CHILDREN roared with laughter when award-winning author Ali Sparkes treated them to a dynamic retelling of her career and inspired them to see how entertaining books can be.
Her hilarious and uplifting account of the tough road to success was one of the magical ingredients that Ali threw in to captivate 200 youngsters from Sarisbury CoE Juniors, Park Gate Primary and Brookfield Community schools.
Ali visit was donated for free as part of The News literacy campaign Read All About It – and for many students, the experience was priceless.
Oscar Chessell, 10, of Park Gate, said: ‘Ali was brilliant.
‘She made me laugh so much.
‘The comedy is what I love most about her books.
‘Meeting her in person is a memory I will treasure for ever.
‘Reading is so important because it broadens your mind and it gives you better life chances, but after hearing Ali the idea of going one step further and being a writer is something I’ll consider!’
Erin Newman, 10, of Sarisbury, said: ‘Ali gave us a real insight into writing books which has encouraged me to keep going.
‘I’ve written a few short stories and I’d love to be an author.
‘Books for me are so much more fun than films because you can make them your own.’
Heather Carless, 12, of Brookfield, can’t wait to get stuck into her signed copies of Frozen in Time and Dark Summer.
She said: ‘This is the first time I’ve ever met an author and I feel inspired. Ali was so funny and I liked it when she gave us an alternative interpretation of a Telly Tubby, which showed us how powerful description can be.’
Ali was touched to learn that older students from Brookfield, which hosted the event, had made special requests to sit in the audience.
She said: ‘It was an absolute delight. There were some very intelligent questions and it was great to see so much enthusiasm from children in different age groups.
‘For me, it’s all about switching on as many young people as I can. I don’t want anybody sitting there thinking “this is not for me”.
‘Communication is for everybody and the written word is king.’