Bedtime story campaign supported by author

Author Vashti Hardy with pupils at the book signing
Author Vashti Hardy with pupils at the book signing

Author Vashti Hardy has been supporting a school campaign to bring back the bedtime story.

She joined Glebe Primary School in Southwick for its World Book Day celebrations and was interviewed by the Chatterbooks reading group about her journey to becoming a writer.

Vashti also led a map-making workshop with year three and visited every class to chat about her debut novel, Brightstorm.

She said: “It’s such a privilege to be patron of reading to a school so committed to spreading a love of books the children across the school.

“The fact that it was my own primary school makes the relationship really special. I can’t wait to work more with them on all the exciting projects coming up.”

Pupils and staff went to school in their pyjamas to enjoy a day of sharing stories, then parents and carers were invited in at the end of the day to read with their own children and meet Vashti as she signed copies of her book.

Naomi Welsh, literacy co-ordinator and year six teacher, said: “As a school, we felt it was necessary to highlight the importance of reading at bedtime.

“I recently came across a startling statistic about how few parents actually read a book at bedtime these days. It was clear from today, though, just how much all our Glebe children love having stories read to them, so hopefully this will have an impact.”

Vashti is Glebe’s patron of reading and Brightstorm, a Victoriana sky-ship adventure, was published on March 1 by Scholastic.

Kate Gieler, volunteer school librarian, said: “This is our second author so far this term. The impact after Stewart Foster visited was immediate, with children and adults buzzing about his books, and that has continued with children still writing to him to ask questions and teachers reading his books to their classes.

“We are so lucky to find Vashti to support us as a patron of reading as well. She has been incredibly generous with her time and Brightstorm has been an instant hit with the children.

“The year three team are looking forward to working with her next term and are currently creating a brand new topic of work based on the book, which Vashti will play a key role in.”

In the book, Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm are devastated by the news that their father, a daring explorer, has lost his life in a failed attempt to reach South Polaris. A mysterious clue leads the twins to question the story they have been told and to find the truth, they must undertake the journey of a lifetime.

Jake Terrill, year three teacher, said: “It’s fantastic, like a young His Dark Materials. I can’t wait to read it to my class.”