What could be better than a morning learning about Vikings, Dragons, Wizards and Warriors from someone who is an expert? On Wednesday 3 May, 300 children sat in the Lantern Hall, enthralled and inspired by Cressida Cowell, an author best known for her ‘How to Train your Dragon’ series of books.
The author is on a nationwide tour promoting her new book ‘Wizards of Once’ and was stopping off in Oxford before heading down to Brighton. Cressida grabbed her young audience by starting with the exciting flying scene from How To Train your Dragon film, but then went on to tell the children how on a remote Island in Scotland when she was 9 years old, she began her writing career. Little did she dream that it would become a multi-billion dollar industry!
The children learnt how Cressida herself was inspired by nature and in fact her ‘Strangulator’ dragon was a cross between a blobfish and a fish with a transparent head “so you can see the forms of the victims it is digesting moving through its alimentary canal...yucky but true!”
Cressida captivated her audience with her enthusiasm for writing and reading and said that books are all about “creative solutions” and telling a story is “really like telling a big detailed lie!” She encouraged the children not to worry about spelling or neatness and just to use their imagination. Cressida is hoping to start a ‘Free Writing Friday’ where all children are given a notebook and empowered to write/sketch/doodle whatever they want in it for 15 minutes every week and it doesn’t have to be marked by a teacher.
The talk was organised by Chandlings in conjunction with Mostly Books in Abingdon with whom we have a close link. Pupils from Cothill Prep, Cokethorpe School and Dry Sandford were also invited to listen to Cressida talk.