As a trustee of Wokingham More Arts, and a lover of the written word, I was delighted that this event was able to go ahead under the current circumstances. Well done to everyone who worked to make it happen.

More than 11,000 attendees, 410 classes and 40 schools across the Wokingham borough – that’s the fantastic outcome of this year’s Authors into Schools project, keeping imagination alive amidst a pandemic. 

With a diverse programme of topics, sessions were live-streamed and designed to cater to children from Reception to Year 9. Students got to know the authors, listened to the exclusive behind-the-scenes of their books and had the opportunity to ask some of the most intriguing questions.

There was plenty of fun and laughter to be had too, from Holly Rivers’ spooky Demelza and the Spectre Detectors, to James Carter’s Once Upon a Star or Natascha Biebow’s The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons to name a few.

The project marked the run up to the Wokingham Children’s Book Festival, which took place online during the weekend of 17 and 18 October and was sponsored by More Arts. Its aim was to encourage children to embrace the joy of creative writing and spark the love of reading for pleasure.

“I’m so grateful that despite these difficult times, our dedicated library staff and teachers continue to champion the importance of books, novels and literature, said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure. “I’d also like to take this opportunity to send my thanks to authors for sharing their passion and taking our youngest residents into the unique world of adventure. Thank you to all involved in making this initiative possible again this year.”

Jim Stockley, from More Arts said: “More Arts has been delighted to support this event. In a challenging year for everybody, bringing conversation and excitement to our school children seems especially important. Congratulations to everybody involved and let’s do it again.”

Emma Clarke, headteacher at Farley Hill Primary School added: “The author visits brought joy to the children in the classrooms and ignited their enthusiasm for reading both non-fiction and fiction. We saw such a variety of authors all of whom inspired the children. The interactive sessions were incredible and made the children think about different aspects of reading and writing. Thank you Wokingham libraries.”

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