The children from year 2 to year 6 at William Barnes were thrilled to discover that author Gillian Cross had promised to spend a at the school at the end of the Autumn half term. 

The arrangements for the visit began following a conversation shared at the Sturminster Literary Festival back in July with ex pupil and parent Tabitha and Laura Hayward.  Gillian’s interest in the school was passed on to deputy head Richard Hull who got in touch to finalise details.  Currently in the spotlight with a new BBC adaptation of her recent book ‘The Demon Headmaster – Total Control”, Gillian managed to find a date in her busy schedule to come and work with the children.

Although Gillian is the author of sixty five published children’s books, she was extremely friendly and down to Earth showing great skill when working with the children.  In each class, she presented a different activity designed to open the children’s imagination to create characters and stories of their own.  For example, in years 3 and 4, the children used bags with simple items hidden in them to create a plot, whilst in year 5 the children were asked a sequence of seventeen quick-fire questions to create a detailed character sketch.  Gillian was only too pleased to sign books and answer questions about her long career, which began in 1979 when her first book was accepted for publication.

The day came to an end (following fascinating anecdotes about Roald Dahl and J.K.Rowling), when two children from year 5 presented her with flowers and chocolates to say thank you for all the inspirational advice and experience she shared with them during the day.

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