World Book Day


The students at Maiden Erlegh School in Reading have celebrated World Book Day in style.  During the day on Thursday the teachers used a part of each lesson to read excerpts of a short story which they completed by the end of the day.  The students enjoyed each episode and eagerly anticipated the next one as the day progressed.  On Friday the day started with an unusual assembly led by Mrs Williams and some of her class.  Each tutor group competed for the prize by playing 'Charades'.  Two students from each tutor group mimed a book title for the rest of the group and when the title was guessed they moved on to a new title.  The winning tutor group 7Y1 had deciphered over twenty book titles by the end of the allotted time.


World Book Day is all about encouraging young people to read and to enjoy books.  With this in mind Andrew Matthews reknowned children's author, who lives locally in Reading was invited into school to talk about his life as a writer. He explained how his love of words developed during his childhood in South Wales, listening to Children's Hour on the radio, when his imagination painted pictures of the stories, bringing them to life. When ear trouble kept him off school for a few weeks his mother brought him books from the library and, "the words on the page turned into a movie in my head."  He wrote his first story at the age of seven and three-quarters and was finally published at the age of forty-four!  His most famous books are the Shakespeare Stories which are now published all over the world including China, Nigeria, Brazil and Thailand.

Inspiration for his writing has come from a wide variety of everyday occurences, "Ideas for stories are all around you." As a former teacher he turned snippets of overheard conversations into stories and his first book, 'Wolf Pie' began in the kitchen when visiting his wife's family in Barnsley.  The first draft was jotted down on a piece of paper from his pocket which turned out to be a menu from Reading Indian restaurant!

Andrew Matthews has written well over seventy books - that's when he stopped counting them - and has met many other famous authors. His latest book is 'Gulliver in Lilliput' which he described as a graphic novel in which the pictures from his imagination have been printed on the page.

The students listened attentively and asked lots of questions before a small presentation to say thank you took place along with a hearty round of applause.

Andrew Matthews travels the world to speak about his books, we are very lucky to have him on our doorstep and hope he will return to the school again.

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