Pupils take readers on a classical adventure

St Mary's Catholic Primary School teacher Jonathan Pearce (centre) with pupils (from left) Millie Richards (9), William Brown (10), Nathan Popplewell (9) and Peter York(10) who took part in the school's Perseus Project.
St Mary's Catholic Primary School teacher Jonathan Pearce (centre) with pupils (from left) Millie Richards (9), William Brown (10), Nathan Popplewell (9) and Peter York(10) who took part in the school's Perseus Project.
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Primary schoolchildren have just accomplished what most writers only dream of – publishing their very own adventure book.

Youngsters at St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Gosport have just put the finishing touches to Perseus and the Gorgon’s Head, which will be available to buy in bookshops and online.

The green paperback, with a front cover illustration by 10-year-old Ethan Mills, is structured like a game. It takes the reader on a fascinating journey through multiple versions of the tale of the young hero and Medusa, whose snake hair turned people into stone.

Teacher Jonathan Pearce came up with the idea for the group of 52 eight to 11-year-olds and even set up his own publishing company, Pupil 2 Publish, to bring it to ‘real life’.

He says: ‘I wanted to give the pupils a purpose to write because I want to help them all become better writers, especially the boys.

‘The quality of work shines through in the book. It’s a fantastic achievement.’

The children will hold an official book launch on July 15, where they will make presentations, act out scenes from a play about the legend that they scripted and sign copies.

Soraya Vaudin, eight, invented a beggar with magic herbs to heal Perseus’s wound before he enters the cave to slay Medusa. She says: ‘I feel famous. I so enjoyed writing the book – I never thought at my age I’d get published.’

William Brown, 10, who helped craft the final chapter, adds: ‘This book has definitely made me a better writer because I have learnt to use more descriptive and interesting words.’

The children have also created a plasticine stop-motion animation film and artwork on the theme of the legend.

Peter York, 10, who worked on the animation, as well as the chapter featuring the witches with one eye between them, says: ‘There are no pictures in the book so we’ve had to write in such a way to put images in readers’ heads.

‘It’s been such a great experience and shows if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything.’

The book, which costs £5.49, is now available online at Amazon.