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Message from Mr Hymer: 23 September 2022

We were very fortunate on Friday to host the author Cressida Cowell. Cressida spoke to the boys about how her experiences spending entire summers on a remote Scottish island helped fire her imagination to write her 'How to Train a Dragon' series. The house she stayed in had no electricity and together with her siblings, they amused themselves in boats, climbing rocks and exploring caves. Given that the Vikings had visited these islands in the past, it was not surprising how ideas formed in her head to fuel her future stories.

She gave the boys some excellent writing tips. She described story writing as telling a really big lie, but supported by a grain of truth. Before writing a book, she would complete a great deal of research to ensure her stories were supported by some key factual details.

If ever struggling for an idea, Cressida advised the boys to draw a map. The drawing of a map of an island or lands often helps authors with the inspiration for characters and events. She urged the boys to read as reading led to magical powers. The more you read, the more words you have and the greater your magical powers.

Cressida also talked about how her younger self would not have believed that she would have found success as an author or worked with the creative minds bringing her stories to the screen. Whilst creative and inspired, she described most of the people she worked with as ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I would like to think that this message alone may inspire our boys to think big and be ambitious. 
A number of our boys stayed behind to receive a signed copy of Cressida's new book. It was a pleasure to see them sitting on the floor having received their book, beginning their new reading adventure. Their enthusiasm for reading chimed with Cressida's comment that reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child's future success. OECD research highlights that reading is also a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.

Hopefully all the boys find time each day to stop, be still and to read. Finding time to read is habit forming and easier to sustain. We have a number of boys visiting the library at lunchtime to find a quiet corner to read. Mrs Stevns, our new librarian is looking for different ways to engage the boys. We look forward to developing the boys' interests and passions to try new authors and genres.