School Workshops


Email: online@nick-cook.net

Audiences: 
9-11 (Key stages 2), 11-13 (Key stage 3) 14-16 (Key stage 4)

DETAILS
Cloud Riders is the first book in a YA trilogy from the publisher, Three Hares. 

I have worked in the computer games industry for over twenty years, co-founding two award winning studios and creating over 40 published games including numerous international best sellers. More recently, I have been a full-time children's writer and with my debut novel now published, am at last able to take part in one of most rewarding aspect of my job – school visits!

To capture and inspire pupils’ imaginations, my work shops are based around the core subject of my book, twisters, storm chasers and parallel worlds. This has proved an evocative subject matter, especially when the pupils are inspired to write their own twister adventure. 

I encourage schools to research the subjects of tornadoes and storm chasers with the students ahead of my visits. Not only are these a fascinating subjects for students to study, but it also provides excellent ground work for the classes to get the maximum benefit and enjoyment from my workshops.

Cloud Riders is targeted at a teenage audience, but is also appropriate for able 10+ readers.

WORKSHOP PACKAGES
My workshops are half to full-day packages. They include an opening talk with all  students attending the sessions, followed by interactive workshops with classes of up to 30 students. I usually finish the day with a Q&A session/book signing. If required, post-workshop, I can judge their stories/work and will provide a signed copy of my book that can be used by the school as they feel is most appropriate (including giving it away as a prize). If the school requires additional copies of my book, I am happy to provide these at the appropriate cost. 

In a typical school day I can run four workshops for four separate classes (including an opening talk). For a half day I can run two workshops, including an opening talk.

I an entirely flexible on the workshops and can work with your school to customise the content of day workshop packages, including working with gifted and talented classes to extend their own writing. 

My workshop packages are a set price of £250 for a half-day and £400 for a full day. Signed copies of the book can be bought on the day for £6.50 by the students. I charge for petrol to the school and back from Oxford at the rate of 45p per mile.

I am happy to visit schools all over the UK, but prices vary depending on distance. Overseas destinations can be negotiated on an individual basis.
CHARACTERS & SETTINGS – 1 Hour Workshop
Constructed around my book Cloud Riders and using the subject of twisters to inspire the students, this workshop explores the secrets to creating immersive settings that pull your reader in and also how to create believable characters that the reader will really care about. I use extracts from Cloud Riders,  combined with a series of interactive exercises, video clips, and even create a twister in the classroom (don’t worry, it won’t cause any damage!), to capture imaginations and inspire the pupils. The workshop’s target is for each pupil to create a piece of creative writing based on a twister hitting their home, town, or even school! If required, post-workshop, I can judge their work to chose a winner.

BOOK TRAILERS – 1 Hour Workshop
How do you capture someone’s attention in a minute and convince them to read a book? This half day workshop covers the creation process for book trailers, from planning through to the storyboard stage. This can be used in conjunction with a piece of creative writing the pupils have produced, or a book they have read. The workshop includes critiquing existing book trailers (including my own), exploring how the storyboard process is used in film, and teaches the pupils how to create their own storyboards. By the end of the workshop, the target is for each child to have produced their own storyboard. If required, I will judge their storyboards and select a winner. The extension for this workshop to a full-day, is for the pupils to work together and create a book trailer based on the winning storyboard. This will be filmed with the schools Digi Blue cameras. If the pupils or staff need training in using the Digi Blue, I am able to offer this as part of the full-day workshop package.

WORKSHOP TESTIMONIALS


TEACHERS

"A big THANK YOU to Nick Cook, for his infectious dynamism and his vision for engaging the pupils in our writing workshop at St Pauls last week. Watching and listening to Nick today, and seeing the children hanging on to his words and enthusiasm, has made me incredibly proud. It is great to see and hear the ‘buzz’ around the classrooms and teachers inspired to take on a variety of techniques back to their teaching.

The writing workshop came after the end of a unit of descriptive work on Tornadoes, where our Year 5 & 6 classes had been focusing on descriptive writing and a section of ‘Cloud Riders’ by Nick Cook.  We were totally ‘blown away’ when he spent a whole day working with our children. From the moment he spoke, he had the children totally engrossed in the enjoyment of descriptive language. He used a variety of methods to hook the children and used his background as a computer gamer and art director to bring alive several elements of his book. 

We will be inviting Nick back again but next time – 2 days!" 
– Christopher Patridge – Head Teacher – St Pauls Junior School

"Today has been inspirational for the children – seeing into another world and getting fantastic tips for their own writing. We all learnt to follow our dreams!" 
– Emily Gazzard – Rhodes Avenue School

“Nick’s enthusiasm was infectious and he immediately had the class’s attention. His interactive workshop complete with tornado had all children and adults enthralled. The children’s writing that came from the workshop exceeded my expectation and theirs! He was a great inspiration for the children.” 
– Karen Errington – Phillip & James Primary School

STUDENTS

“I found it very interesting. It was great fun learning how tornadoes were formed and exploring the creativity behind the writing.” – Hannie

“It’s really enjoyable because you’ve got English and Science together in an enjoyable lesson.” – Eliza

“I now see storms in a different way and loved everything! He is an inspiration.” – Isabella

“It helps you see that tornadoes are not only destructive, but also the most beautiful and fragile of things. Mr Cook also has great and useful tips for future writers.” - Nikki


“We got loads of ideas form the workshop and writing my Twister story was brilliant when I imagined about it hitting our school!” – James
BOOKS
Cloud Riders (ISBN-10: 1910153044)
Dom lives with his mom in Tornado Alley, where twisters used to be a way of life. After a year long drought, the family diner is about to go bust and Dom feels trapped, torn between supporting his mother and the urge to escape. Even his relationship with best friend, Jules, is beginning to prickle with feelings he doesn’t want. When the first twister in months appears from nowhere and an airship emerges from the spout, Dom’s world is turned upside down. Its pilots are explorers who make Dom an offer beyond his imagination. But the pilots are hiding a terrible secret. Can Dom uncover the truth and make the right decision before everything he cares for is destroyed?



Organisations:
Society of Children’s Authors and Illustrators (SCWBI).

Genres: 
Sci-fi and Fantasy

Book Type: 
YA Teenage fiction

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