On Wednesday 3rd April we were thrilled to welcome author Kathryn Evans into school to speak to some Year 8 and 9 English classes about her new book Beauty Sleep.
Miss Machado, Teacher of English was delighted to meet Kathryn, "Her presentation was imaginative, engaging and, more importantly, very relevant to our students. I was chatting with them about it afterwards and they said how much they enjoyed listening to her, so much so, the queue to purchase her novel afterwards was trailing out of the library door!
"It wasn't the typical promotion of a novel from an author; it was more like a P4C lesson which dealt with some of the sensitive key issues young people are faced with today. Her most recent novel handles topics like homelessness, loss, the influence of technology and self-image, the last of which was her focus outlining fashion trends all the way from the Elizabethan era to today. She had pupils asking themselves hard-hitting questions about how they are influenced to look a certain way by what advertising and social media standards dictate to us and she encouraged them to 'rebel' against them and be themselves! Bring on the revolution!
"In an age where people are obsessed with their phones and gadgets, it was so refreshing to see the impact an author can have on reading a" good book and why it's so important - we learn key lessons about ourselves.
"I have no doubt that her talk will have furthered the enthusiasm for reading many of our students already have and fostered a keen interest in those normally a bit more reluctant to pick up a book and read for enjoyment."
Two Year 8 pupils commented that “she was fun to listen to, engaging and gave good advice about growing up”.
Mrs Watson, Head of English observed: “Our pupils clearly engaged with Kathryn as the level of their questions were impressive and demonstrated just how much they had absorbed what she had taught them. Not only was Kathryn a great example for them of an active reader, she helped them see beyond their preconceived ideas about writing and provided them with a thought provoking experience, finished off with a wonderful reading from the book.”
Meeting an author can be a life-changing experience for pupils as it allows them to connect with a book more closely and can be a way into reading for pleasure for children who have previously found this challenging. With almost sixty copies of the book now in the hands of pupils (and staff), plus other copies of Beauty Sleep and Kathryn’s first book More of Me available in the school library, we hope many of our young people will be making extra time to read for pleasure over the Easter break. Our thanks to the Portsmouth Schools Library Service, Hayling Island Bookshop and, of course, Kathryn herself for making this special event possible.
Mrs A Regan, School Librarian