In the name of marketing!

SCBWI The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators run a Book Blast every year for newly published books.  I subscribed this year in the hope of spreading Spratly’s name further.

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However, what I didn’t expect was to gather such lovely reviews in my guestbook.

Thank you so much to everyone who added their thoughts.

Please see my post titled ‘Over twenty reviews on my book blast…’

I have also entered a competition and have come to realise that all self-published books must be in the same position? How can we publicise our books?

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Together, some friends and I from SCBWI are going to be attending some school fairs in the next few weeks.  Let’s see if we can sell a few more books…


What we need is someone to start a company that seriously promotes self-published or Indie work…

Suggestions on a postcard to….



Reviews for Don’t Worry, Spratly!


Maria Porter said on November 13, 2016:

  • I love this book and so did my class. It was a perfect book to start the new term.

FS Class said on November 4, 2016:

  • Wow! We loved this book. As a class, we enjoyed the rhyme and rhythm. It gave us an opportunity to discuss our worries about starting school and our class rules and expectations. We made our own unique worry fish and our displays of our very own ‘school of fish’ emphasised the fact that ‘we may all be different but in our school we all swim together.’ Thank you for inspiring amazing lesson plans.

Regan W. H. Macaulay said on November 4, 2016:

  • This book looks adorable! And I love a book about overcoming fears and anxieties – especially important these days.

Amita said on November 4, 2016:

  • I loved the book as did both my daughters. Beautifully written and illustrated. Thoughtfully incorporating the concerns children face and how they can be dealt with. Thank you for sharing your thoughts:-)

Benjamin Farr said on November 4, 2016:

  • ‘Don’t Worry Spratly’ is an enchanting story written and illustrated by Helen Sampson. With gorgeous illustrations and lyrical prose, Spratly takes the reader on a journey that enlivens, encourages and empowers children who are experiencing change and transition in their lives. This is an exceptional book that should be seen as an essential addition to any school, home or community library.

Anne said on November 3, 2016:

  • Fantastic book – my nieces love it! Well done Helen

Nuj said on November 3, 2016:

  • A beautifully illustrated book with well thought-out words. We love the encouraging messages    to help soothe the little ones over their worries. A great book indeed!

Carmen said on November 3, 2016:

  • Our family is moving home after 17 years living overseas. This book has helped me to ease my 10-year-old daughter’s anxiety about her new school and her new challenge to make new friends. Thank you, Helen, for such a beautiful book.

Sean N said on November 3, 2016:

  • I am writing this from the perspective of a 13-year-old. This book not only brought back nostalgia from my various moves up the school, it also made me wish I could’ve read it beforehand. It really captures typical fears of children particularly with their move from Infants to Juniors. These fears are all addressed in this encapsulating book – the connection I had immediately whilst reading this will reflect many anxious children who ‘feel a sense of doom, ‘I don’t want new classmates, I don’t want a new room!’. “Don’t Worry, Spratly” undoubtedly has a place in every child’s and school’s bookshelf. Maybe later, like me, they may read through it and swim back into their earlier years!

Maryanne said on November 2, 2016:

  • A delightful, charming and beautifully written and illustrated children’s book which will definitely help any child overcome any worries they may have in moving schools, moving up to “big” school or concerns in general. The activities at the end, especially making your own worry fish, are just an extra bonus! A definite must for all school libraries and also at home. Thanks, Spratly and Helen.

Sakina Sanaa said on November 2, 2016:

  • It’s a great book for both children and adults , beautiful illustrations and a lovely message for children and families with little ones going through change . Loved it ! 🙂

TravellingNessy said on November 2, 2016:

  • I have seen this book develop from start to finish. Nothing gives me         more pleasure than to share this book with children of friends or children at school. Helen worked really hard at making this perfect and it truly is. A beautiful story with excellent graphics and colours. A book that I’d love to see in all schools globally. No more worries ! Xx

Karen said on November 2, 2016:

  • The year 3 classes in my international school loved this book! It opened up many different discussion points and we had lots of fun making a worry fish to help with our anxieties as we moved up to Key Stage 2.

Adrene Nelson said on November 2, 2016:

  • This book is multi-dimensional – it has a great story, addresses a real issue, is entertaining and memorable through catching rhyme and vibrant colour and illustrations, is educational and also a great resource for both teachers and parents. The craft section also offers the child a tangible reminder of the message in the book. Kudos to Helen for such a well-thought out and beautifully executed book. It is Swimmingly Superb!

Angela Lock said on November 2, 2016:

  • My year 2 class adored this book. They thought the pictures used happy colours and it helped them feel less anxious about going into year 3. I highly recommend this original, thoughtful and beautifully illustrated book. Congratulations!

Fred Power said on November 2, 2016:

  • ‘Don’t worry Spratly’ is a great book , both visually beautiful and   carefully written. I would highly recommend it for families who are relocating and have young children. This book could help with making the transition and demystifying the feelings involved with such changes. Making the worry fish is also a great way to have a one to one chat with the child over their feelings about the change to come while sharing this activity.

Gill Burke said on November 2, 2016:

  • A wonderful book, beautifully written and illustrated, well done!

Julia Bell said on November 2, 2016:

  • Love the story, great reassuring message, and the illustrations are fantastic too! Julia Bell

Victoria said on October 18, 2016:

  • As a teacher, I have loved sharing this book with my class. We had lots of thoughtful discussions and created wonderful displays. The children explored the story and made their own Spratly fish. As a parent, it is a wonderful tool to open up opportunities for chats about worries and anxiety. It is a wonderfully told story with beautiful illustrations.

Samantha said on October 18, 2016:

  • A lovely book having many useful, positive messages to help children cope with change. My children thought the eye-catching illustrations and clever rhyming story were brilliant! In addition, the simple linked craft and discussion ideas make it a valuable resource for parents or teachers.

Sarah said on October 12, 2016:

  • Well written and beautiful illustrations. My class of 5-year-olds loved it!

Richard said on October 12, 2016:

  • A lovely story in verse in a colourful book produced especially for young children. Nothing else like it on the shelves. Truly wonderful and written with lots of thought. Congratulations!

Joy Knight said on October 12, 2016:

  • Brilliant book for children and adults. Well done Helen!

Spratly supports CandleAid Lanka

I had the pleasure of meeting Dil and Captain Elmo Jayawardena in early November.

Captain Elmo founded the charity, CandleAid Lanka, its sole aim is to provide a link between someone’s generosity and someone else’s need.

I passed Elmo and Dil a cheque for $500 to support CandleAid’s swim for safety program.  Sadly, this program will be coming to a close soon but there will be new projects for Spratly to support at CandleAid.  Watch this space for more information.

Please find more details about this excellent charity here:

fullsizerender-5  Candle Aid New Logo


Visiting the Australian School – November


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I had the privilege of visiting the nine Year 2 classes in the Australian school in November.

The school is ahead with regards to EQ awareness. The children showed utmost respect to each other and the adults in the room.  They asked the most thoughtful questions and were very honest with their thoughts, queries, and explanations.

I learnt so much from the students and I know that they enjoyed making their own worry fish. The very transient nature of life as a Singapore expat means that these students deal with change and transition more regularly than most. I hope they have a great end of year break and come back to Year 3 either at AIS or elsewhere, worry free!

The best question was after I showed the students the printing process –

“Mrs Sampson, do you feel proud of your book?” now there is empathy in it’s best form!


Visiting Singapore schools – the story so far… October

I attended a book reading at a Children’s Fair in Suntec in September and then had the privilege of visiting SJI International school in Singapore.  I had such a lovely morning meeting Grade 1 classes.  Teachers love getting to look around other schools and the classrooms at SJI were so welcoming.  It was a real treat.  I also realised that I truly feel so much more at home in the classroom reading and working with the children than trying to market my book! My steep learning curve trying to sell my book continues…


“Thank you for your visit to our class today, the children thoroughly enjoyed your story and making the fish!”

A great art project for the beginning of term!

A rather exciting project to celebrate the beginning of term is to get the children to use clay…

I have posted a lesson plan on the TES resource site:

Don’t Worry Spratly ideas

This project continues to be an immersion of firsts… I have tried to hide my embarrassment (and that of my children as a new You tuber!) to embrace the idea of social media to post two videos on You tube.

Please search for Don’t Worry, Spratly! unfortunately the files are too large for me to post onto here.

I hope that you will be able to follow the instructions and that the clay fish create a stunning display.

We are going to make the clay fish with the Y2 children – watch this space for more photos.


You tube flipped clay making lesson

Here are the photos of the display!


So much to do, so little time … Don’t Worry, Spratly!

Why is the beginning of the first term always so busy? The Art room always has so many projects to get going at the beginning of term.  This year is no exception… by the end of the first week you feel like you’ve never been away!

We have got some really exciting projects on going in the Art studio this term… there is a collaborative project between Y 13 students and Y 2 students to create sustainable art installations in our huge hall space.  Sustainability is something that I feel passionately about, it is great that this is one of our school foci this year.

Source: Watch Trailer – Plastic Oceans

We are busy integrating Chinese within our KS1 displays and there is a huge Don’t Worry Spratly! Clay display board in Y 2 which is in the process of going up. It looks really promising so far.  Updated – here is one of the photos!


A visit to Tenterden Infants, Kent

I had a lovely afternoon visiting the Year 2 children at Tenterden Infants school.

I read Don’t Worry, Spratly! to the children, answered lots of questions about the writing process and then the children split into smaller groups for circle time.

Using the book we discussed issues such as:

* Think back to your first day in Year 2. How did you feel?

* Have you got any worries about moving to the Juniors?

* What are you looking forward to in Year 3?

* Have you ever felt anxious – what can you do about it?

The children then made their own unique worry fish to take home and use ready for their upcoming transition.


A great afternoon…😊