St Nicholas-at-Wade children welcome inspiring author back to her former school

Author Penny Byrne with St Nicholas pupils

Acclaimed author Penny Byrne opened a new chapter in the lives of enthusiastic young readers and writers at St Nicholas at Wade CE Primary School.

Children were thrilled when Penny, who lives in Jersey in the Channel Islands, returned to the village where she grew up and relived childhood memories in a nostalgic visit to her old school.

In a busy schedule the writer enjoyed chatting with pupils, discussing what inspires her, and she read from several of her books.

For Reception and Years 1 and 2 she read from ‘Seymour’s Seaside Picnic’ which is very popular rhyming book that also features lots of information about the coast and its wildlife. Healthy eating was the topic for Years 3 and 4 when Penny shared her tale of ‘Charlie and Spud and the Stone Age’.

For Years 5 and 6, the visitor discussed World War II and how her home island of Jersey was the only place in Britain to be occupied by German invaders. She read extracts from her children’s story about it, as well as from an adult book of people’s memories (‘Voices from the Occupation’).

Head Teacher Taralee Kennedy said: “It was a real treat to have Penny spend time with us as part of our ongoing literacy drive, and to welcome her back to her old school.  She still has family living in the village and has a real affection for the area.

“She was so inspiring and our children were enthralled to meet her and find out more about how she writes and where she gets her story ideas from – they loved listening to her read a selection of her beautifully-crafted imaginative stories.”

A big thrill for the children came when Penny invited them to send her their writings for her to read and she promised she would give advice about them.  She left her contact details so that if any children have any questions she can be reached.

Mrs Kennedy added: “What a kind and generous offer – it is a great boost to our young readers and writers who can’t wait to show her their writing skills.

“We are so grateful to her for spending her time with us and for leaving us with a stack of books to enjoy as well.”

The children were really enthusiastic about their visitor. Ava said: “I loved having Penny here; it was interesting to hear her story and as she came to our school it proves that you can do anything,” while Freya added: “Penny is an inspiration. She was proud and knew so much about Jersey Island and really cared about it.” Theodore agreed and said: “’I really liked the author visit because she was inspirational. She made me want to visit Jersey.”

The visit was organised by teacher Helen Bullard who is the school’s English Lead.

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