Princess BMX Competition – Teachers’ Guide

With writing prompts, discussion notes and a detailed synopsis and author notes, the Princess BMX reading guide contains everything you’ll need to enjoy Princess BMX in the classroom.

I hope you’ll find it useful. To help spread the word I’m running a competition where teachers can win a copy of Princess BMX and their very own Tyson. See below for details.


The short chapters and fast moving action make it an ideal class reader, especially if exploring other Princesses to compare and contrast with, or if your class has an interest in BMX. It would also be a great addition to a class bookshelf as it would appeal to all and the sparkly cover is very inviting! I really enjoyed this book.
Just Imagine


Princess BMX in the Classroom

Princess BMX was listed in the Gender Collective Best Books 2019 – a round up for the absolute best books for smashing stereotypes and is also recommended by BookTrust. Themes explored include:

• Fairy tales and fantasy stories
• Expectations & freedom of choice
• Biking, skating and extreme sports
• Feminism & rebellion
• Comedy & humour
• Friendship & teamwork
• Non-conformity & challenging stereotypes

Competition

To win a copy of Princess BMX and your very own Tyson complete with chair and bobble hat, head over to Twitter by clicking on the embedded Tweet below.

Competition ends 22nd September 2019 and is open to schools/teachers only.

More irrepressible fun runs through Princess BMX (Chicken House) by Marie Basting, illustrated by Flavia Sorrentino. In the fairytale land of Biscotti, Princess Ava already annoys her dad with her lack of regal decorum – when she finds a portal through to real-life Camden Lock and starts learning BMX stunts, what could possibly go wrong? Evil aunties and fairy godfathers called Nigel combine with a streak of feisty rebellion to create a daft and delicious fantasy.
The Guardian, August Children’s and teens roundup: the best new picture books and novel

The Truth About Marie Basting

Marie Basting is the author of  Princess BMX, a true story which provides conclusive proof that magic is real and bikes are the new broomstick. OK, that is a big fat lie, but Marie mostly speaks the truth particularly on Tuesdays when she teaches synchronised swimming to mermaids and helps out at a shelter for homeless goblins.

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On Wednesdays Marie hunts boggarts with her friend Zana the brave.

Princess BMX is Marie’s debut novel. But she plans to write lots more as soon as she has finished watching Adventure Time. Marie loves Adventure Time because, like Princess BMX, it is a kind of modern fairy tale, and Marie wants to show children that magic is everywhere even if it is sometimes hard to find. That sounds corny but trust me it is not as corny as Marie’s feet.

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Marie posing with a BMX.

 Marie first had the idea for Princess BMX while watching BMXers at the famous Undercroft skate park on the South Bank. When Marie was a kid, BMX was for boys and she wasn’t brave enough to try extreme sports anyway. Not being brave or confident enough was a bit of a theme for Marie, but the good news is she eventually got over this and decided she wouldn’t let fear hold her back anymore. She gave up her job and decided to write books. The bad news is Marie is absolutely rubbish at BMX.  Hopefully, her books are better. You decide.

Marie at Undercroft Skate Park.

When Marie isn’t writing or watching the telly, you’ll probably find her mooching around Manchester with her husband, son and most unusual of pets, Polly Woo. As you can see, Polly is a very rare cross between a womble and a wookie.

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Polly the Wookie Womble Woo.

Chewbacca is Polly’s favorite film star EVER but so far he has ignored her marriage proposals which Marie thinks is rather rude. Polly, however, won’t have a word said against Chewy and figures he’s too busy saving the galaxy to reply to her letters. Whatever you do, don’t get your relationship advice from Polly.

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Like Chewy, Marie grew up in a galaxy far far away. Well, it was far away from Chewy at least. Born in Liverpool, to a fairy prince and a time travelling minstrel called Ethel, she moved to Runcorn when she was nine-years-old. Her brother has superhuman powers, but he is a bit shy so she can’t talk about them here. Her dog Snowie was the naughtiest dog ever and once interrupted a police dog display at her school. Marie, however, was always well behaved and denies ever locking her teacher in a cupboard.  The last thing you should know about Marie is that she has zillions of cousins and every single one of them has webbed feet.  If they eat after midnight nothing happens

Win a Free School Visit

To celebrate the launch of Princess BMX, I’m teaming up with the Manchester Children’s Book Festival to offer primary schools in the North West the chance to win a free author visit.

Open to schools within a twenty-five mile radius of Manchester, I’ll choose one winner at random to receive an assembly presentation, KS2 creative writing workshop and book signing session.

To enter all you need to do is e-mail me by the 15th July 2019 with a few details. Download the leaflet below for more information on the competition and Princess BMX school visits and events.

Tyson the tea bag who accompanies me on all my school visits.

Princess BMX Smashing Gender Stereotypes

In this age of equality, are princess books still relevant? I stared at my Messenger Inbox, face contorted in such horror it would make Stephen King cry. What had I done to incite my friend Susan Brownrigg? Had I not liked her Tweets enough? Or maybe she was holding a grudge over something I’d said in a critique group back in 2017? Critique can do strange things to the mind.

The Scream – Edvard Munch, 1893

But when I delved deeper, I realised Susan wasn’t spamming me at all. Rather, she was presenting me with an opportunity. A chance to join the Gender Equality Collective’s* Twitter debate on the relevance of the princess in today’s children’s books.

I won’t lie, I was a bit apprehensive joining in. My book wasn’t even published yet and, according to these guys, it was already potentially irrelevant. Plus, I’d just spent fifty quid on a Princess BMX banner which if I say so myself is totally swag. Was I now going to have to bin it along with the several thousand princess books my publisher Chicken House were holding in a warehouse?

Me posing in front of the swag banner

But my overactive writer mind had had me worrying for nothing. The Gender Collective guys didn’t make me cry once with their mean accusations. In fact, there were no accusations at all: no princess bashing, no debut author ambush or telling me to get on my bike, no drama whatsoever. (Which on some levels was slightly disappointing because – as you can tell – I’m currently digging the dramatic.) Instead, what did happen was rather awesome when these lovely peeps later listed Princess BMX in their Best Books List.

GEC Best Books 2019 – Princess Books Smashing Stereotypes

I’ll let the Gender Collective explain:

Welcome to GEC Best Books 2019, we’re glad you’re here. Compiled by our GEC Community of parents, teachers, authors (and kids!), here is our round up of the absolute best books out there for Smashing Stereotypes.

Turns out we were in agreement all along. While it’s most definitely time to move on from the traditional fairy tale trope of the helpless princess waiting for prince charming, there’s a new generation of princesses smashing stereotypes. And Princess BMX, the feisty funny girl who prefers to hang out on the half-pipe rather than go to the ball, is delighted to be among them.

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*The Gender Equality Collective is a community of change which seeks to tackle gender imbalance and smash harmful stereotypes. Find out more and join me in signing their Gender Charter here.