Fairytales do exist

As a child I always dreamed of being a princess. I loved Disney and was mesmerised by the idea of one day meeting the man of my dreams and living in a castle whilst wearing fancy dresses and talking to animals all day long. Unfortunately, adult life hit and I’ll be honest, it’s not quite what I’d imagined as a little girl.

I always remember people saying “fairytales don’t exist in real life” but I think it’s safe to say yesterday’s royal wedding was pretty much as close as you can get to a real life fairytale.

I’m British and somewhat proud to be and like most Brits was more than excited about the royal wedding and it did not disappoint.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were clearly in love, the way they looked into each others eyes and held each others hands was just magical. Her beauty was indescribable. The flowers were perfect. The venue was quaint yet grand. Her dress was beautiful. There was a long awaited kiss. Harry looked smart and yes, there was even a horse and carriage.

So children, if you’re asked what you want to be when you grow up and you say a prince or a princess, don’t let anyone dull your sparkle. You can be whatever you want to be and one day maybe just maybe you’ll live your own fairytale. Meghan is that’s for sure!

The indoor generation

The children of today are the indoor generation. They spend more time indoors than previous generations and it has been noted that some children spend less time outside than prisoners.

I completely understand times have changed and the world is unfortunately not as safe as it once was but the indoor generation certainly need more time outside.

Suzie and Cruzie

What a lovely girl with a wonderful positive view of life spreading awareness of autism through her own book. I don’t know about you, but when I see children doing amazing things it restores my faith in the next generation and makes me realise that they’re a pretty good bunch and bright, talented individuals. Sienna, you’re a star.

Under pressure

 

This week has been SATs week for year 6 pupils across the UK and these unfortunate individuals are under high levels of stress at the mere age of 11. I stumbled across this post by a woman called Abi Elphinstone and feel that she has summed it all up so well.

Enjoy.

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For all the kids sitting their SATs this week 😘 (My academic records show that I got A*s in English Literature and English Language at GCSE, an A in English at A level and a 2.1 degree in English from Bristol University. I taught English in secondary schools and I am now a children’s author with multiple book deals. But despite this, I scored 40% on an English SATs test last week.

I am not against exams nor am I against working hard. In every school visit my message is one of resilience, perseverance and grit, both in exams and life. But I am against the pedantic, restrictive and irrelevant testing of children. The SATs papers demand a knowledge of fronted adverbs and subordinating conjunctions and I feel that with this mechanical approach to learning we risk warning a generation of children off writing.

Accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation are important. Precision and confidence in expression empower us. But getting children to parrot back complex grammatical concepts is education at its most futile, and its most depressing. It is reminiscent of the Gradgrindian education system Dickens satirises in Hard Times and a system that champions modal verbs over creativity stifles imagination and individuality.

I am not a writer because I knew what fronted adverbs were at school. I am a writer because the wild landscape of my childhood filled me with wonder. I am a writer because learning made me curious and adventurous. I am a writer because books carried me to new worlds and language filled me with delight. I am a writer because I refused to quit when my books were rejected.

Language is fluid and playful (thank you Roald Dahl for snozzcumbers), and I learnt invaluable lessons about empathy, courage and hope from the stories I read as a child. Lyra Belacqua taught me to be brave and Mildred Hubble taught me that you don’t need to be the brightest or prettiest girl in the room to be the heroine of a story. So, kids, your worth is not quantified by your SATs scores. Learn the power of language but remember the best writing is original and brave. Like Shakespeare’s – who also wouldn’t have passed that test.