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Surprise visitor at Hunter Hall Book Week

Hunter Hall School in Penrith enjoyed their annual Book Week last week, which included a surprise visit from children’s author Steven L. Lovett, who has featured the school in his latest novel, ‘A Place with Dragons.’

Staff and pupils got up to all sorts during their literary celebration as they delved into the magical world of books and reignited their love of reading. The theme was Adventure and Magic and the whole week was full of book-themed surprises, which included a dress up day, Scholastic book fair, quizzes, and crafts, reading buddy sessions between pupils and a reading workshop for parents.

Book week got off to a flying start, with a visit from local author, Helen Hareldsen. Upper School sat enraptured, while she told them all about the adventures of the pony, ‘Little Pearl’, on the Cumbrian Fells. The children particularly enjoyed understanding what goes into publishing a book, and they got the chance to do some editing of their own. Helen was so impressed with the edits of some of the children that she decided to include them in her next edition.

The second author visit was a little more unexpected. Steven L. Lovett happened to drop in at the school to give them a copy of his new book before leaving for home in Kansas, Texas.

He wanted a small, friendly prep school as a backdrop for his main character, and through the magic of Google, it ended up being Hunter Hall! He said he’s been following the school on the website and social media for a while and so the fact it was book week was a lucky coincidence. His novel mentions a number of other features in and around the Penrith area. Nicholas, the main character in ‘A Place with Dragons’ lives in Plumpton and goes through a magical portal into a land of dragons in Lowther Wood. When the school told him it was their Book Week, he stayed a little longer and chatted to Years 3 and 4 about the book, answering their questions.

Kirsty Fletcher, Deputy Head and Head of English said: “Book Week is such a fantastic opportunity for us to explore all elements of books and reading and although we do have a dress up day to celebrate our favourite characters, we have a whole week of activities to engage and inspire the children. Each day has a theme or activity where pupils right from Pre-school to Year 6 get involved.

“All the children thoroughly enjoyed it and got a lot from the experience, learning how to question and discuss books effectively, practising their skills and making reading a fun and integral part of their learning. It was just a magic coincidence that we had an unexpected author (as well as the planned one!) to inspire the children even more.”

The school’s dress-up day did not disappoint, with all children and staff going to a monumental effort as they embodied all sorts of characters from their favourite stories of adventure and magic. Matilda Harling won the Upper School costume award for her impressive effort as Susan from ‘Swallows and Amazons’, bringing not just her period costume, but a boat, bedecked in a pirate flag and a bag full of fitting accessories! The Lower School prize went to Tate Bullimore for her imaginative take on ‘The Creakers’.

Winners of the hotly contested book week competitions were Raffery Antrobus who won the ‘Extreme Reading’ challenge, having read a book underwater…with his school uniform on. The ‘Potato People’ award went to Matthew Hetherington for his spudtastic ‘Squirrel Nutkin’. The school also enjoyed their very own ‘Hogwarts Feast’ for lunch at the end of the week, complete with Butterbeer to wash it all down.

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