Author introduces Southwick pupils to characters from her new novel

Southwick schoolchildren were able to delve into the mind of a writer thanks to a visit from author Vashti Hardy, the day after her second novel was published.

Wildspark is a technological adventure set in a vivid steampunk world. It features inventions, ghosts and danger as farm girl Prue Haywood tries to bring back her brother from the dead.

Year three pupils at Glebe Primary School heard about the inspiration behind some of the characters in Wildspark, as well as Vashti’s debut novel Brightstorm, during assembly on Friday.

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In the lessons that followed, the children were able to work closely with Vashti to design and develop maps following their own individual story plans.

Author Vashti Hardy with her two novels at Glebe Primary School in Southwick. Photo by Derek Martin DM1950015a

Pupil James Beatty said: “It was amazing having Vashti come in as we could do loads of fun stuff with her like drawing maps of our stories and drawing our own sky ships.”

Vashti is Glebe’s patron of reading and she has been working with school librarian Kate Gieler to support the school’s successful reading culture.

Kate said: “Vashti has visited several times, including on World Book Day, when we worked together as a school to create our own picture book.

“The children are so lucky to have this direct contact with an author. She motivates and encourages them to read adventurously and write creatively.”

The school places huge importance on reading being the key to all learning and recognises the value of illustrations in children’s books, with every class named after an illustrator.

Vashti said: “It’s such a privilege to be the patron of reading to such an enthusiastic reading school.

“The benefits for children being part of such an exciting book-sharing environment will go far beyond the literacy area of the curriculum and enthuse them to follow their interests and dreams well into the future, as well as giving them the tool-kit with which to do this.

Glebe also has a patron of illustration, Steven Lenton. Kate said the children had benefited from regular inspirational visits from authors and illustrators during the year, and more were planned.

She added: “The impact of these visits has been phenomenal, with children and staff enthused about reading, writing and drawing.”

Turn to page 22 for pictures from Glebe Primary School’s Space Day for years one and five last Wednesday.