On Friday 17 September, we hosted a multi-schools event in partnership with Puffin Books to celebrate the release of the latest book by Greg James and Chris Smith.
The children’s authors marked the launch of The Great Dream Robbery with an exclusive event with schools across the country.
Greg James and Chris Smith, authors of the Kid Normal series, treated Key Stage 2 pupils to a lively and interactive virtual workshop about the power of imagination, as part of the National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories project, funded by Arts Council England.
Connecting Stories addresses the literacy attainment gap across our 14 Hub areas. It provides a programme of exciting events: from virtual author visits, creative writing competitions, book donations, and a variety of activities for families to enjoy.
Some lucky pupils received a free copy of The Great Dream Robbery to take home after putting questions about their writing journey and dreams to the authors, during the interactive virtual visit.
One pupil even got the chance to ask their favourite authors ‘what inspired you to become authors?’, while another pupil asked ‘what made you choose to write a book about dreams?’.
It comes the day after the authors launched The Great Dream Robbery; an adventure story featuring a hospital heist, some banana-loving llamas and a talking cat called Bin Bag. The story centres around 12-year-old Maya who is desperate to fall asleep and save her father Professor Dexter who is in his own living nightmare.
The Professor invented a device that allows you to visit other people’s dreams. But the devious Lilith Delamere trapped him inside a nightmare so Maya and the mysterious Dream Bandits must find a way to rescue him before it’s too late.
During the event, Greg James and Chris Smith delighted children by sharing tips on creating stories and encouraged them to use their limitless imaginations to come up with the best stories possible.
Greg James encouraged pupils to ‘make sure you’re having fun – that is the most important thing with any book!’.
He went on: “If there is something in your life that you’re passionate about, whether it’s the climate or something to do with your community, there are some amazing stories all around you, so don’t be afraid of tackling a big subject to make your story.”
Meanwhile Chris Smith celebrated the escapism of books. He said: “There’s always a book to escape into! That’s the best thing about reading.”
It comes as Greg James and Chris Smith are announced as ambassadors of the National Literacy Trust, after playing an important role in inspiring children to develop a love of reading and encouraging them to read outside of school.
They helped to launch the National Literacy Trust’s Virtual School Library: a digital platform set up during lockdown, giving every primary school child in the UK access to a free ebook or audiobook, an exclusive video and engaging activities from a children’s author or illustrator each week
Greg James and Chris Smith, co-authors of The Great Dream Robbery, said: "The National Literacy Trust is undeniably brilliant so it is a joy to be part of their Connecting Stories initiative. The children we’ve worked with through the NLT are always funny, feisty and fizzing with ideas.
“We’re so looking forward to being in front of all that creative energy, telling them all about The Great Dream Robbery and encouraging them to keep being creative and using their wild imaginations!”
Imran Hafeez, Hub Manager of Bradford Stories, said: “We’re thrilled that so many pupils got the chance to meet their literary heroes Greg James and Chris Smith – and put their own questions to them!
“We know that author visits help play a vital role in helping children to create positive associations with reading, support their wider learning and inspiring them to dream big. Reading has a proven link to children’s wellbeing and there couldn’t be a more important time to support the health of our children and young people.
“For parents and families looking for a book to kick off the autumn term, I couldn’t recommend The Great Dream Robbery enough!”