April 15, 2024

Children's author inspires young Lionheart writers

At the end of the Spring Term, Year 3 pupils from four of our primary schools – Brocks Hill, Hallam Fields, Highcliffe and Riverside - enjoyed interviewing acclaimed children’s author Marie Basting.

Organised by Hannah Harris, Primary Director of English for Lionheart Educational Trust, the event was designed to promote the importance of reading for pleasure and to highlight the positive impact this has on attainment in other subject areas.

Having also spent the preceding 10 weeks delving deep into the fascinating world of the Ancient Romans, and reading Marie’s own book – My Family And Other Romans - the experience also allowed pupils to enhance their understanding of this key topic and what it takes to get a book published.

A quirky, time-travelling thriller, the novel tells the story of Silvia, a young girl who, alongside her family, is unexpectedly transported back to the days of Ancient Rome.

Having thoroughly enjoyed joining Silvia on her mystifying journey back to the days of Julius Caesar and co., the children now found themselves joining the book's author on a virtual webinar, where they quizzed her about where she got her inspiration for the story and where the ideas for the characters came from.

“The idea came to me in a dream, I woke up in the night and had a big story whirling around in my head,” Marie explained.

“The story chose me.”

In what was a poignant moment, Marie also shared her inspiration for wanting to become a writer.

“At school I was told girls like me don’t become authors because of where I lived and the background I had,” she said

“There weren’t any writers around me [and] it stopped me following my dreams.

“Then I had my own son and knew I had to give it another go. I wanted my son to follow his own dreams. I wanted to write stories that showed him, and other children, you can be whatever you want. Our backgrounds shouldn’t put limits on us.”

After some endearing questions about her favourite colour and food, Marie concluded the interview with some inspiring words for the children.

“Don’t give up, keep trying and then you’ll succeed.”

The pupils had a fantastic time. The experience not only elevated their understanding of the Ancient Romans, it also gave them an insight into the hard work and dedication required to publish a book and opened their eyes to the importance and enjoyment of reading.

“It was nice to see what the author looked like and hear her talking about her book,” exclaimed Zaynab from Brocks Hill.

The inspirational advice Marie relayed to our pupils will also stand them in good stead for the future, both on their forthcoming educational journeys and in their personal lives.

“The strongest message that Marie gave to our children was to have faith in their abilities, to follow their dreams and that their backgrounds shouldn't put limits on them,” explained Hannah.

“We want all of our children to view themselves as authors and to read for pleasure. It's important that they see authors are real-life people who have undertaken the same writing journey that they are on now.

“It's really important that the children are provided with meaningful experiences in order to motivate them to read and write. Research shows that author visits are hugely beneficial for all readers but particularly those who might be more reluctant to read.”

Such was the success of this initiative, that plans are already underway to organise comparable events for more Lionheart children in the future, so watch this space!