Earlier today, children from twelve schools in Manchester were virtually visited by Waterstones Children’s Laureate and award-winning author, Cressida Cowell as part of Connecting Stories.
Connecting Stories is a new initiative delivered by the National Literacy Trust, for which Cressida Cowell is an ambassador. Led by Read Manchester from the National Literacy Trust and Manchester City Council, the Arts Council England funded project aims to increase children and young people’s access to literary experiences and books. 18 publishers and over 30 children’s authors are supporting the campaign through book donations and virtual visits.
Cressida is the author and illustrator of the best-selling How to Train Your Dragon books series, which has sold over 11 million books in 38 languages, is a major DreamWorks Animation film franchise, and is being made into a TV series on Netflix and CBBC. The Wizards of Once series, also created by Cressida, has been translated into 37 languages and has been signed by DreamWorks Animation.
In this live-stream event, Cressida delighted children with information on her book writing process and gave tips on becoming an author and illustrator. Children were also engaged with an exciting Q&A session, where Cressida shared her World Book Day wish that “all children could have access to books and libraries like sweetie shops” and read as many books as possible. She encouraged children to “write for the joy of it” and to take part in the Connecting Stories creative writing competition. The competition is open to children and young people in Manchester, age 7 to 14, and has the exciting theme, ‘Local Heroes’. The deadline for entries is 12 March.
Cressida Cowell says, “I am delighted to be supporting the Connecting Stories initiative. As an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, I know the importance of their work and the positive effect it has on the children most in need of support with literacy skills. It's really exciting to be able to connect with children from many different communities all at once, and to inspire them to be creative and share their stories.”
Elsewhere, Read Manchester celebrated World Book Day by gifting over 13,000 World Book Day books through foodbanks, youth organisations and community groups. 5,000 of these have been generously donated by publishers HarperCollins and Penguin Random House.
Read Manchester has also gifted three primary schools the complete set of the books on their Reading Map. Inspired by the metrolink tram map, it takes children on a voyage of reading discovery and encourages them to explore new authors and genres.