WORLD BOOK DAY 2022
A huge thank you to the fantastic authors who helped Y7s celebrate World Book Day. This year was a special celebration to mark Whitmore’s Year of Reading, and we invited six, not four, authors to the library to spend the day with the Y7s. Michael Mann wrote Ghostcloud, which was voted one of Waterstones best books in 2021, Sufiya Ahmed just published a new book about suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, which was featured on the BBC news website. Michael and Sufiya were joined by Annaliese Avery, Julia Tuffs, Sarah Naughton and Alex Cotter.
World Book Day at Whitmore is always a fun day and an amazing opportunity for students to speak to famous authors, ask them about their books and how they became writers. Students also have the chance to get signed copies of the authors’ books, and buy top titles at half-price in our pop-up bookshop. This year, we also gave away over 400 free World Book Day books.
We even impressed our teachers – “I know you, you’re really famous!” said Mr Anders when he bumped into Alex Cotter outside the library. “The House on the Edge is my son’s favourite book!”
Alex also made a big impression on Zayaan (Y7): “I ran to Alex Cotter to get my favourite book signed - The House on the Edge. When she signed it, she asked my name and she loved it! She asked questions about my name – who named me, what does Zayaan mean (The Beautifier), what culture does it come from? I said Arabic. She was amazed and told me she was going to write a book with my name in it!”
Annaliese Avery, author of The Nightsilver Promise showed us her amazing illustrated notebooks and explained how she maps out story plots and characters and the whole creative writing process. Her book is an “epic fantasy adventure, set in a parallel London with dragons… What is good about being a writer is being able to write about things you find really interesting, and I love writing about fantasy.”
London is also the setting for Michael Mann’s Ghostcloud, which tells the story of 12-year old Luke, who is half-Indian, like Michael Mann. Luke is forced into slavery in Battersea Power Station, unable to escape until he meets a ghost-girl called Alma. “This book started with me and my nephew seeing a shape in the clouds and it got me thinking, what if there was something up there, and not just a cloud?”
Michael has offered to be the judge of our World Book Day Competition. We’re asking Y7s to redesign the cover of Ghostcloud, and the winners will not only win Amazon gift cards, but will receive signed copies of Michael’s book and feedback on their artwork.
Julia Tuffs told us about how Donald Trump’s bad behaviour towards a woman during the US elections was the inspiration for her novel Hexed. “I thought there’s no way he’ll be elected, but he was and it got me thinking about how we value women in society. Hexed tackles a serious subject. It’s about Jessie, who discovers she has witchy powers and uses them to take down the toxic masculinity in the school. It sounds serious, but it’s actually a fun book.”
Sarah Naughton returned to tell us about a new project she’s working on with Anthony Horowitz. It’s top secret at the moment, so Sarah wasn’t allowed to give too much away about this exciting new venture yet, but she also discussed The Blood List and The Hanged Man Rises, her eerie, scary books set in the past.
The students enjoyed being able to chat to the authors. “It’s very fun and I think it encourages us to read books,” said Arya (Y7), and Karla (Y7) agreed: “World Book Day was fun because there were so many books, which I love! Alex Cotter had an interesting book that I bought. I asked her, ‘How did you come up with the idea?’ She told me something similar happened to her in her childhood and that is how she came up with the idea, which I thought was interesting! However, Sufiya Ahmed had amazing books, too. I bought one called Ruby Ali’s Mission Break Up. All the authors were so kind!”
Kabilan (Y7) interviewed all the authors and compiled a list of their top tips for budding writers:
“Sufiya Ahmed writes historical fiction and drama which is an impeccable combination. Her top tip is that in order to write you must read. I found that fascinating and helpful. Alex Cotter writes mystery books with a dash of horror. Her top tip is to use inspiration from films or other books. Michael Mann’s tip is to use the five senses. Annaliese Avery writes adventure. Her top tip is to plan structure. Sarah Naughton writes very scary books related to Victorian times. Her top tip was to put your imagination into a notebook, then release it into a story. Julia Tuffs writes superhero-like young adult books. Her top tip is to make the main characters’ journey a long one.” Our favourite tip is Sufiya’s: “In order to write you must read,” which is the perfect tip for Whitmore’s Year of Reading and we hope our World Book Day authors inspire some future writers in Y7!