Polly’s Piralympics new release!

A new Polly book is out in 2 weeks

It is always exciting when you finish a book, but for me when I finish a Polly book, it is something special. She just sort of grows on you. I love writing these books and watching the children’s faces when I read to them (Adults too for that matter, ha, ha, ha.)

Well, the 6th Polly book is now complete and I will have Polly and all my books at the Kingsmead Book Fair on Saturday 25th May. So, if you’ve heard about Polly and not met her, now’s your chance. Puppet Polly and her friends will be there as well as Toucane and his books. Come with your kids and let them meet Polly and get your copy of the Polly’s Piralympics Series signed.


Tip # What comes after Bullying?

My child is being bullied, will he/she make it in the big wide world? Here are some of the success stories:

Business mogul Elon Musk was relentlessly bullied as a child in South Africa. Musk was picked on for being “the youngest and smallest guy in his school,” his mother told Esquire (2012).

Michael Phelps – Olympics swimming legend, was tormented and bullied hyperactive personality and big ears. He was even suspended from school for fighting one of his bullies. After that, he learned to channel his frustration in the swimming pool. He became the most decorated Olympian with 28 medals – bet his bullies wished they had kept quiet now.

Prince Harry (4th in line for the British Thrown) was bullied for his red hair in school, this even overlapped into his career in the British Army where he was called the “Ginger Bullet Magnet.”

Ed Sheeran – the singer was bullied for being ‘weird’ and for his red hair. Sheeran had a large birthmark on his face, a stutter, a ‘lazy’ eye, very thick NHS glasses and speech problems.

Barack Obama – US President, was bullied because they said his ears were too big.

Rihanna was bullied because her skin was too light, by other pupils at her school with darker skins.

Sergey Brin – Cofounder of one of Google, with an incredible estimated net worth of $50 billion, he the 13th richest person on the planet. However, Brin experienced bullying, thanks to his Russian accent, although he was Jewish in a Hebrew school, his voice separated him from making friends, making him feel lonely and isolated until he switched schools.

British author JK Rowling —The  Harry Potter Series. She told a fan that writing the Harry Potter Series was part of how she processed her difficult childhood. In fact, when describing being a teenager, she defined it as ‘completely horrible.’

How did they become successful? Well, they never gave up, and although the bullying hurt and I am sure many of them cried themselves to sleep at night, they BEAT THE BULLIES.


Story Writing

A few weeks back, I visited Heerengracht Primary School in Eldorado (South Johannesburg). The headmistress, Mrs Daniels, has an infectious enthusiasm which sweeps you up as you enter her school and I ended up volunteering to run a story writing competition for her grade 6’s.

I always love visiting schools, the energy is just contagious, however, little did I realise to run a competition properly I would need to put in a lot of work. I first set up a rubric to mark to, then I started to read and assign marks for each section I had created eg. front cover, illustrations, credits, story length, did the story engage me, overall impression etc. It was a process that took several hours, though was, I must say thoroughly enjoyable. Isn’t it just amazing the stories kids come up with, I definitely feel there are some budding authors that will emerge from this school in the future.

So, when I returned to award prizes of my book to the winner, I explained how the pupils how the competition had worked and why we need a start, middle and end, to our writing as well as the other criteria I had used.

The competition was amazingly close between the top four stories, but one, in particular, engaged me a little more than the others, that of The Little Rabbit by Veandre. It had everything a short story needs, was the right length and left me wanting to read more by this young author. Congratulations, Veandre for producing a wonderful piece of work and to Heerengracht Primary School on the quality of stories, your teachers should be very proud of you.

The runners-up were Jordan T, Bailey and Lebohang.


Polly’s Quieter Piralympics


It is always exciting when you finish a book, but for me when I finish a Polly book, it is something special. She is the flagship of my writing, a special little bird who has crept into the hearts of many children and adults alike.

Polly the Parrot and the pirates head off to Ireland for their next Piralympics. There they are joined by Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, Fungie the Dolphin on a quick visit from Dingle Bay, a new crew in an unusual ship and of course those pesky Leprechauns; always trying to steal the Pirate’s gold!

I must admit it took a while to do the author’s edit, as essentially I had written the book 15 months ago – THAT IS HOW MUCH I HATE EDITING! But now that it is done, I am so excited to get it into print.

Bagpipes use by kind permission of Tony Jones – Talksense

Toucane flies out to schools

Toucane flies out to schools.

I think Polly may be getting a wee bit jealous, but fear not ma wee pet coz there will be a new Polly book out soon – watch this space.

Toucane is becoming popular in primary schools as I prepare for yet another visit on Monday.

Toucane will be talking about Stranger Danger on Monday in Dungarvan and bringing along the rest of the flock and his books.

If you are interested in a visit from Toucane 4-8 year-olds, or Polly 8-11 year olds just contact me, I visit all of Gauteng and will be touring East London and the Eastern Cape again later in the year, and am hoping to visit Durban this year as well.

So if you are a school, teacher or parent, you are welcome to contact me janspicssa@gmail.com



Roles in the Bullying Cycle – The Bully

The Bully. The word ‘Bully’ (Boele) was originally used in 1530, it was a Dutch word that meant sweetheart! (Oxford Dictionaries.)

Who is a Bully and why?

A bully is an aggressor who shows that aggression repeatedly, either physically, verbally, electronically or socially. They bully when they perceive there to be a power imbalance and they have the upper hand. Often a bully has previously bullied themselves and uses bullying as a way to distract previous bullies, who now view them as ‘strong.’

Bullies need to dominate and are often impulsive and aggressive. Up to 1/3 come from dysfunctional families (Rigby 1993)

Why do they do it?

i.    As mentioned above – sometimes to escape their tormentors.

ii.   For ‘fun.’

iii. To get even.

iv.  To show how tough they are.

v.   To just annoy others.

vi.  To get money or things


The bully doesn’t’ generally like to fight, they like to DOMINATE.

The bully is only as strong as the victim allows him to be.




What I Love Most About My Job

There are always questions we are asked as authors. “What do you love most, what do you hate most and do you make lots of money?”

What do I love most about my job?                                                                            Easy – meeting the kids and doing workshops with them, whether talking about ‘Not littering’ and how we can save our planet or how to protect themselves from bullying to looking at those with disabilities. It’s the energy they give off, it is positively infectious.        Second to that is when they receive a book and start reading it straight away or colouring in the pages – I just love it.

Recently I have been out to several schools and here are some pics I can show.

What do I hate?                                                                                                                      Oh my goodness, the writer’s edit. I absolutely hate it with a passion.

Do we make lots of money?                                                                                            If your name is JK Rowling then yes, if it’s Jann Weeratunga then definitely no ha,ha,ha. But maybe one day.



Beat the Bully

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