I'm thrilled that Welcome to Nowhere is the winner of the 2018 UKLA award in the 7-11 category. Delighted, too, to share the honour with Martin Brown for his gorgeous non-fiction book Lesser Spotted Animals. A big thank you to the many teachers who take part in and judge this award. I had a brilliant time at the ceremony in Cardiff, and the trophy has pride of place in my study.


The Red Book Award has also chosen Welcome to Nowhere as the winner this year. Thank you so much everyone in Falkirk and beyond! The tapestry lovingly stitched by Anne Ngabia has arrived and I'm still deciding exactly where to hang it.


Now comes the brilliant news that Welcome to Nowhere has been shortlisted for the Tower Hamlets Book Award too. Happy reading, judges!

Leila climbs Ben Lomond!

Leila Quaba, who is in Primary 7, has done a sponsored mountain climb all the way up Ben Lomond in Scotland for the Mandala Trust. She raised £115 for refugees in Jordan! What a fantastic thing to do, Leila! Many Syrian refugee children in Jordan live in horrible situations without all the things we take for granted. Leila's money will help to pay for some of what they need so that they can go to school. Thank you, Leila!

Here is Leila on top of Ben Lomond with her brothers Zain and Yousef, and her cousin Maya. Leila is third from the left.

This is how Leila described the climb:

We were keeping an eye on the weather for a nice day to do the walk. It was a very long winter with lots of snow, but finally on Sunday 6th May, the sun was shining! Me, my mum, dad, brothers, uncle and cousins set off early to get to Ben Lomond. The weather was sunny and clear at the start where it was quite steep. We were stopping regularly for breaks and snacks as my younger cousins are 4 and 6. After about an hour and a half the ground started to even out and was like that for about an hour. My uncle turned back with my younger cousins because they were really tired. By the time we started climbing again we were above the clouds. At this point we were all putting on all our layers as it was freezing and very windy! It was another hour before we got to the top of the mountain and we were soaked after walking through the clouds! We couldn’t see much but it was so good to be standing at the top. The way back down made our legs ache but we got down a lot quicker. In total it took us 6 and a half hours.

Authors for Oceans and Song of the Dolphin Boy


For a long time, we didn't realise what harm plastic rubbish was doing to our oceans and the animals that live in it, but we do now! Lauren StJohn (she's a wonderful author - have you read her books?!) has got together a group of other authors to campaign for change. We're called "Authors for Oceans". Here's our website:

I'm hoping that my new novel, Song of the Dolphin Boy, will add a little bit to the campaign. Keep those balloons from flying away! You don't know what I'm talking about? Read Song of the Dolphin Boy!

The Jones Family

Here is Daniel Jones with his brothers, Dylan and Dominic. (Daniel's the one in the middle, with Dylan on the left and Dominic on the right.) They want to make a difference!  After Daniel read Welcome to Nowhere he decided to raise some money for Syrian refugees. He and his brothers each gave £20 out of their own pocket money and Daniel organised a table top sale too. The Jones family sent an impressive total of £80 to the Mandala Trust to help refugees in Jordan. The money they sent was spent on providing some winter clothing (good quality second hand) for the schoolchildren in the picture below who go to to the Azraq school for refugees in Northern Jordan. They sent this photo of themselves with a thank you card to show how pleased they are.

You can find out more about the Mandala Trust and our refugee projects on the Welcome to Nowhere page. Please go to the Welcome to Nowhere and the Hope School page for more news from Jordan.