Authors Live from the Archives: Upper Primary

For the past seven years, we’ve been partnering with BBC Scotland Learning on Authors Live, a series of digital author events that beams the biggest and best names in children’s writing directly into classrooms across the UK. We now have an online library of all 60 broadcasts featuring authors, illustrators, poets, puppeteers and storytellers from across the world. We love bringing books to life through our Authors Live programme so, to celebrate reaching our 60th broadcast, we decided to root around in our library and share some of our all-time favourites.

We started with five great events for pre-school and P1-3 but today it’s the turn of our P4-7 pupils! Here are five excellent events to enjoy with children aged 8-11, we hope you enjoy discovering them together! Keep an eye out for our secondary Authors Live highlights coming up soon.

Nicola DaviesNicola Davies

We’ll kick things off with a brilliant non-fiction event with Nicola Davies that took place in 2016. Nicola is a zoologist and former presenter of The Really Wild Show. She’s travelled all over the world studying the most amazing animals in the most heart-stopping conditions! In this event, she shares some of her favourite (and most disgusting) facts and stories about the animals she has encountered on her many travels.  From dog poo to tiger skulls and everything in between Nicola will have your pupils fascinated, readers and non-readers alike. If you’re inspired, you can also get your class out into the great outdoors afterwards with our excellent learning resources!

Steve Cole

Every year we do Authors Live events as part of the Edinburgh Festivals; last year it was Steve Cole’s turn in the spotlight. Steve has written hundreds of books for young people including the best-selling Astrosaurs, Young Bond and Magic Ink. This event is a high octane, madcap adventure through the mind of an author packed to bursting with great ideas for creating incredible characters. Your pupils will be rolling around on the floor with laughter as Steve tells them the story of the fearsome Banampire (banana vampire) or the worrisome Chombie (chair zombie) but they will also take away a whole raft of great tips for how to get started with their own stories. This event manages to pack in a lot of learning beautifully disguised by complete hilarity - the perfect blend!

Jacqueline Wilson

One of our first Authors Live events was with the incomparable Jacqueline Wilson. While our sets have transformed over the years nothing can detract from the sheer joy of listening to a living legend talking about her work. Jacqueline is an incredible storyteller and in this event you will hear her talk about her journey to becoming a writer. Jacqueline tells a rapt audience all about her writing process from start to finish and even shows us some of her fabled notebooks. A must watch for any Jacqueline Wilson fan! Younger fans may also enjoy our draw-along event for P1-4 with Nick Sharratt

Liz Pichon

Liz Pichon

If your class is filled with budding artists and illustrators, Liz Pichon’s event is the one for you! Liz is the author and illustrator of the hugely popular Tom Gates series and her event is filled with doodles and drawings galore. Watch the terrifying Authors Live monster appear from the page as Liz doodles live and then join in with your pupils as she shows you how to draw in her very distinctive style! We had loads of schools joining in live and sending us photos of their work, you can send us yours too on Twitter #BBCAuthorsLive, we’d love to see what everyone comes up with.

Storytelling Relay

In 2014 Scotland was caught in the grips of Commonwealth Games fever as athletes from around the world gathered in Glasgow. To celebrate, we broadcast a special Authors Live Storytelling Relay. Storytellers Lari Don from Scotland, Peter Chand from India and Mara Menzies from Kenya each told us a beautiful tale from their home country. This broadcast is a brilliant way to learn about and celebrate different cultures with your class as well as exploring what makes a good story. Why not challenge your pupils to their very own storytelling relay?


So there you have it, 5 brilliant broadcasts for upper primary classes to enjoy, covering stories from every angle. If you want to discover what other broadcasts are hiding in our Watch on Demand Library, stay tuned for our future blog posts or explore what we have on offer for yourself.

If you would like to experience the extra excitement of tuning in live to Authors Live, why not sign up for our upcoming broadcast for P4-S1 featuring Phil Earle? We are sure your pupils will love it!