Perfect endings for author Ali Sparkes

Ali Sparkes with librarian Margaret Taylor, back, and pupils at Henry Cort College
Ali Sparkes with librarian Margaret Taylor, back, and pupils at Henry Cort College
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Talented schoolchildren wowed award-winning author Ali Sparkes with their own fairytale endings.

Almost 200 Year 7 youngsters at Henry Cort Community College in Fareham demonstrated their writing wizardry when they spent the day with the winner of the 2010 Blue Peter Book of the Year award.

They entered a competition which involved writing short stories following on from a paragraph written by Ali Sparkes about a character called Alex who gets caught in thick mist on his way home for lunch.

The opening sentence read: ‘There was no warning. No chance at all of escape.

‘When Alex had set out along the creek that day he had fully expected to be home for lunch. But that was before the dark green mist began to snake across the water....’

Ali Sparkes, a former local journalist famed for her book Frozen in Time about two cryogenically-frozen children from the 1950s brought back to life in 2009, had a tough time judging.

But in the end she crowned 12-year-old Nick Bold winner for his tale about a swamp monster that devours souls.

Leticia McMullen, also 12, came a close second with her story about Alex who gets transported to a strict Victorian household to teach him good manners.

The challenge formed part of the author’s exciting visit to Henry Cort to launch her new book series Switch about bugs and creepy crawlies.

She also joined the 11 and 12-year-olds for assembly where she spoke about her writing aspirations before delivering fun writing workshops that included making animal masks and coming up with stories based on book covers. Meg Smart, 11, was enthralled. She said: ‘It was great.’

Richard Clark Lyons, head of English, said: ‘We were delighted to welcome author Ali Sparkes.

‘It’s fabulous to see the youngsters interact with her and clearly benefit from her creative energy.

‘Nothing captures their imagination more than a real author visiting the classroom.’