Reading: James Mayhew

Thursday 16 November 2023

In our English sessions, we have been reading the book Katie and the Mona Lisa by James Mayhew. Today, we zoomed the author James Mayhew . During our zoom he told us how he came up with his ideas for all his different books through sketching things such as the characters, costumes and buildings. He told us sometimes the drawings go wrong but that’s ok because this helps him to develop and write his stories. He then modelled how he uses drawings to create a story. We listened and watched in amazement as he told a story all about St George, a dragon and a princess whilst he illustrated at the same time.

He read us another of his knight stories. He told us that he likes to find and read old stories and use these to inspire his writing.

During our English lesson last week, we thought of some questions that we’d like to ask James Mayhew about his book Katie and the Mona Lisa.

Where did you get your inspiration from?

Why did Grandma smile secretly at the end of the story?

How did you draw the Mona Lisa so well?

Why did Mona Lisa choose to speak to Katie?

We learnt that the inspiration for the book came from a trip he took to Florence when he visited an art gallery and that he has had over 70 books published. He told us he first started to write when he was 20 but it took 5 years to get his first book published. We spoke about how we have to be resilient.

Help at home: Have a discussion at home about our zoom with James Mayhew. Can your child remember any of the interesting facts he told us. For example: Where does he get his inspiration from? How old was he when he first started to write? Where do his ideas from for his books? Who is the character Katie based on?