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News story

750 Peterborough children inspired by author and BBC presenter’s ‘epic fantasy adventure’

26 Jan 2024


More than 750 children from seven different schools across the city got to hear Jess French talk about her new book, Beastlands: Race to Frostfall Mountain, as part of a visit organised by the National Literacy Trust in Peterborough on Thursday 25 January 2024.

Year 5 and 6 pupils were invited to two different talks from the author and television personality, the first at St John’s Church School in the morning and the second at Gladstone Park Community Centre in the afternoon.

Children heard an extract from the book, asked questions about Jess’s favourite adventures, life as an author and where inspiration comes from, and each school took copies of Beastlands: Race to Frostfall Mountain for their school library spaces.

The 750 pupils came from seven schools in Peterborough: St John’s Church School, Winyates Primary, Braybrook Primary, Leighton Primary, Gladstone Academy, The Beeches Primary and Fulbridge Academy.

“It’s been a wonderful day seeing so many children engaging with Jess French and her world of adventure on Frostfall Mountain. Our research shows that more children who have experienced author visits say they enjoy reading in their free time compared with their peers who haven’t received one. We want to bring authors like Jess into the city to ensure all Peterborough pupils can be inspired to enjoy and create fantasy worlds of their own.”

Becky Marrs, Manager for the National Literacy Trust in Peterborough

Author visits provide vital opportunities to engage children and young people with literacy. In 2023, research from the National Literacy Trust revealed that only 19% of children aged 8 to 18 in the East of England reported they had an author visit in their school.

“I'm ecstatic to be in Peterborough seeing over 750 children for a wonderful day of school events. Having worked with the National Literacy Trust for much of my writing career, I know how hard they work at educating so many young people on the pleasure and importance of reading and I feel so lucky to be here today.”

Jess French, author of Beastlands: Race to Frostfall Mountain

Beastlands: Race to Frostfall Mountain is the first instalment in Jess's epic fantasy trilogy which features imaginative wild creatures that were inspired by Jess's zoology experience. Her new series has an environmental twist on the fantasy genre, celebrating conservationism and the idea that adventure and exploration are a kind of education.

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