Meet the authors:

Sam Copeland

Sam Copeland

Sam Copeland is an author, which has come as something of a shock to him. He is from Manchester and now lives in London with two smelly cats, three smelly children and one relatively clean-smelling wife.

His phenomenally popular Charlie Changes Into a Chicken was the second bestselling middle grade debut of 2019 and has been sold in 26 languages, shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, longlisted for the Blue Peter and Branford Boase Awards, and selected for Empathy Lab’s 2020 Read for Empathy list.

“I am so excited to be part of Connecting Stories with the National Literacy Trust, helping to inspire a love of reading in children across the North East. With the turn of a page children are able to explore magical new worlds and learn about the world around them. I can’t wait to help families discover a life-long love of reading to support their literacy and improve their life chances.”

Burhana Islam

Burhana Islam

Born in Bangladesh, raised in Newcastle and currently residing in the outskirts of Manchester, Burhana Islam is a storyteller who is passionate about exploring themes of heritage, belonging, identity and faith in both her children’s and young adult works. She studied English Literature at Newcastle University before deciding to become a secondary school teacher, sharing her love for stories with a new generation of curious, young minds.

Her first book, Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World, is a contemporary collection of thirty true stories aimed at children aged 9 to 12, all of which shine a light on the incredible contributions Muslims have made to our history, and the continued importance and influence they have on our culture.

“Having grown up in Newcastle, I am so happy to be part of the Connecting Stories project with Read North East and the National Literacy Trust. As a secondary school teacher, I see first-hand the transformative effect reading can have on a child’s confidence, wellbeing and ultimately their life chances.

Reading and writing is a vital way for young people to learn about other people’s stories and explore their own. I hope this project will inspire a love of reading in children and young people across the North East to support their literacy and ignite their curiosity about the stories around them.”

Gabrielle Kent

Gabrielle Kent

Gabrielle Kent is an author from the North East of England. Her favourite things are books and videogames. She plays videogames, makes videogames, taught videogames, and for her latest series, Knights and Bikes, she has written books based on a videogame!

As well as Knights and Bikes, Gabrielle is the author of the Alfie Bloom series, which has been published in seven languages.

One of her favourite experiences was appearing on BBC Bitesize as a games expert to help Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who to save the world from the Daleks using programming.

“I am so pleased that Connecting Stories is coming to the North East and that I am going to be part of it. It’s so important that books and stories are available and accessible to all children to support their literacy, wellbeing and their future. I hope this project allows us to inspire thousands of local children and young people to find a love of reading that will last a life time.”