everyone gaped open-mouthed at this middle-aged man in brand new trousers capering about in front of them.
Julie giggled and whispered. ‘Gross or what?’
I didn’t answer. I couldn’t. I’d just been shocked out of my brain.
PETE’S THREE SPOOKIEST BOOKS
THE GHOST DOG
‘Bought this book for my twelve year old son. He asked for this books as he had read a few pages at school and enjoyed it. He has really enjoyed reading this book as it is not often he finishes a book as he loses interest and concentration quickly. Should definitely recommend. Ms Leigh Griffiths, Amazon
Out of the darkness it came floating towards me. It had evil, red eyes. Blood poured out of its mouth. It was the ugliest, most horrible thing I had ever seen. And I’d brought it to life.
‘A gripping tale of friendship, revenge and an imagination, that has the power to make the unreal, real.’ Good Reads
‘Buy it because if you don’t, your life will never be the same again.’ Aaron, Amazon
In the middle of the night they came for me.
The first time I only heard them.
The next night I saw them too.
I looked into the darkness and there they were: THE FRIGHTENERS.
THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS
'This book is full of suspense and cliff-hangers – you just don’t know what’s going to happen. I just love this book.' Joyce Miranda. Amazon
‘Another fantastically written book by Pete Johnson. Packed full of adventure, comedy, laughs, intriguing characters and a little bit of blood. This is a must read.’ Scribbler
I’d just finished breakfast when Dad handed me a little bottle of blood. ‘Now we’d like you to take this to school with you. I expect you’re wondering why.’
‘Is it to pour over my chips?’
Book club notes on this website (The Vampire Hunters page) And on: Love Reading website. An excellent reading guide is also available from OUP (Rollercoasters)
The anti-bullying classic.
‘Read the first page and prepare to be hooked. Traitor is one of those delicious books that once started it is impossible to put down.’ Cindy Shanks, Helium.
‘I am a SEN Literacy Teacher … and would highly recommend it.’ Five Stars. M W Amazon
On Saturday morning they woke me up at a quarter past seven. Their text message was short and not at all sweet. PAY UP ON MONDAY OR ELSE. After seeing that I couldn’t stop shaking. In the end I put the blankets over my head and curled up tightly into a ball. Oh how I hated their messages. Hated them, hated them. HATED THEM.
The shivery tale with the unguessable ending.
‘Very readable with a skilful plot.’ The Observer
‘Pete Johnson is a wonderful storyteller.’ Evening Standard
‘The plot had me hooked from the first chapter. The story kept catching me off guard, especially the ending.’ Glasgow Herald
‘The fantastic twist when it comes is a real showstopper.’ Jonathan Weir, Amazon
Way up in the sky I spotted this really bright star. I didn’t think I’d ever seen a star glow and shine like this one.
‘Look at that,’ I cried.
But Sam was already looking at it.
Just fooling about I shouted out to the star. ‘Hey, you’re really skilful, come a bit nearer.’
That’s when it began to move.
The award-winning book club favourite.
‘Starting the day in tears is not usually a good thing, but when it is because a book has made you feel, I think it’s understandable. Great book, with some hard lessons learnt about friendship, love and loss.’ Bev, Good Reads
‘I didn’t mean,’ I began. But I couldn’t say anymore as Jake had rushed at me and sunk his fist into my stomach. I pitched forward, gasping for breath.
Jake whispered in my ear. ‘This is war now.’
AND WHAT IS THE TENTH BOOK? THAT IS FOR YOU TO DECIDE.
Let us know which Pete Johnson book you would pick by emailing email@example.com
Will it be one of the award-winning comedies? ‘TRUST ME I’M A TROUBLEMAKER,’ OR ‘HELP I’M A CLASSROOM GAMBLE,’ OR The acclaimed ‘THE TV TIME TRAVELLERS.’ OR The much loved ‘RESCUING DAD’ OR ….. IT’S UP TO YOU – Result to be announced at the beginning of November.
Acclaimed reading guides are also available on ‘THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS and ‘HOW TO GET FAMOUS’ from O.U.P. (Rollercoasters)
Letters from Canada about ‘TRAITOR.’
‘TRAITOR’ is Pete’s most discussed book in schools and libraries – and not just in the UK. Recently a whole class in Canada wrote to Pete about ‘Traitor.’ Here are some of their comments.
‘I really like ‘TRAITOR’ because of the format, the text messages and the characters. My favourite character is Mia because she really helped solve the problem. I think that this would a great book for anti-bullying week. I have no idea how you make such great stories. I suck at making stories.’ THOMAS
‘I love your book ‘TRAITOR.’ Every chapter leaves you waiting for more. Even the ending gives a slight hint of a sequel.’ MARYBETH
‘Hi, my name is Julie and I totally love your book ‘TRAITOR.’ Please write more books like ‘TRAITOR.’ My favourite part of ‘Traitor’ is when Tom, Mia and Oliver shoot the CIS in the face with water guns because I thought it was really funny.’ JULIANNE
‘Hi, my name is Selena. I really loved ‘TRAITOR,’ because it was very cool and serious. The scary part was when the bullies try to take the money away from Tom. ‘TRAITOR’ was awesome.’ SELENA
‘I really liked your book ‘TRAITOR.’ The CIS really jumped me into the story. I liked your back and forth battling by the CIS and Kids. I really think you’re the best author I’ve read.’ GREGG
‘Your book ‘TRAITOR; was amazing, very strong about bullying. But I’m begging you for a sequel. I want to see the CIS disappear for good.’ MEAGHAN
And a Literacy Teacher in Britain writes:
‘I am a SEN literacy teacher in a secondary school and ordered ‘Traitor’ as a class reader for Year 7 and 8 pupils. All of the pupils have thoroughly enjoyed it. It has also encouraged interesting discussions about growing up, friendship, peer pressure and issues surrounding it, I would highly recommend it.’ ***** M.W. Amazon review
PETE TALKS ABOUT READING FOR PLEASURE AT N.U.T. EVENT
Pete especially enjoys talking about reading for pleasure. A highlight of last year was his involvement in a special reading for pleasure day at Reading University.
So he is delighted to have been invited to speak on this topic at a one day NUT Conference on April 24th.
Pete will highlight his work with reluctant readers and some of the reading schemes he has been lucky enough to have been involved with. He will also give examples of how his books – notably ‘The Ghost Dog,’ ‘Traitor,’ ‘Eyes of the Alien,’ ‘How to Train Your Parents,’ ‘The Vampire Trilogyand ‘Diary of an (UN) Teenager,’ are being used in schools across the country now to promote a love of reading. ‘It’s really exciting,’ says Pete ‘to see all the brilliant and imaginative ways teachers and librarians are using my books. I’ve learnt a lot!’
‘Pete held pupils from 20 local schools spellbound in a brilliantly organised event at Ruddock Hall at King Edward’s School, Birmingham.’
It was just one of the highlights in Pete’s busiest year ever.
Click here … if you would like Pete to visit your school or library in 2013.
Pete is based in Hertfordshire but travels all over the country. His lively, interactive talks have earned special praise. He also offers Creative Writing Workshops – including much-requested Ghost Story telling workshops. Pete works with both primary and secondary school pupils.
PETE HOLDS THE CHINESE VERSION OF
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS.’
YOUNG patients trying to keep up with their studies were treated to a visit from top children’s author Pete Johnson.
The writer, whose work has sold more than two million copies, spent the day with students at the Children’s Hospital School in Leicester.
Pete is known for titles such as How to Train Your Parents, Rescuing Dad and The Ghost Dog. He talked about what it is like to be a writer and about his Vampire trilogy, which is being studied by the children who are too ill to attend school.
Peter Whelan, an English teacher at the hospital school said. ‘The visit was a great success. His novels appeal to both boys and girls. ‘He spent the morning at Willow Bank School in Eyres Monsell, where children who are still too ill to go to their normal school have lessons. In the afternoon he went to the classroom in the children’s hospital at Leicester Royal Infirmary where we also teach children.’
Danielle Brazier: 15, from Hinckley, and one of the students who met the author said. ‘It was very good. He was very funny. I haven’t read any of his books on vampires but I am definitely going to read them now. I don’t think I will be a writer though. I want to be a teacher.’ (Picture and story courtesy of Leicester Mercury)
THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS TOUR: One of the highlights was a superb event at Farringtons School, Chislehurst. The cutting above comes courtesy of The Bromley Times.
PETE AT THE BRIGHTON FESTIVAL
Pete meets the brilliant pupils and staff from Fairlight School, who have been studying The Vampire Blog as part of the ADOPT AN AUTHOR scheme in Brighton. The Vampire Blog inspired the pupils to write some superb stories – and meet Pete in monster costumes!
BOOKS IN THE NEWS
HOW TO GET FAMOUS
"I love Pete Johnson’s books – they’re so hilarious. How to Get Famous is 100% guaranteed to make you LOL. "
Freefallen YA reviews, Goodreads.
THE TV TIME TRAVELLERS
"Pete Johnson is one of my favourite children’s authors. The TV Time Travellers is an excellent way of introducing the genre of history as it contains WW2 evacuation with reality television. My big recommendation for him though is . . .
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS " . . . an excellent read for Wimpy Kids fans and highly rated by reading groups."
"If you like horror or scary books you’ll adore this book. ‘The Creeper’ is really exciting all the way through. This amazing book kept me on the edge of my seat." Wheatfield reviews (Amy)
HELP! I’M A CLASSROOM GAMBLER ONE OF THE GUARDIAN’S TOP TEN ‘LIBRARY’ BOOKS.
The Guardian invites Adam Lancaster, who has just been named - School Librarian of the Year, to pick his top ten favourite books that are set in libraries or have set his library alight.
One of his choices is HELP! I’M A CLASSROOM GAMBLER. He writes: ‘Pete Johnson was one of the first author events I ever organised and because of this and the humour in his books he plays a special part in my list. ‘Help ..’ is about making school life just that little bit more fun and interesting. Any Pete Johnson book flies off our shelves but ‘Help ..’ is definitely one of the most popular.’
Other books in Adam Lancaster’s list include: ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ by Jeff Kinney: ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl and ‘His Dark Materials’ by Philip Pullman.
"Wow, we finished reading our class novel today, The Ghost Dog. It was absolutely fantastic with some great characters and brilliant dark scenes. My favourite part has to be Blood fingers." Class Blog,
Newham Bridge School Blog, Middlesbrough
"My class would give this story The Ghost Dog 10 out of 10. My favourite character is the ghost dog, Billy." Jessica
"Pete Johnson creates a wonderful atmosphere. It was scary enough to make me read on with enjoyment. The Ghost Dog is the best book I’ve read in a long time." Francesca, Staffordshire Schools Blogs
HOTTEST TITLE: THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS
"The final book in the Vampire trilogy – although complete in itself – is Pete’s most eagerly awaited and talked about book.
"The Vampire Fighters is absolutely unputdownable. I loved the series and think The Vampire Fighters is the best of the three." Bookster reviews
Pete says: "Every author thinks their latest book is their best – and I’m no exception; but I think this is the most exciting story I’ve ever written, with, I hope, some unforgettable twists."
LATEST REVIEWS OF THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS
"I could not wait to read this book. The third in the series and I hope not the last. Just like the first two it was captivating. Fast-paced as the others and a very good story-line." ***** LESTAT, Amazon
"A funny captivating book. A brilliant book not just for kids but for adults too. Hopefully this won’t be the last in the series as I have enjoyed every minute reading them. Recommend it for 10/11+" ***** LILY CULLEN, Amazon
‘THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS’LAUNCHES IN GERMAN . . .
. . . BUT WITH A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TITLE
This August ‘The Vampire Hunters’ launches in Germany. Pete says, ‘Well, arsEdition have done it again with another brilliant cover – full of quirky humour which captures the spirit of the Vampire trilogy perfectly.’
But the title is completely different. In Germany ‘The Vampire Hunters’ is called ‘How to ignore your Parents' Advice.’ This is because books such as ‘How to Train your Parents,’ have proved especially popular in Germany.
"The Vampire Hunters – a plentiful supply of red herrings and side plots maintain the pace in this entertaining and original tale of the supernatural." THE BOOK TRUST
"The Vampire Blog – It was a real pleasure to read this because I’d read the second book first. I adored Tallulah especially the role she plays at the end. I nearly cried at the end for what she had ultimately sacrificed." Nayu’s Reading Corner
“THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS is absolutely unputdownable. I raced through it, it was so addictive and I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t want it to end. I cannot recommend this series enough. Read it then give it to every child you know.” Rating 5/5 booksterreviews Click here to read full review
“I seriously loved The Vampire Blog. It was funny, spooky and addictive and I really did love Marcus. I can’t wait for my next Marcus hit.” The Book addicted Girl
“I loved this series and I think The Vampire Fighters is the best of the three. It was a fantastic end to the trilogy. Of course we were treated to more wit and hilarity as per usual but The Vampire Fighters was slightly more serious than the other books. If you haven’t read the series yet, please do soon. You won’t regret it.” Booksterreviews
"THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS: I’d forgotten how funny this series was – I think this is the most hilarious volume yet with poor Marcus at his wit’s end.” Nayu’s Reading Corner
PETE NAMED OUP AUTHOR OF THE MONTH
"Vampires, celebrities and comedy – Pete Johnson offers an ideal combination to get students reading."
Oxford University Press celebrates Pete, and two of his greatest books: THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS, and HOW TO GET FAMOUS, which are available as ROLLERCOASTERS READERS. These are special editions, supported by extensive teachers’ resources on line, and student focused Reading Guides.
Pete says ‘I am thrilled OUP have selected me as their Author of the Month as the Rollercoasters editions are really special, offering so much stimulating material as a way into various aspects of my novels.’
THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS
"If you think your students have read all there is to know about vampires, they need to think again. Pete Johnson’s novel adds a delicious twist to the genre." Oxford University Press
HOW TO GET FAMOUS
"You’re drawn into Toby’s obsession to try and get famous, experiencing his confusion as he waits for his life to catch up with his dreams. It’s so funny in parts that even my eleven year old daughter (who read it with me) laughed out loud." Lynne Johnson, Northern England Secondary Sales Consultant."
“HOW TO GET FAMOUS ***** is an awesome book that teaches U a lesson about fame. Get this book." Google Books User review
The first draft was written when I was suffering from gastric flu. I seemed to be ill forever – and the only highlight of my day was when I crawled downstairs to tell the story of a monster who jumped into people’s dreams.
This book was my first big hit and won two prizes. You never quite know why certain books strike a special chord, you’re just so happy when one does. But THE GHOST DOG is really a story about the power of imagination. I especially like the scenes where the children try and tame the monster they’ve created – but it’s nowhere near as easy as they expect. And, despite all their efforts, THE GHOST DOG is still out there, terrorising their dreams . . .
SPOOKIEST CHAPTER – Chapter Six – when the Ghost Dog follows Daniel out of his dream. Also available in GHOST TROUBLEwith The Creeper, and as an e-book
I don’t normally write sequels. But readers really wanted me to return to Marcus and Tallulah from THE VAMPIRE BLOG and so I did. But to justify another book I had to raise the stakes. So in this book I introduced a new, deadly vampire who believed human blood (despite its sour taste) would bring it new, undreamt of powers if drunk in sufficient quantities – while draining humans of their life, of course.
Marcus is warned these deadly vampires are utterly ruthless. And he discovers just how ruthless, when in a shocking twist he finds out who the deadly vampire is. I’ve never had a character in greater danger . . .
SPOOKIEST CHAPTER – Chapter Twenty Six – when Marcus and Tallulah are confronted by the deadly vampire – without any means of escape. The Vampire Hunters is also available as an e-book and as an unabridged audio from AudioGo.
The Creeper is a horrific creature who haunts wrong-doers at night. The first sign that he is nearby is a tapping on your window. And one night (a time when I often work on spooky tales) as I was writing The Creeper I heard a ghostly tapping on my window. Then I smiled and told myself it was only the trees knocking against the window. I carried on writing until I remembered there were no trees outside my window . . .
So yes, The Creeper is the story where I actually scared myself. It’s the tale of Lucy, who finds an old tape about "The Creeper." Lucy’s nightmare really begins when the tape starts to come alive in her bedroom. I’ve visited schools and libraries where pupils argue passionately about which tale is scarier – The Ghost Dog or The Creeper.
You decide . . .
SPOOKIEST CHAPTER – Chapter Thirteen (!) When Lucy discovers she is not alone at night. Something stirs in her bedroom and it comes gliding towards her as: ‘Lightly and easily as a ghost.’ The Creeper is available in the bumper horror book GHOST TROUBLE (with The Ghost Dog) It is also now available alone
(ISBN 0440863929), as an e-book and as an unabridged audio from AudioGo.
Where do ideas come from? Well occasionally a fragment of conversation is enough. So once I heard about a boy who everyone was scared of because he claimed he could put spells on people. That was enough to set my imagination racing.
So in The Frighteners, Chloe starts at a new school and is picked on, until a small boy called Aidan comes to her aid. Everyone seems terrified of him and one day Chloe discovers why. If you annoy Aidan, he will slip a picture into your bag. A picture of "The Frighteners" who will stalk you forever . . .
SPOOKIEST CHAPTER – Chapter Ten. When Chloe is haunted by The Frighteners on a trip to the cinema. The Frighteners is also available as an e-book and as an unabridged audio from AudioGo.
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM PETE TO HIS GERMAN FANS:
EINE SONDERNACHRICHT AN MEINE DEUTSCHEN FANS
Hi, welch eine Freude zu hören, dass Euch meine Bücher, besonders die lustigen, so viel Spass machen. Das ist wirklich tolle Nachricht für mich.
Im August wird mein neues Buch von arsEdition veröffentlicht. Da findet Ihr, so denke ich, eine meiner lustigsten Szenen mit Markus in einer blinden Verabredung im Kino und einer fehlenden Flasche Blut.
Ich hoffe, es macht Euch auch wieder viel Spass.
Nochmals tausend Dank für Euer Interesse und Euern Beistand.
THE GREAT GERMAN COVERS QUIZ
Pete's books have a strong following in Germany and Pete is a big fan of the covers. "They're stylish and vivid and have a great spirit," says Pete.
Here are three of Pete’s most popular books in Germany. Can you work out which books they are? As a clue, the first line of each book is given beside the cover.
1."I think I’ve arrived somewhere weird."
2. "Dear Aunty Prue, I never thought I’d be writing to a problem page."
3. "Three things you never want to hear your parents say."
You can find the correct answers at the very bottom of this page. How many did you get right?
The next Pete Johnson book to be published in Germany is The Vampire Hunters in August. Look out for the cover on this website soon. "It’s a corker," says Pete.
NEWS NEWS NEWS
COMING SOON:A GREAT NEW EDITION OF ‘THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS.’
‘THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS’has been chosenby OUP as one of the newtitles in their acclaimed Rollercoasters series. This will include a reading guide and suggestions for follow-up activities. More details are here at the OUP website.Rollercoasters already publish a special edition of Pete’s ‘HOW TO GET FAMOUS’. Full details here.
PETE’S NEXT BOOK – EXCLUSIVE NEWS
Having now finished The Vampire trilogy, Pete will be returning to his most popular ever book: ‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS.’ ‘I have had so many requests to write a sequel,’ says Pete. ‘But I’ve never had a good enough idea, until now.’ The sequel will be called; ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL.’ More details soon, only on this website.
EXCLUSIVE: READING GROUP QUESTIONS ON THE VAMPIRE BLOG AND THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS
"In my opinion ‘The Vampire Blog’ is one of the best books I have ever read."
"I really like ‘The Vampire Blog’ – it is very exciting for girls and boys and the format is unusual."
Just two of the comments sent to Pete by the reading group at Lent Rise Combined School, Slough. Pete says: ‘A number of my books such as ‘Traitor,’ and ‘How to train your Parents,’ are popular with reading groups, but ‘The Vampire Blog,’ and ‘The Vampire Hunters,’ are proving the most popular of all. I love reading all the comments from groups all over the country. Please keep sending me the feedback.’
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR READING GROUPS (Thanks to all the teachers for their help with this)
THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS FOR THE LAUNCH OF PETE’S MOST EAGERLY AWAITED BOOK
First came The Vampire Blog . . . The award-winning comedy horror story about Marcus, the reluctant half-vampire. “The dialogue really sparkles but a goodly dollop of fangly terror too. Perfect.” Jill Murphy,The Bookbag READ MORE
. . . then came The Vampire Hunters . . . Spencer is determined he will never turn into a teenager with hilarious results.
‘Looking for something for someone who’s read the entire Wimpy Kid series. These are the books to choose. Definitely another winner from Pete Johnson.’ Bookmark READ MORE
AND NOW PETE HAS FINISHED THE FINAL BOOK IN THE TRILOGY . . .
THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS
Marcus and Tallulah battle the truly terrifying Blood Ghost – and are challenged as never before.
SHOCKING TWISTS AND BIG SURPRISES AWAIT THEM – AND YOU – SOON. Published June 2012.
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ Louis is suffering from parent fatigue – until he meets Maddy who teaches him the four secrets of parent training ...
‘In Louis Pete Johnson has created a boy who makes you laugh out loud.’ Sunday Times
‘THE (Un)TEENAGER BOOKS' Spencer is determined he will never turn into a teenager with hilarious results.
‘Looking for something for someone who’s read the entire Wimpy Kid series. These are the books to choose. Definitely another winner from Pete Johnson.’ Bookmark
‘TRUST ME I’M A TROUBLEMAKER’ What happens when Miranda, the rebel of the school, decides to ‘reform’ it’s biggest swot, Archie.
‘Excruciatingly funny.’ The Times
‘A lovely, funny book.’ School Librarian
‘RUNAWAY TEACHER’ Can a teacher ever be your mate?
A much talked about comedy.
‘Comically tragic. Pete Johnson makes us really care about the characters.’Glasgow Herald ‘Runaway Teacher shows in a simple but brilliant way that teachers can be human too.’ Getting Reading: Reading Matters Blog
‘HELP! I’M A CLASSROOM GAMBLER.’ "All I did at lunchtime was turn into a gorilla. And you can’t tell me that’s against schools rules, because it isn’t." Harvey thinks he’s made an incredible, sensational discovery. Has he really found a secret way to stop school ever being boring again?
WINNER OF TW0 PRIZES.
‘Johnson uses humour to pack a potent message.’ School Librarian
‘RESCUING DAD’ "Maybe I could improve Dad a bit too, sort out his appearance for a start. And teach him how to be a bit more useful about the house. And how to cook a few meals. Up to now all Dad’s cooked in his life is toast. Well, that’s going to have to change." Joe and Claire think they know why Mum chucked Dad out. He’s a mess. Something must be done to transform him into a Dad Mark Two – and fast.
‘Pete Johnson is a wonderful storyteller.’ Evening Standard
AudioGo present an unabridged audio of ‘bat-tastic’ ‘The Vampire Hunters,’ narrated by Daniel Hill.
"The Vampire Hunters is perfect for spooky listening, ‘packed full of adventure, comedy, laughs, intriguing characters and a little bit of blood. A must read." The Scribbler
And a must listen too!
THREE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2011
‘THE VAMPIRE BLOG’ WINS - THE BRILLIANT BOOK AWARD.
Pete says: "It was such exciting news and it now has a great new cover with the ‘win’ highlighted on the front".
‘THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS’ LAUNCHES TO RAVE REVIEWS AND IS MADE BLUE PETER BOOK OF THE MONTH.
Pete says: "I’ve never had so many encouraging reviews before. I’m extremely grateful."
QUOTE OF THE YEAR (used in a review of ‘Diary of an (Un)Teenager’)
"Pete Johnson is the unsung hero of entertaining writing that delights both the proficient and reluctant reader. He has such a warm, humane sense of ridiculous humour that has you laughing in loud snorts, just as you’re fighting tears of empathy." Ink Pellet
Pete says: "This quote has followed me everywhere – it’s even been debated at conferences. Many teachers and librarians tell me they are now recommending my books to pupils who are looking to move on from The Wimpy Kid books."
PUPILS SHOULD LEARN ABOUT GAMBLING AT SCHOOL
‘All school children school should learn about risk, probability and how to gamble responsibility,’ says Charity GAMCARE
BOOKS OF THE MONTH: PETE'S TWO ANTI-BULLYING BOOKS, ‘TRAITOR’ AND ‘AVENGER.’
Pete will be talking about these books at schools around the country. Here he answers some of your questions . . .
(Q) ‘Traitor’ is about someone being bullied on the way home from school, while ‘Avenger’ is about a boy being picked on by a whole class. Did any of this happen to you?
PETE: Yes it did. I changed schools when I was twelve. And while I was popular at my old school (honestly) I wasn’t so popular at my new school. For a while I was totally on my own. I never forgot what that felt like and used some of those feelings ………….in ‘Traitor’ and ‘Avenger.’
(Q) Where did you get the idea of the girl gang in ‘Traitor?’
PETE: That came about when I was interviewing pupils. One girl told me how she’d been in a girl gang for a while, and loved the feeling of power at first. But when she tried to leave the gang they turned on her. ‘Traitor' is still one of the very few books to feature a girl gang.
(Q) I love the part in ‘Traitor’ when they ambush the girl gang with water pistols. Was that based on real life?
PETE: No, that was pure imagination. But I did rehearse that scene with my nephews. We all had brilliant fun squirting each other with water pistols for one whole afternoon – and all in the interest of research!
(Q) ‘Traitor’ and ‘Avenger’ have been nominated for and won prizes. Do you think they are two of your best books?’
PETE: Yes I do. They were especially demanding to write. I had to trawl down deep inside me for some of the scenes. But it’s wonderful when pupils write to me identifying with some of those feelings. One of the best things books can do is show us we’re not on our own.
‘TRAITOR’ and ‘AVENGER’ are also available from AudioGo (unabridged readings) ‘TRAITOR’ is also available as an ebook.
‘There is real menace in ‘Traitor’ and the accessible story offers food for thought – not easy answers.’ The Bookseller
EXCLUSIVE – BRILLIANT NEW COVER FOR‘THE VAMPIRE BLOG’
Pete tells you all about it . . .
I only intended to write one book about half-vampire, Marcus. But ‘The Vampire Blog’ created such a buzz that I began to wonder if I could write a sequel (which could also be read as a book-alone)
The characters Marcus and Tallulah so interested me, I wanted to find out much more about them. Soon I was imagining all sorts of exciting and spooky situations and wrote ‘The Vampire Hunters’ – perhaps the most warmly received of all my books. And people loved not only the book but ‘The Vampire Hunters’ cover so much, that Random decided to re-design ‘The Vampire Blog’ cover – which I think looks absolutely stunning. Hope you like it too.
I have now just finished the third and final Vampire book, ‘The Vampire Fighters,’ which brings the story to a highly dramatic ending. Already I’m missing the characters – and the deadly vampires!
Look out for an exclusive extract from ‘The Vampire Fighters’ and a first peek at its cover here – soon!
REMEMBER, YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM‘THE CREEPER’ (Especially as it is returning at HALLOWEEN)
‘THE CREEPER’ one of Pete’s spookiest tales, has only been available for a while as part of ‘Ghost Trouble.’ But now, in response to demand from discerning readers, ‘The Creeper’ is back on its own.
‘Pete Johnson brings us a story that is scary and spooky. Readers will love it.’ The Bookseller
‘Children will devour this title, but will close the final pages with more than a little food for thought.’ Jonathan Weir, Amazon
‘Well-written, and it is easy to understand why Pete Johnson is such a popular author with children and teenagers. While Johnson’s books are a good read, I think they are appealing to reluctant readers because of their pace and content. It is a good class novel for the teacher to read to all the children, and can be used as a starting point for such topics as fear and friendship.’ Cindy Shanks, Helium review
‘THE CREEPER’ is also available from AudioGo (unabridged). And from 31st October as an ebook.
‘GHOST TROUBLE’ features both ‘The Ghost Dog’ and ‘The Creeper’ in one volume.
LATEST REVIEWS OF PETE’S MOST TALKED ABOUT BOOK EVER: THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS
"A series that has been a wonderful concept from start to finish, a character that readers can associate with, which when backed with some cracking twists that many won’t see coming and it’s a story that really was a lot of fun to read." Tatty’s Treasure Chest (searching for Gems within Young Adults/Children Literature)
"The plot of The Vampire Hunters is entertaining and the characters are well developed. There are enough twists and turns to make the story unpredictable and compelling. A really nice addition to the vampire genre, geared to the Middle Grade age group. A PERFECT ADDITION TO THE SCHOOL LIBRARY." Book Angel Booktopia
Harvey thinks school should be more fun. And one day he makes a sensational discovery. He’s found a secret way to stop school ever being boring again . . .
Find out what it is and what happens when Harvey puts his plan into action in Help! I'm a Classroom Gambler.
"This was a fantastic break from all the fantasy and angst-y books I usually read. ‘Help! I’m a Classroom Gambler,’ was humorous and witty … everything was just fun. Made me laugh all the way through and I could really get in the character’s shoes. Really cool. Five stars." Megha ‘GOOD READS’
HELP! I’M A CLASSROOM GAMBLER is also available as an unabridged audio book from Chivers and as an ebook.
"PETE JOHNSON’S STORIES ARE PERFECT FOR RELUCTANT BOY (AND GIRL) READERS."The Book Zone (for Boys)
DIARY OF AN (UN)TEENAGER
"I gave ‘Diary of an (Un)Teenager’ to my 12 year old dyslexic son who is a reluctant reader. He thought it was fab and asked whether there were any more in the series . . ." M.M.Lovatt – Amazon
There is a sequel called: RETURN OF THE (UN)TEENAGER
"Looking for something for someone who’s read the entire Wimpy Kid series then, Return of the (Un)Teenager is the book to choose." Bookworm, Amazon
THE GHOST DOG
"Open the book, read the first sentence and Pete Johnson will hook you right away into the story. A fast read children will love to discover." Cindy Shark, Helium reviews
THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS
"Is very exciting and I was very sad when it ended. The twist at the end is great." Thomas Bilton (age 11) The Sun
"I cannot recommend The Vampire Hunters highly enough. It is an absolute delight to read and it ticks all the right boxes for its targeted audience: exciting, funny, a bit scary, current. I can only hope that’s not the last we have seen of Marcus. So cross fingers, this series will be a trilogy at least." Library Mice
"One of my favourite parts was when Marcus flitted on his own. Bat-tastic. I happily give this vampire book 9/10" Nayu’s Reading Corner
PRAISE FOR RETURN OF THE (UN)TEENAGER
‘LOOKING FOR SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE WHO’S READ THE ENTIRE WIMPY KIDS SERIES? ‘RETURN OF THE (UN)TEENAGER’ IS THE BOOK TO CHOOSE. DEFINITELY ANOTHER WINNER FROM PETE JOHNSON.’ Bookworm, Amazon
‘Perfect for reluctant or struggling teen readers. Action packed with a real page turning quality about it.’ Julia Eccleshare, Lovereading4kids
‘RETURN OF THE (UN)TEENAGER’ LATEST REVIEW
"Spencer, at thirteen is resisting the pressure to leave the familiar, comforting world of childhood behind. Something that is so easy to identify with and yet often hard to admit to. Spencer gives all the doubts and insecurities a voice and in doing so, perhaps offers a refuge to others at the same stage …The book ends on a rewarding and nicely comic note too." Linda Sargent, Armadillo
Click here … to read more about Spencer the unteenager in ‘RETURN OF THE (UN)TEENAGER.’
Click here … to read more about the first book about Spencer the unteenager in ‘DIARY OF AN (UN)TEENAGER.'
THE VAMPIRE BLOG WINS THE NOTTINGHAMSHIRE BRILLIANT BOOK AWARD
Pete’s comedy-horror The Vampire Blog has just won the 2011 Nottinghamshire Brilliant Book Award. Pete says: ‘I’m walking on air, absolutely thrilled especially as it was such a strong shortlist and it was the children and teenagers – who picked the winner.’
The Vampire Blog has also just been short listed for The Redbridge Children’s Book Award.
PETE JOHNSON - ‘THE UNSUNG HERO OF ENTERTAINING WRITING.’ AN EXTRACT FROM A NEW ARTICLE BY A LEADING REVIEWER
"Pete Johnson is the unsung hero of entertaining writing that delights both the proficient and the reluctant reader. He has such a warm, humane sense of ridiculous humour that has you laughing in loud snorts, just as you’re fighting tears of empathy.
"Many a reading-phobe has become an eager reader after trying one of Pete Johnson’s many books. ‘HOW EMBARRASSING IS THAT?’ is a good place to start the pupil who hates reading, while ‘HELP I’M A CLASSROOM GAMBLER and ‘TRUST ME, I’M A TROUBLEMAKER,’ are perfect for those too busy being wriggly to read. It’s actually all of Pete Johnson’s writing that I urge you to introduce your students to in our quest to promote entertaining reading." Edna Hobbs, Ink Pellet – the Arts Magazine for Teachers
‘SPOTLIGHT’ ON ‘THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS.’
Children’s Reading Partners have just selected The Vampire Hunters as one of their three Key Stage 2 June Spotlight titles. Pete says: ‘All publishers submit titles for this so I’m really excited that The Vampire Hunters, has been chosen.’ Look out for more details about this on The Reading Agency website and Reading Zone.
THE VAMPIRE BLOG IS AN AUDIO BESTSELLER
Pete Johnson‘s ‘The Vampire Blog,’ is proving to be one of Pete’s most popular audios. On its launch, actually breaking into the AudioGo Top Ten.
"Reading a novel by Pete Johnson will leave you breathless and have you in stitches. Like many gifted authors, he has the ability to immediately draw you into a book until you find yourself reading at all hours, hardly able to wait for the conclusion. One such book is TRAITOR. As soon as I had read the first few lines I knew I had to continue." Cindy Sharks – Helium: British Authors
Click here … to read more about ‘the anti-bullying classic TRAITOR.
TWO OF PETE JOHNSON BOOKS YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO PUT DOWN
Bumper horror containing two of Pete’s prize-winning, eerie tales, The Ghost Dog (also available separately) and The Creeper.
‘I thought this book was a very scary read. The second story, The Creeper,really frightened me – quickly the author placed me in the book, feeling the characters’ emotions.' BOOKWORM, St Margaret’s Academy, Scotland
‘A compulsive read, not for the faint-hearted.’ SCHOOL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION Books to Enjoy
‘A superb tale … this title cannot be recommended highly enough.’ Jonathan Weir – Amazon
‘Really good stuff.’ Cool Reads
NEW ON AUDIOGO
Hear the audio or download the full unabridged story of ‘THE VAMPIRE BLOG.’
Many of Pete’s most popular books are also available on Audiogo, the anti-bullying classic 'TRAITOR.’ ‘The absolutely hilarious’ HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS, as well as teen favourites such as ‘FAKING IT,’ about a boy who girls like – but only as a friend, and the powerful, highly-acclaimed ‘HERO GAME,’ about a boy who makes a shocking discovery about his grandfather’s past.
‘HAVE YOU READ PETE JOHNSON BOOKS? – THEY ARE SCARY BUT AWESOME!’ Kids on the net.org
AVENGER: ‘I loved this story – it was thrilling, with a few unexpected twists here and there. It is a story you shouldn’t miss out on.’ Alexander (from parents by parents – children’s book reviews)
THE HERO GAME: ‘I really enjoyed this book and yet again Pete Johnson has dealt with modern issues cleanly and concisely.’ Max Naar aged 13 (Lion and Unicorn Book reviews)
HOW TO GET FAMOUS: ‘A very good read. I would recommend it to anyone who would like to be famous when they grow up.’ Grace Hill (Book reviews –Redcap, Cleveland Community)
NATIONAL ANTI-BULLYING WEEK, 15 – 19 NOVEMBER 2010 BOOK OF THE MONTH: THE ANTI-BULLYING CLASSIC, TRAITOR
‘Pete Johnson’s skilfully written dialogue takes us into the story on the first page and gives the book a strong sense of immediacy and truth. There is real menace here, as the accessible story offers food for thought – not easy answers.’ The Bookseller
‘I think ‘Traitor’ was amazing. It really showed what keeping quiet about bullying can lead you to. This is a brilliant book and I would give it 10/10.’ Putnoe Lisa Masango. Bedfordshire Libraries review
‘This book is great. One of Pete Johnson’s many thriller/horrors. IT CHILLS YOUR SPINE.’ Neemtree (aged 10), FIRST NEWS Children’s Newspaper
See also AVENGER. ‘This book tackles, as do so many of Pete Johnson’s books, issues that trouble many young people today. It is about a boy who learns to confront his tormentor and makes him realise that bullying is wrong.’ Lincolnshire School Improvement Service
This is the latest title Pete has written for the award-winning publisher Barrington Stoke, ‘which has cornered the market for books for less robust readers.’ (The Guardian)
Pete's acclaimed Barrington Stoke titles include:
Runaway Teacher. What happens when a young teacher would rather hang out with the pupils – than his fellow teachers? A much talked about story. A favourite with book groups. ‘Comically tragic … Pete Johnson really makes us care about the characters.’ (Glasgow Herald) ‘Highly recommended.’ (The School Librarian)
How Embarassing is That? A competition to find out who has the most embarrassing parents? An award-winning comedy. ‘The characteristically profundity of Pete’s Johnson’s social comment is made accessible via the grasp of the palliative qualities of the comic.' (Achuka)
Shut It! In a protest against his life Ben decides he’s not going to speak for a month – with surprising and very funny results.
Liar. ‘I read this with a thirteen-year-old and it’s got him reading again. A book about the true value and fragility of friendship … and a great starting point for a much worthwhile discussion.' (Carousel)
Diary of an (Un)Teenager. Quite simply one of Pete’s best-loved comedies. The story of thirteen year old Spencer, who decides he is not going to turn into that most terrible of all things: a teenager. ‘A very amusing look at that slightly uncomfortable transitional phase between childhood and adolescence. A compelling read.’ (Book Trust)
"The Spook School books are a fantastically, humorous series from a widely admired children’s author, who really know how to get children reading." Julia Eccleshare, www.lovereading4kids.co.uk
"Lair of the Mothman is one of the sweetest laugh out loud funny stories I’ve ever had the honour to read." www.myfavouritebooks.com
How many Spook School books have you collected?
Two of Pete’s best-loved book are ‘Bug Brother’ and ‘Pirate Brother.’ Now read a brand new book about Jamie, his annoying brother Harry, his best friend Reema and – that magic cape, which sometimes grants wishes!! This time Harry wishes on the cape to become invisible with hilarious and exciting results … Click here to read an extract
‘BUG BROTHER IS WELL-WRITTEN WITH A REAL SENSE OF HUMOUR AND WILL APPEAL TO BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS.’ Write Away
HOW TO GET FAMOUS OUT IN OUP Rollercoaster Edition . . .
Pete’s award winning comedy about fame and celebrity is published in a great new educational edition by OUP (Rollercoaster) As well as the sparkling story this edition includes a special booklet considering why be famous (the rewards and down side) as well as a key analysis of how the book is written and a letter from Pete Johnson introducing some of the book’s themes. THIS WILL PROVIDE A GREAT STIMULUS FOR CLASS DISCUSSIONS ON SOME OF THE MOST TALKED ABOUT TOPICS TODAY.
"Tobey’s comic capers make for a humorous and affectionately told story that is elevated through the characteristic social comments and human observations that permeate the author’s work." Jake Hope, Achuka
. . . AND GETS VOTED SHEFFIELD LIBRARIES FAVOURITE BOOK
How to Get Famous, the ‘really funny book on the pitfalls of the fame game’ (Writeaway), has won the Sheffield Community Libraries prize for their favourite children’s book.
Pete says, ‘Sheffield has a special place in my affections, so this prize means a great deal to me. Hearing the list of previous winners of this award, including the marvellous The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, makes me also feel very honoured to be in such great company.’
How to Get Famous, described as ‘a thoroughly, good-hearted and entertaining book with lots of humour and witty dialogue,’ (School Librarian) will also be available in a special edition for schools soon (Pub. Oxford University Press) with notes and discussion points.
THE TV TIME TRAVELLERS SHORTLISTED FOR TWO REGIONAL PRIZES
It’s just been announced that The TV Time Travellers has been shortlisted for the Leeds Children’s Book Award. Recently it has also been shortlisted for the East Sussex Book of the Year Award. The TV Time Travellers is proving to be one of Pete’s most popular books.
‘The TV Time Travellers is another great humorous book from critically acclaimed Pete Johnson.’ Literacy Times
‘The TV Time Travellers ultra modern concept, sassy characters and humorous asides all contribute to make this a highly accessible and engaging book.’ The Bookseller
A NEW BARRINGTON STOKE: SHUT IT!
Some of Pete’s best-loved stories are published by Barrington Stoke, including the acclaimed comedy, Diary of an (Un)teenager, about a boy who dreads becoming a teenager. (Pete is currently writing a sequel to this one) and The Best Holiday Ever, about a group of teenagers on their first-ever holiday abroad without parents, offering ‘riotous humour and action a-plenty from a master of the comedy genre.’ The perfect holiday read, in fact.
Pete’s new book, The TV Time Travellers, had a fantastic launch (above) at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield on Wednesday 10th June. This special event was co-ordinated by The Sheffield School Library Service and Random Children’s Publishers. Over 800 children packed into the theatre. Afterwards there was a sensational book-signing at which over 600 books were sold. The queue at Pete’s book-signing (left) snaked right round the theatre. Pete said: “This is quite simply the best launch I’ve ever had.”
• Children’s Reading Partners have chosen The TV Time Travellers as their Key Stage 2 title for the June SPOTLIGHTS promotion. This is a promotion to highlight a small selection of titles every month in libraries. The titles have been chosen by The Reading Agency and are the books they felt would have a particular appeal in libraries.
• St Philips Church in Leicester is marking their centenary with a special time capsule, which they will be burying on Sunday June 7th. Pete is ‘thrilled’ that the book they have selected for this is The TV Time Travellers. The capsule will not be opened for fifty years.
BOYS INTO BOOKS
Pete is continuing his ‘Boys into Book,’ events – he has now visited over fifteen different library authorities this year – at Surrey Libraries and Battersea Libraries. He will be visiting schools and libraries in Golders Green, Teddington, Basildon, Rickmansworth, Hockley, South Kensington and Orpington. He will also be presenting the Creative Writing Competition prizes for Tower Hamlets School Library Service. Pete judged the entries which were of a very high standard indeed.
Key Choice for June
The TV Time Travellers, Pete’s new book, has been selected by The Bookseller as a key choice for June. ‘A highly accessible and engaging book. Not to be missed.’ Click here to read the full review.
In the book, five children are picked to travel back in time seventy years to the start of World War II and be evacuated, accompanied by TV cameras. How will modern children cope with the rigours of war-time life – not to mention being filmed for a reality show?
Some book group fans in Hertfordshire conducted an exclusive interview with Pete about this amazing new book. Click here to read it.
This is an eagerly awaited book looking both at reality television and World War II. The anniversary of the start of World War II is September 3rd 1939. Look out for more about this top title soon, in addition to Pete’s other new books, including the first two titles in a brand new series, ‘Spook School,’ (Stripes Publishing)
On the road with Pete
Pete has started an action-packed schedule of events by addressing a conference for English teachers in Telford on ‘Reaching the Reluctant Reader.’ Over the next few weeks he will be visiting schools, libraries and bookshops in Northwood, Bushey, Wolverhampton, Hertford, Hatfield, Fleet, Enfield, Royston, East Croydon and Gillingham. He is also judging a major writing competition for Tower Hamlets and taking part in ‘Adopt an Author’ with a school in Brighton. Later he will meet the pupils at the Brighton Festival.
How to Get Famous shortlisted for two top regional prizes
The comedy about two children who are determined to get famous – and hailed by The School Librarian as ‘thoroughly good hearted and entertaining book,’ has been shortlisted for the Leicester Best Book of the Year Award and The Sheffield Children’s Book of the Year Award.
Five new titles in 2009 . . .
2008 was a comparatively quiet year for Pete with just the appearance of one major title: ‘How To Get Famous.’ However, 2009 looks like being his busiest ever with the launch of FIVE – yes, FIVE new books and the reissue of an old favourite: ‘Bug Brother,’ in April.
The first of Pete’s NEW books, published in June is 'The TV Time Travellers,’ (Corgi Yearling) – five children are picked to travel back in time seventy years to the start of World War II and be evacuated, accompanied by TV cameras. How will modern children cope with the rigours of war-time life – not to mention being filmed for a reality show?
This is an eagerly awaited book looking both at reality television and World War II. The anniversary of the start of World War II is September 3rd 1939. Look out for more about this top title soon, in addition to Pete’s other new books, including the first two titles in a brand new series, ‘Spook School,’ (Stripes Publishing)
STOP PRESS: How To Get Famous has just been shortlisted for the Leicester Best Book Award 2009. The shortlist and the winner is chosen by children.
Pete gets 'adopted' . . .
Pete continues his highly successful ‘Boys into Books’ tour into the Spring … he has events with Wirral, Northampton, East Croydon and Kent Libraries. He will also be judging this year’s Tower Hamlets Creative Writing Competition and is being ‘adopted’ by a school in conjunction with Brighton Festival – more details to follow.
BUG BROTHER IS BACK!
One of Pete’s best-loved books is ‘BUG BROTHER.’ This is the comic fantasy about a boy, Jamie, who finds a magic cape – and accidentally turns his annoying brother into a bluebottle. This sparkling novel for younger readers has been unavailable for a while, but returns in April 2009 in a super new edition with Catnip.
The second book about the magic cape, ‘PIRATE BROTHER’ – in which Jamie conjures up a boy pirate out of a story – is available with Puffin. Pete is now working on a third book about Jamie and his magic cape called: ‘INVISIBLE BROTHER,’ which will also be published by Catnip in 2009.
Meanwhile, there are plans for a special stage adaptation of ‘BUG BROTHER.’ Keep watching the website for exclusive details.
‘HOW TO GET FAMOUS’ SHORTLISTED FOR TOP REGIONAL PRIZE
‘HOW TO GET FAMOUS,’ – Pete’s latest book about two children’s dream of fame has been shortlisted for The Coventry Inspiration Book Award in the ‘Raring to Read’ category. The 2008 Awards attracted over 350,000 hits to the website. myvotescoventry.org
HOW TO GET FAMOUS was also been selected as September Book of the Month by www.teachit.co.uk (Book Group), a brilliant resources site for teachers. And, HOW TO GET FAMOUS will soon be an eBook, available from Waterstones.com and other online retailers.
READ HOW PETE TRIED TO GET FAMOUS – ONLY ON THIS WEBSITE! CLICK HERE!
WHICH OF PETE’S BOOKS ARE ESPECIALLY POPULAR WITH BOYS?
SIX KEY TITLES . . .
Horror: THE GHOST DOG A terrifying ghost story starts to come true. Horror: THE FRIGHTENERS What terrible power does a mysterious schoolboy possess? Thriller: TRAITOR A boy finds himself terrorised by a gang – of girls. Thriller:AVENGER When the whole school turns against one boy, he asks for help from a ghost! Comedy:RESCUING DAD What happens when you try and do a ‘groundforce’ on your dad? A Dads/Lads favourite. Comedy:HELP! I’M A CLASSROOM GAMBLER Has a schoolboy hero really found a secret way to stop school ever being boring again?
A new list of ‘Riveting Reads’ has been compiled at the request of ministers in an attempt to encourage more reading. The list, compiled by the School Library Association, wanted to highlight some of the best books that have been published in recent years. Among their recommended reads is ‘The Bad Spy’s Guide’ (Here and Now Category)
The review reads: "Pete Johnson writes very fine books for the young and always seems to be in tune with their thoughts, attitudes and concerns. In this book a mild-seeming new boy claims to have been recruited as a spy and persuades James Bond and Sherlock Holmes fan, Tasha to let him use her house to watch over some neighbours. Parent and child relationships and interaction are lightly handled in the context of the story. And the short chapters make it all very reader- friendly. As well as the unfolding mystery, there’s the writer’s usual observant wit and sparklingly fitting dialogue."
‘How Embarrassing is That’ is one of Pete’s most popular comedies about a competition to find out who has the most embarrassing parents. The score list includes five points for singing or dancing in public and six points (maximum) for giving you a big kiss or hug anywhere, anytime. The book begins with two words destined to strike fear into any kid. A parent shrieks out ‘Hi Tiddles,’ a dreaded nickname which suddenly all the school hears. The nightmare starts here.
In July ‘How Embarrassing is That?’ won The Braunstone Book of the Year at the Leicester Book awards. It is published by Barrington Stoke, who also published another of Pete’s best-selling comedies, ‘Diary of an (Un)Teenager,’ about a boy who dreads turning into a teenager. Described by the Book Trust as: “A very amusing look at that slightly uncomfortable transitional phase between childhood and adolescence …a compelling read.” ‘Write Away’ observed that: “Growing up is a very difficult subject to write about without sounding patronising, but the tone here in ‘Diary of an (Un)Teenager’ is spot on.”
FIVE DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PETE JOHNSON
If you think writers stay at home all day, think again! Pete kept a diary during World Book Week. Read it here!
"THIS IS ONE OF THE FEW TRULY FRIGHTENING CHILDREN’S BOOKS I’VE READ."
This is the opening line of a review of Pete Johnson’s horror classic: ‘The Ghost Dog’ on Amazon Customer reviews. The reviewer, A.T. (Rothbury) goes on: ‘Every paragraph is absolutely brimming with juicy, intrigue, with a very moving twist at the end.’ Click here to read more about 'The Ghost Dog'.
Over 140 schools took part in the judging, with many of them voting online for the first time. Pete says: "The Sheffield Book Awards are always such a special event, with over 400 children attending. I was thrilled and honoured that they picked 'Help! I'm a Classroom Gambler' as their favourite read of the year."