Latest Posts

Post From Panda – magical reading practice for Reception

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year and we’re still not done yet!

I’ve launched Post From Panda – magical reading practice for children in reception. A real letter is delivered every week via Royal Mail.

Where did Panda Post come from?

When my 2 boys learned to read it was such a special time. It was like, my baby’s growing up. It’s such a massive life step. And I wanted my role in it to be the best it could be.

I realised quickly that school worked them really hard on the phonics. All that learning they were working SO hard at day in day out. Monday through to Friday.

At home I realised that they needed a serious dose of magic. A moment where the hard work paid off. And that does of magic would keep them going, keep them trying, keep them working on those tricky words and split diagraphs!

Reading practice needed to be something they wanted to do.

Reading practice could be something that they asked to do, not me asking them.

So as a children’s author I started playing with writing reading books, just for them. They loved them and we really enjoyed playing this game with them.

And then I had a moment when I realised the power of a letter could be mixed with reading practice and Post From Panda was born.

I literally, ran upstairs and made up a story letter from panda, got an envelope, drew the best panda I could on it, and posted it to my youngest.

Come over and say hello

www.postfrompanda.com

New! School Visits

UPDATE: I currently can’t take on any more school visits. Please check back for when I’m available again. Thanks! x

 

I’m excited to say I’m now available for school visits.

I LOVE getting children enthusiastic about stories, writing and reading. I’m an experienced youth worker and can deliver a full range of workshops, activities and events for your school.

I’m also fully DBS checked and a primary school governor.

Amazing assemblies

Wonderful workshops

Creative crafts and exciting adventures in writing

Fees

£350 for a full school day, including an after school book signing.

A full day usually consists of one assembly and 3 workshops, but I can be flexible and work to your requirements.

£200 for half a school day

Travel: 45p/mile or train fare as appropriate.

For more more information and availability email me today.

   

 

Mr Mustachio, Summer and Me

MR MUSTACHIO has been a long time coming.

He started as a joke with my kids, whenever they drank milk we’d call them Mr Mustachio because of their milk moustaches. One day, as we were mucking around on the kitchen floor, it hit me what a great picture book character he would make. I ran upstairs and the Mr Mustachio story started.

Mr Mustachio preview low res

Then, in summer 2014, the manuscript was a runner-up in the Greenhouse Funny Prize. I picked up the news at the end of a 32 mile bike ride on a windy Northumberland beach. I flicked open my email on my phone and there were two bits of news that day pinging in. One was Mr Mustachio and the Greenhouse win and one was that I’d finally been awarded my PhD and could officially use the title Dr Yasmin Finch. With life-changing news on the wind rolling in from the North Sea, I could see why the ancient celts looked for God on these shores.

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Later in the autumn of 2014, when the nights had drawn in and just about every bit of Northumberland-wonder had been boxed-up by life, work, school runs, doctors, overdrafts, and never-ending food-shopping I was curled up on the sofa and another email pinged in, this time from Maverick Arts Publishing. Was Mr Mustachio still available and would I like to meet them? And suddenly Mr Mustachio had found a home with the brilliant team there.

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Back in Northumberland again, now summer 2015, and I’m on my beloved Island of Lindisfarne (it’s not actually mine, but it feels like home) and this time an email comes in (another bit of illegal-holiday-email-checking) with first sketches of the entire book from illustrator Abi Tompkins. They were amazing and I was so excited to be working with such a gifted illustrator.

Now it’s summer again and MR MUSTACHIO is all set to be published on 28th August 2016. I’ve already done a little author storytelling event for Linton Book Festival with a cheeky proof copy. Dressed as a builder with comedy moustaches for everyone. There are going to be a lot of comedy moustaches aren’t there? 

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Now launches and parties, cakes and celebrations are on my mind. Abi Tompkins is a great partner in crime and I can’t wait to share a glass of the fizzy stuff to celebrate our book.

Yasmin Postcard BACK design 2

Meet Mr Mustachio Illustrator Abi Tompkins!

I always knew when I wrote Mr Mustachio he would be a darling, but when Maverick Books appointed Abi Tompkins as illustrator I had no idea what magic was about to commence.

He’s tall. His coat is made from camel hair (it’s like wool, but camel wool). And my, look at that moustache.

Abi’s joining us in Top Secret News today to give us a sneaky peek and talk to us about Mr M. Our picture book won’t be out until next year, but work is well under way and it’s looking great! Our editor Kimara Nye (who’s got her own picture book out too!) keeps forwarding beautiful sketches to my inbox.

Abi’s work is full of dreamy characters and fizzy colours. I could look at it all day long.

Her website’s here if you want to have a look around.

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Abi, this is your debut book too isn’t it? Tell us a bit about how it’s going.

Hello! Yes, this is my first book and I’m very excited about it all. As soon as I got the script I could imagine Mr Mustachio straight away and the way he would walk down the street. It’s such a fun story to draw.

How do you work? What techniques do you use?

I start off with good old pen or pencil and my sketchbook to get out some ideas and then work them up and scan them. Then I work them up in Photoshop for colour and texture.

Could you ‘see’ Mr Mustachio straight away, or did you go through lots of versions?

I could visualise him straight away but I wanted to really capture his character.  I think I have about 10 pages of rough sketches of him in my sketchbook!

Mr Mustachio pencil sketches

Was the moustache hard to get right? There are so many styles you could have chosen!

Yes! This is what I found quite challenging, even though it’s just a moustache it’s kind of an extension of his character so almost has its own personality! If someone ever grew a moustache as long as his, it would be quite hard to maintain so I wanted it to be slightly wild!

Without giving too much away, what’s been your favourite spread to work on so far?

That’s tough! But it did get a lot of fun once he steps on that roundabout!

If you want to keep up with Abi you can…

image_preview Follow Abi on twitter.     Facebook Find Abi on facebook

4619857462_269x274 Read Abi’s blog              Unknown Or even have a look round her Abi’s shop! 

She’s clearly one busy lady!

I’m so excited to be working with Abi. I know we’re going to make a great team!

A Win at Winchester!

Really excited to announce that my picture book BOO-KIN, MORE MILK, AND THE MISSING MUMMY! received ‘Highly Commended’ from the judges at Winchester Writers’ Festival 2015.

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The Picture Book Category was judged by the lovely bunch at Little Tiger Press and I’m thrilled that they liked my manuscript. They said I had,

“fresh narrative voice fantastically fun moments great characterisation”

Looking at the titles in the final 6, there were clearly some fab entries. Well done to everyone and an especially big congratulations to Alice Vinten for winning 1st prize!

Winchester results 2015

SCBWI Prize

Wow. It’s like Christmas has arrived early.

I’ve been awarded an ‘Honorary Mention’ for MR MUSTACHIO in the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Margaret Carey Scholarship. More info here.

Greenhouse Funny Prize 2014

My picture book text MR MUSTACHIO has been awarded third place in the Greenhouse Funny Prize.

“a quirky, strong text, and an utter joy to read”

Greenhouse are a leading agency and it’s amazing to have such great feedback from them about something I’ve written. They said MR MUSTACHIO was a “quirky, strong text, and an utter joy to read.” Can’t quite believe it. Need to frame that e-mail and put it on my desk.

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Update: 28.08.16 Mr Mustachio is published!

Mr Mustachio cover

 

WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Interested in writing for children?

If you’d like to write for children there are lots of amazing websites which can help you along the way.

Writers & Artists is a mine of info, like this great article How To Create A Fantastic Picture Book or this great list of Writing for Children: Tips and Advice.

Or you could watch Barry Cunningham on youtube. He discovered Harry Potter, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about.

If you’ve only got time to read one piece of advice read this: How to Write a Picture Book. When Step 1 is “Gird Yourself” you know they’re cutting to the important bits. There are funny pictures to sustain you too.

“Gird Yourself”