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Strontian Primary School pupils were excited and delighted to think the famous children’s writer Cressida Cowell would be visiting their classrooms, following a successful bid by principal teacher Rachel Patterson to the Scottish Book Trust.
The plan was for Strontian primary to host the author of How to Train Your Dragon, with other schools able to link in online.
However, the entire event was moved online.
Strontian pupils, with their teachers Mrs MacGillivray, Miss Kemp and head teacher Mr Millar-Craig, gathered for the live link at 1pm last Thursday to watch and listen to Ms Cowell’s inspiring and energising interview from her writing ‘shed’.
Pupils in all the other Ardnamurchan primaries linked in to it, so it became a real Ardnamurchan Associated Schools Group (ASG) Literacy event.
Pupils learned one of the author’s inspirations for her dragons was the island skyline of her frequent family holidays to a remote island in Argyll.
They learned about her favourite childhood books which inspired her, they saw her ‘cuddly’ dragons which featured in the ‘shed’ as well as seeing the amazing art work which she created as she developed her characters and illustrations.
Ms Cowell shared a secret of her success in creating characters, dragons and other scary creatures, by researching real creatures of our planet then bringing different features together to make realistic characters and fantastical beasts which feature in her books.
Pupils learned that Scotland was the inspiration for her ‘How to Train your Dragon’ books, but Ms Cowell also shared exciting new developments and characters, which pupils and staff were all sworn to secrecy about.
Pupils were also taught some ‘dragonese’, but all adults and teachers had to put their
hands over their ears because the language isn’t suitable for adults.
Pupils from all over Highland primary schools were able to have questions answered and Cohan, in Strontian’s P7, was lucky to have his question about whether Ms Cowell would write another ‘Wizards of One’ book answered.
The answer is, wait for the first in a new series of books. It’s going to
be different, but exciting.
The session ended with some words of advice from Ms Cowell to young people interested in writing, including; listen to audio books if you find some books too hard to read; try telling your own stories to an adult and have them write it for you; if you’re too young to write fully yet, don’t worry if you don’t finish your stories and, always write about what excites and interests you.
Mr Miller-Craig said: ‘This was a great event for our children in Strontian Primary School. Pupils gave Cressida Cowell their rapt attention throughout and although they couldn’t get to ask all their prepared questions, many of these were answered during the interview. Pupils felt really inspired by Cressida.’
Pupils were keen to give their impressions, with the following youngsters telling the Lochaber Times:
‘I think it was amazing because she is so famous,’ – Addie, P5.
‘It made me think I would like to write stories.’ – Dylan, P5.
‘I found out she wasn’t good at hand writing and now she is good at writing and art. I like her shed.’ Megan, P5.
‘If you don’t finish your story when you’re young you can always finish it when you are older.’ Ava, P6.
‘Cressida Cowell was really nice and she gave us lots of tips if we want to write stories.’ Sophie, P6.
‘I found out when Cressida Cowell was a child she wasn’t good at handwriting and now she is amazing at illustrating her books!’ Iona, P7.
‘She was inspiring because she was once just like everyone else.’ Macy, P7.