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Children's author Richard O'Neill zooms into meeting with Gaywood pupils




Pupils at a West Norfolk school had the chance to quiz a top author when he made a special visit after reading a Tweet about books.

Gaywood Primary School took to social media to tweet about the books they read each week, and one of them was by Richard O’Neill - who was promptly invited to talk to the children about his work.

Due to the pandemic, a virtual meeting was organised with Richard appearing on a big screen at the school, a member of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, in front of 400 pupils last Friday.

Author Richard O'Neill Zooms into Gaywood Primary School classroom. (47841440)
Author Richard O'Neill Zooms into Gaywood Primary School classroom. (47841440)

His book, The Lost Homework, was the spark which led to the social media post on Twitter and it tells the story of a child who lives within a Traveller community and is excited about a family wedding.

The author is an award-winning storyteller who has a Traveller heritage which he uses within his work and tells original stories which he brings to life in schools, libraries, museums, theatres and workplaces around the country.

Head Teacher Neil Mindham said:“We are teaching children to think like authors - what makes a good story? We use the Talk 4 Writing approach in our English sessions which get children to memorise and retell a story so they understand how to write their own stories."

“Richard’s books give children and understanding of his community in an interesting way; They also give children an understanding of how other people live and that we are all different,” he added.

Questions from his young audience at Gaywood, one of the Trust's 11 schools in the borough, included asking why he wanted to become an author and how long did it take him to write a book.

It is hoped the author will be able to visit in person in the future when pandemic restrictions have been completely lifted.

Mr O'Neill said on Twitter after the zoom session:“I had the best time - what fab children and staff. And such amazing visitors."



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