I taught for most of my career in inner-city, ethnically diverse schools. I had a delightful class of year 4 children (8 and 9) in Tottenham. They had an amazing sense of humour, they were creative, enthusiastic and great fun to teach. We were doing a Geography topic on contrasting locations, and we were looking at farming. We went on a trip to Capel Manor, where the children marvelled at the space, and were terrified of shire horses. We saw bluebells and a fox (not so amazing for the children...) They loved it.
I always made a point of reading a class novel to my classes, whether they were Reception class or Year 6, about to go to Secondary school. And this class was no different. To carry on with the theme of the topic, I read them Sophie's Tom
So goodbye Dick King-Smith. I wonder if these classes, who will now be in their late teens and early twenties, have heard the news of your death, and remember reading your books when they were 8, 9 and 10. I hope they do.
Dick King-Smith was never Children's Laureate. I don't know if he would have wanted to be- I think he was quite happy on his farm in Gloucestershire, writing. Anthony Browne's tenure comes to an end later this year, and the public are invited to nominate an author. I have nominated Malorie Blackman, who I think would be a brilliant Laureate. She is a passionate advocate of reading, and writes consistently brilliant books for older children and young adults (she writes picture books too, but is more well known for her novels). You can listen to her on Radio 4's Open Book here, and while I love the Noughts and Crosses, I can't wait to read Boys Don't Cry. Who are you nominating?