Encouraging reading is vital, says kids’ author

SPECIAL GUEST Author Michael Morpurgo
SPECIAL GUEST Author Michael Morpurgo
Mad Kid's Bedroom Wall Pot. Picture: Todd-White Art Photography

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TOP children’s author Michael Morpurgo says he can’t wait to meet his fans in Portsmouth.

The War Horse author will visit the city later this month to help kick off Portsmouth Book Fest 2013.

He said he hopes it will be an experience youngsters, and their parents, will never forget when he reads extracts from his books and discusses his stories.

He said: ‘I’m looking forward to it hugely.

‘Last time I was in Portsmouth I did a very interesting thing, I had supper on HMS Victory. I like the city.’

Mr Morpurgo is passionate about encouraging children to read and believes it starts at home.

‘Anything that gets our children interested in books and stories is really important. Not just for their education but for their lives.

‘It’s really lovely, rather like taking stories with your mother’s milk.

‘My mother read to my brother and me every night and that made all the difference. It sowed the seed early on.’

Asked what the children can expect from his visit to the Guildhall he said: ‘They can expect to be, I hope, amused. Sometimes a little upset. I talk about serious things as well as funny things.

‘I will listen to their questions carefully and answer them honestly.

‘They will get straight answers from me.

‘It will be an experience they won’t forget for a very, very long time – even if they want to!’

And he has some advice for budding writers attending Book Fest.

‘Love the story that you’re telling and really care about it. Live a life that’s really interesting, go to places, meet people, listen to people, read books and newspapers. Become a wordsmith in your head and write a little each day until it becomes natural.’

A Medal for Leroy and Pinocchio, Mr Morpurgo’s new books, are out now.

The children’s event is at 7pm on September 28.

Tickets are available by calling (023) 9282 4355 or from portsmouthguildhall.org.uk/events/michael-morpurgo.