Chalkface Challenge runner up!

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Thrilled to have been chosen as a runner up by the discerning children of Sparsholt Primary! Huge thanks to everyone involved.


Chalkface Challenge Submission: Hunting Fernando

Here it is, my submission for SCBWI’s wonderful Chalkface Challenge. How can you resist the opportunity for your potential readers – yes, real children – to read your work?  With thanks to Da Inbetweeners, the best critique group on the www.


Hunting Fernando

“Have you got them?”

“I’ve got them. Five packs.” Joel spread them out in his hand like cards. Actually they were cards but not with Kings and Jacks. No, these were Footie Faves Trading Cards. “Yes, I’m certain. Amongst this little lot will, without doubt, be the big one. Fernando himself.”

“He’d better be otherwise that’s another £2.50 down the drain,” said Fred. “Bringing the total to £57.”
“Thanks for the helpful reminder.”
“What’s going on here, children?” interrupted a jubilant voice. They looked up to see
Mr Hawksworthy hovering, his balding head glinting in the early morning sun. Joel quickly pocketed the crinkly packs but not fast enough for the beady eyes of the playground hawk. “Trading cards? They are banned at school, as you very well know. Hand them over.”
“But Sir, we…”
“No but’s. Hand them over now.” He stood back, the aroma of freshly sprayed pine deodorant wafting along his outstretched arm. Joel fished out the cards and surrendered them.
“Four packs: what a waste of money. Don’t let me see you with cards at school again, this is your last warning. IS THAT CLEAR?”
“Yes, Sir,” Joel and Fred chorused reluctantly. The bell rang and they trudged towards their classroom.

“You’re taking a bit of a risk aren’t you? Why didn’t you give him all five?” asked Fred.
“Risk is my middle name,” said Joel.
“Let’s open the pack then,” said Fred later, at Joel’s house. “Would you like the honour?” asked Joel.
“No, I’m crossing all my fingers.” Joel carefully ripped open the packet and gingerly pulled out the glossy photo cards,laying them out on the table.
“Right. Let’s see. 1: rubbish, 2: terrible, 3: boring. 4, 5, 6. There they all are…” “…and not one single rare or vaguely interesting card,” said Fred. “It’s just ridiculous!” Joel shouted, flinging the cards everywhere. “All that money
spent and still the collection isn’t complete. I bet no one has got the full set anywhere in the country…”
“ Europe, in the World!” said Fred, circling his arms. “We have to do something about this.”
“OK, I’ll pick some more cards up on my way home,” said Fred.
“No. No more buying cards. The card companies are robbing us. We have to do
something so that kids like us don’t get sucked into buying more and more cards and never completing the set.”
“OK, OK; but one tiny, tiny thought? What on earth can we do?”
“What we need,” said Joel, “is, like, a website where you advertise what cards you want and what you’ll pay in other cards.”
“Excellent; a card swap site to track him down? It would be known in every playground at every school in the country.”
“Fred, we are going to get that last card. Someone out there must have Fernando and we’re going to find him even if we have to build the website ourselves.”