Recommendations from Teachers & Other Clients

I have worked with Ellie Powling for several years in my capacity as Festival Director for Bournville BookFest.

I have always found Ellie to be thoroughly professional and meticulously organised.  Ellie combines a desire to help a growing festival with a strong social conscience with an ability to be straightforward and realistic. She is an excellent communicator and negotiator and successfully balances the occasionally difficult dynamic of author expectations and festival director goals/aspirations and expectations.  I would not hesitate to recommend Ellie and consider her to be a great asset.

Sarah Mullen

Festival Director, Bournville BookFest

Ellie understands what schools need and is brilliant at explaining what ‘her’ authors and artists do so that children can really enjoy and get the most out of live events. She’s risen to the challenge and helped make virtual events a rewarding experience, too.

Ellie is excellent at briefing the authors and artists she works with so that they have the information they need and a well-timed reminder.

Ellie is a joy to work with!

Nicky Potter

Freelance Publicist

As Head of English at my preparatory school, I have worked with Ellie on numerous occasions to book author visits throughout the year for my pupils. We have had fantastic visits from a range of best-selling authors including Jeremy Strong, Anne Fine and Ross Welford. Ellie is incredibly helpful when arranging these visits, working closely with us to ensure that the visits run smoothly and that our pupils have the best experience when meeting these wonderful writers. When looking to book a visit from an author or illustrator, she is the first person I contact.

Clare Cadenhead

Head of English, Glendower Prep School, London

We were delighted with our experience working with Speaking of Books.  Communication has always been very prompt, clear and helpful and the staff have been shown real flexibility, understanding and warmth towards us during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Alex Desmond

Teacher, Christ Church Junior School, Bristol

Speaking of Books are exactly what Wandsworth Prep School needed. They were organised, efficient and very responsive. We were particularly impressed with their author recommendation. We needed an author who would appeal to and have a rapport with the whole school in a virtual setting. Speaking of Books suggested Jeremy Strong, who was brilliant with all the children and professional to deal with from an organisational point of view. We are very grateful to Speaking of Books for managing the whole process and eradicating potential difficulties. An easy and stress-free experience.

Carla Ritchie

Head of Lower School, Wandsworth Prep School

Working with Speaking of Books to give our children exciting and inspiring opportunities is absolutely fantastic. Ellie and the team have been key to building our school as a reading school by helping us to get some of the most prolific and well-known children’s authors to not only visit but to become part of our community. Speaking of Books is a well-run, organised, inspiring and personable agency who have made the organisation of whole school events a breeze for me.

Cathy Spence

Reading Lead, Great Malvern Primary School

I would like to thank Ellie for the splendid organisation of this day and for being there for me in the hardest of moments. It was an amazing experience to work with her – I have learnt very much! So, a humble thank you from me!

Kateryna Konstantynova

English Lead, Malmesbury Primary School, London

Ellie has been fantastic in organising for a well-known author to speak at our school.  Her communication has been quick and friendly and she has helped us organise a fantastic day for the children.  I look forward to working with her again in the future.

Henry Matthews

Queens College, Taunton

I would heartily recommend Ellie Powling at Speaking of Books. She supported the NSPCC with a project which culminated with the charity visiting schools across the country, helping children understand and talk about sexual abuse. Her knowledge and experience in the educational sector means that she understands the challenges faced by schools, and their needs. It also means that she has a practical comprehension of what is needed to ensure that children in schools receive the right creative support and input too. This, combined with her background in the commercial world and her natural practicality, means that she is able to make a big contribution to any project she is leading, or involved with.

Helen Carpenter

Development Coach - (Formerly Head of Fundraising Cause and Content, NSPCC)

I cannot recommend Speaking of Books highly enough! We have really enjoyed working with Ellie and the team: they are friendly, efficient and provide an outstanding service. We have been lucky enough to benefit from author visits both in person and virtually, as well as student workshops. Students at our school particularly loved working with Zohab Zee Khan and he inspired even our most reluctant writers to get excited about poetry! I have recommended Speaking of Books to many other colleagues and look forward to working with them more in the future.

Lizzie Church

School Improvement Adviser for English and Literacy, Royal Borough of Greenwich & English Teacher, Thomas Tallis School

I was absolutely delighted with the service and communication working with Ellie.  When I emailed to see if there was any chance of booking Michael Rosen for a staff training, I thought my chances were slim-to-none.  However, not only did Ellie sort a date but she also communicated effectively and was extremely helpful when circumstances changed due to Covid and we had to rearrange sessions.  The organisation was excellent and I really appreciated Ellie’s support at the event itself, having never done a such large scale Zoom like this for Teachers before, to do my first with Michael Rosen was slightly daunting.  I think through this event we have formed a good partnership and I will definitely be seeking advice and support from Speaking of Books as we move forward, when hopefully I will be able to plan more in-person events as well as continuing with a digital offer.

Anne Burns

Schools Relationship Officer, Bolton Central Library and Museum Service - Schools

There were many factors involved in making Michael Rosen’s visit a brilliant day for our community, but the main reason for why it ran so smoothly was down to the organisation and communication from Ellie at Speaking of Books.  Not only is she an approachable and friendly individual, she is adaptable to both the needs of the authors and the requirements of the schools she is working with. Ellie worked closely with me to make the day a huge success which was especially welcome as I am a recently qualified teacher.  I cannot thank her enough.

Jordan Bryant

Teacher, Harold Wood Primary School, London

Speaking of Books provides a warm, friendly service that uses their expertise to match you with the best experience for your individual school.

Speaking of Books has helped us to engage, motivate and inspire pupils from Nursery age to Year 6 and we look forward to working with them again.

Georgie Jones

Christchurch Primary School, Ilford

My name is Mark Jones and I am the headteacher of Belmont Castle School, a large 3 form primary which is situated in Grays, an area of high deprivation which is situated in the heart of Thurrock. Approximately eight years ago, we took the decision to introduce a Book focused curriculum as part of our wider aim of seeking to develop within our children a love of reading. In addition to completely changing the curriculum to one based entirely around books, we rebuilt and improved the library beyond recognition and invested a considerable amount in terms of new books.

Without doubt though, what has helped most to foster within our children a genuine interest and love of books, was our decision to invite an author in to our school every year. This has been done through the work of Ellie and Jan from Speaking of Books, who have been with us throughout our journey to date. With their excellent links they have been able to source some really inspirational authors such as: Anthony Browne, Michael Rosen, Anne Fine, Jeremy Strong, Nick Butterworth, Ross Welford, Valerie Bloom and Zohab Zee Khan. In the eight years since we commenced our Book focused curriculum they have never let us down, always seeking out someone new and exciting. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ellie and Jan, for the pivotal part they have played, in helping to develop not only a culture of reading in our school but also a love and desire to read!

Mark Jones

Headteacher, Belmont Castle Academy

Speaking of books were able to suggest a more than suitable author for our event. They made sure we had all the information we needed to book smoothly and easily. We have no hesitation in recommending them for future events.

Elisa Morse

St Peter’s Primary School, Canterbury

I was so impressed by the service provided by Speaking of Books when they organised a last-minute bespoke author event for our school. Ellie was fantastic to work with – friendly, efficient and experienced. The event ran very smoothly and was a huge success!

Lou Salisbury

Millais School, Horsham