Writing is a wonderful thing. Reading is up there along with it too. Since I’ve been able to hold a pen, I’ve written.  Since I’ve been able to figure out that those letters thrown across the page were actually words and meant something, I’ve read.

I truly believe that such things can not only broaden one’s vocabulary, but their horizons too. I’m the perfect example – I’ve had a bestseller, travelled, met amazing people and written for the movies. It’s an amazing feeling when people you’ve never met tell you something you’ve written is their favourite story.

So, I am more than happy when I can pass this love for the written word onto others, particularly children.

Last Thursday, I was invited by the wonderful Miss Harding of Italy class at Ormiston South Parade Academy, which my own daughter attends, to give a literacy workshop. The school genuinely is a fantastic establishment. We moved our older daughter there (she’s since moved up to senior school) from one where she was having numerous issues. She began to flourish immediately with their positive attitude towards learning.  My youngest, there now, is enjoying the same experience.

I was delighted to be asked, of course. I was a little unsure what I might talk about. My books, obviously, but what else? What could I bring to them that would engage and inspire their imaginations?

After chatting about my work and my achievements, which I hoped would give them some aspirations and see that it’s good to follow a dream because they do, sometimes, come true, we worked together on a story. When I say we worked together, that’s exactly what happened. In turn, they wrote it, line by line. I guided them and the energy displayed by the children was so infectious. The enthusiasm, a delight. Many were practically jumping from their chairs with their hands up to offer the next line and the next and the next. I was so very proud.

I’ve been told that they spoke afterwards about how I inspired them. That’s quite humbling.

I have said that I’ll take their work and write it into a story myself. I will indeed but, in the meantime, here’s what they came up with. The title is theirs.

Power in Need by Miss Hardin’s Italy Class

Jess, the Red Queen, stole a super delicate shoe. It was a magic show. It took you anywhere you wanted. It takes you to a dark place but she thought it took you to a nice place.

She landed in dark place under the sea with dark spiders.  There was a figure that made an orb. They destroy all the world and blow it up. The final ingredient is a human soul but a powerful one. A ritual had to be performed. He wanted revenge so the people had to fly out. He needed three ingredients. The first one is a broken bone, rotten pizza, uranium 192. The figure lurked in the underworld with the spiders by his side.

Jess had to escape. She found a decoy so she found clothes to make it look like her for the ritual. The spiders went after the decoy while Jess was escaping. The figure created an unidentifiable creature to catch her. She was stealing the orb and she fell into a trap.

She wanted to warn the villagers that the ingredients were at her castle but they didn’t believe her because she was horrid. She took it to her castle to destroy it. The figure and the spiders captured her. She is in danger so she doesn’t break out. While he sets up the ritual, after an hour or two, the creature that the figure summoned came to rescue Jess.

At the last minute the figure realised that the uranium has gone. Only Jess knew where the uranium was kept, so the figure forced the creature to release her so she can help the figure find it. Jess leads the figure down to the basement while the creature was locked in the dungeons. Jess pours the uranium on him after finding it is his weakness. The she takes the orb, running away.

Now she has the power she always needed.

As you can see, the children of Italy class have a wonderful imagination. Both Miss Harding, a lovely person and talented teacher, and I were left open mouthed by their suggestions. I’ve been invited back next year and I can honestly say I can’t wait.


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