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News story

Bradford Stories host exclusive poetry event on the Bradford Stories Bus to celebrate 25 years of Harry Potter

26 May 2022

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On Friday 20 May, Bradford Stories hosted a spectacular storytelling and poetry session on the Bradford Stories Bus, in partnership with Bloomsbury, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The Bradford Stories Bus toured Whetley Academy and St Philips C of E Primary School where children hopped on board the bus and performed their own bewitching 'poetry spells'.

The lucky pupils wrote and performed their own spells about their secret powers, goals and aspirations for the year ahead, filled in their special Harry Potter postcards, and shared their very own wands.

They reeled off magical spells to shapeshift, read minds, fly and become invisible, while one teacher wrote about the power to change the world by freezing time.

One pupil shared their powerful spell for invisibility. He said: “Go find a stream, lay down and dream,

"Go to a smooth rock and stand on top,

“Eat a snail, eat a lime… and close your eyes and step through time,

“Shout the magic word ‘shazam’ into the air and watch yourself disappear.”

Meanwhile one pupil created their own other-worldly setting in a sinister poem.

He said: “You may not know what will appear and some people might go in it and disappear,

“Enter only if you dare, what will be left of you is darkness and despair,

“You will never know what’s reality and forget actuality,

“You’ll separate from fantasy and have a dual reality. Your beliefs will be different.”

During the event, the pupils also shared what Harry Potter means to them and their favourite moments, and wrote their own poems to Harry and Voldermort.

Miles of Magic: The Harry Potter book relay

The schools are just two out of 25 schools from across the National Literacy Trust’s local area campaigns, including Bradford Stories, which are taking part in Miles of Magic: The Harry Potter Book Relay.

Over the last four months, a special copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has been travelling from school to school, with pupils adding their own additions to the book before passing it on.

The book reached Bradford on May 18 when pupils were given the chance to contribute to this well-loved story, before jumping on the bus which was decked out in Harry Potter reading challenges, house sticker sheets, bookmarks, postcards and activity books.

Meanwhile, the 25 schools have each been gifted a Harry Potter trunk of goodies to inspire pupils to celebrate the books and support their reading. Each trunk contains a class set of free Harry Potter books, a school resource from Warner Bros (the production company behind the Harry Potter films), a printed copy of the new Miles of Magic Reading Challenge, stickers, merchandise, the postcards which are to be exhibited at celebration events this summer, and more.

Michelle Hargreaves, Headteacher of St Philips C of E Primary School, said: “We’re really grateful for the opportunity to take part in the relay and the wonderful Harry Potter resources. The bus just topped it off!”

Imran Hafeez, Hub Manager of Bradford Stories, at the National Literacy Trust, said: “The children’s poetry spells were epic. We are so excited to be teaming up with Bloomsbury on this project to celebrate 25 years of Harry Potter! The books have inspired so many children – and indeed parents – in Bradford and across the UK to find a love of reading which is so vital to supporting literacy development.

“With three schools taking part in the Book Relay and all Bradford schools encouraged to join the Jonny Duddle event and run their own Miles of Magic Reading Challenge, we hope many more children in Bradford will be charmed by the magic of reading.

Beatrice Cross, Head of Publicity at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, said:For 25 years, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has cast a spell on generations of children, thrilling passionate readers and encouraging reluctant readers to discover the joy of reading. We are thrilled to be working with the National Literacy Trust to continue Harry’s legacy and help the children of today begin their magical reading adventure, unlocking their potential along the way.

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