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In Elmer we have been thinking about sustainability and have been doing some ‘plastic free’ planting.


Dahl class having such fun on the common on a nature walk for and , enjoying the nature all around us is good for us!


To celebrate susfest, year 4 have created persuasive posters to encourage local people to reduce, reuse, recycle


Super start to our Sustainability festival 2022 week with lots of fascinating articles in Aquila to explore: from ancient eco warriors history to plant power science.


Watch out HA Team Potter are about checking if lights have been left on! We are recording our data in a table and are going to present our data in a bar graph to Mrs Johnston!


Some of our incredible year six artists’ multi-media, layered portraits of the Queen.


Some of our incredible year six artists’ multi-media, layered portraits of the Queen.


Some of our incredible year six artists’ multi-media, layered portraits of the Queen.


A few examples of year six Team Tolkien’s Queen-inspired poetry


Year six Team Tolkien poets creating and performing their Queen-inspired poems.


Wonderful Year six Team Tolkien poets creating and performing their Queen-inspired poems.


Amazing year six Team Shakespeare poets writing and performing Jubilee poems to reflect their historical learning about the Queen this half term.


Year six Team Tolkien poets creating and performing their Queen-inspired raps.


Amazing year six Team Shakespeare poets writing and performing Jubilee poems to reflect their historical learning about the Queen this half term.


Year 3 & 4 had a lovely walk this afternoon to Oval for our educating hearts and minds project. We all enjoy the beautiful sunshine and surroundings.


Potter Class had a fantastic time walking to The Oval this afternoon. What great weather for it!


Year six track events - 100m sprint


Year six practising their rounders skills and tactics on a gorgeous sunny day


Dahl class have worked really hard on our home learning these past 2 weeks and have created presentations all about rocks, well done!


Team Tolkien were treated to a short play, in the afternoon sunshine, on the much awaited new play equipment! We had beaming smiles all-round!


Year 3 have been inspired by their text War and Peas to design imaginary kingdoms that will inspire our writing. This lesson comes with a warning: it might make your stomach grumble!


Year six team Shakespeare artists designing and creating crowns as part of our jubilee learning. What better way to spend the day after sats than using glitter!


Year six team Shakespeare artists designing and creating crowns as part of our jubilee learning. What better way to spend the day after sats than using glitter!


Year 4 working on our overarm throws in PE


Year six team Tolkien artists designing and creating crowns as part of our jubilee learning. What better way to spend the day after sats than using glitter!


Post SATs picnic party in the park!


Post SATs picnic party in the park!


Post SATs picnic party in the park!


Post SATs picnic party in the park!


Final year six SATs breakfast party and possibly the best: waffles! Much excitement for maths reasoning three then party in the park!


Final year six SATs breakfast party and possibly the best: waffles! Much excitement for maths reasoning three then party in the park!


Final year six SATs breakfast party and possibly the best: waffles! Much excitement for maths reasoning three then party in the park!


Super pre-SATs cross country this morning


Dahl class computer scientists have worked hard today on creating their own blogs


In maths today Dahl class have enjoyed using concrete resources (clocks) to create angles and measuring them using our protractors


Super pre-SATs cross country this morning


Year six Team Shakespeare historians exploring an art gallery of different representations of the Queen and answering the question: who is the real Queen?


Year Six day three SATs breakfast party: croissants! All very excited for double maths this morning!


Year Six day three SATs breakfast party: croissants! All very excited for double maths this morning!

Back to Subjects Menu


Purpose and Aims

"The leadership of English and mathematics is strong. Leaders have excellent knowledge and understanding of these subjects. They have taken a wide range of suitable actions that have had a positive impact on improving the quality of teaching and outcomes in the school." Ofsted School Report, June 2019


English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.



• The ability to write fluently and with interesting detail on a number of topics throughout the curriculum.
• A vivid imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing.
• A highly developed vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description.
• Well-organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.
• Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.
• A love of writing and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values.


• Excellent phonic knowledge and skills.

• Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum.

• Knowledge of an extensive and rich vocabulary.

• An excellent comprehension of texts.

• The motivation to read for both study and for pleasure.

• Extensive knowledge through having read a rich and varied range of texts.

Communication (speaking and listening):

• An exceptional talent for listening attentively so as to understand what is being said. 

• A rich and varied vocabulary that gives clarity and interest to conversations.

• Clear speech that can be easily understood by a range of audiences.

• An excellent grasp of the rules used in English conversation, such as tenses and the grammatical structure of sentences.

• A highly developed ability to tell stories that capture the interest and imagination of the audience.

• A delight in initiating and joining in conversations.

• Respect for others when communicating, even when views differ.


Our curriculum is categorised in 2 ways

  • Breadth - which gives pupils experiences of a range of communication, literature/genres, contexts for reading and writing
  • Depth - which helps pupils to think and act like readers, writers and communicators

Whilst coverage is our goal for the “breadth” element, repetition and increasing the understanding is our goal for the “depth” element.

Our curriculum drivers shape our approach to teaching English so that every opportunity is taken to relate reading, writing and communication to the needs of our pupils. Daily English is studied throughout each academic year and cross-curricular links are made to give context to the children.  Purposeful writing can be seen in all areas of the curriculum.

Progression and Assessment

We set out our expectations around Chris Quigley Essentials “milestones” with a T4W approach. Each milestone has a set of indicators that are repeated throughout 3 cognitive domains: Basic (We call it Paddling), Advancing (we call in snorkelling) and Deep (we call it diving). It is expected that the vast majority of pupils will have an advancing understanding by the end of the milestone and some will have a deep understanding.

Assessment and reporting

We use Herts for Learning to assess our children each half term formally.  HfL TAFs are used to support assessments in all year groups.  We assess the pupil’s depth of understanding each half term and use this to forecast as to whether pupils are on track to meet our curriculum expectations for the end of the milestone.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Improvement

The role of the leader in monitoring pupil’s outcomes is to audit teachers’ judgements via book looks as well as ensuring breadth and depth of curriculum through book looks, learning walks, learning talks (with pupils) and lesson observations. Strengths and areas for development are identified and actions shared with staff then reviewed to assess impact. Book looks are done collectively in staff/SLT meetings and then collated by the leader. The subject leader action plan and monitoring evidence is kept in the monitoring file and evidence is gathered and celebrated in the English portfolio.

Please click here for an overview of our English curriculum.

Year 6 Shakespeare readers exploring vocabulary linked to their new history topic: 'Find Your Voice'

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More corridor conferencing in Year 4/Year 5 Dr Seuss class! A great way to proof read and edit our work!

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A lot of laughter in Year 4/Year 5 Dr Seuss class this morning when recapping the importance of commas ! We looked at some funny examples and came up with our own.

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Year 5 Dahl class have enjoyed getting into the minds of evacuees and discussing how they would have felt! Linked to our Goodnight Mister Tom topic.

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To really understand the thoughts and feelings of WW2 evacuees, Year 4/Year 5 Dr Seuss class created their own scenes

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Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge? Year 1 Elmer class re-created the scene from the Billy Goats Gruff where one of the goats travels over the troll's bridge. If they were quiet enough and got to the sweet, green grass they were rewarded with a biscuit.

Picture 10

Year 6 Shakespeare writers took part in a Food Guild Young Food Writers competition this week, inspired by blackberry poems by Sylvia Plath and Seamus Heaney.

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3 weeks ago P set herself the challenge to be able to read this book. She showed resilience to keep going when things were a little tricky but by reading everyday she got there! 

Picture 8

Year 6 Shakespeare class celebrated the National Day of Reflection today with a discussion about all the positive changes Lockdown has created in our lives and the sense that we don’t wanting to return to normal but to a better place. They used poetry as a vehicle for expressing themselves.

Picture 7

As marvellous musicians, Year 6 Shakespeare class continued to look at their musical arrangements to reflect a journey, linked English. As well as lyrical development, the children also considered dynamics, which included major and minor scales to evoke a differentiation of mood. 

Picture 6

In Year 5 Dahl class we are very engaged with our take one book ‘Boy in the Tower’ here we have drawn and described scientifically and poetically what we think the bluchers look like.

Picture 5

Year 3 Potter Class have been creating their own poems about wolves. It was lovely to see all different styles of poetry being written and performed to the class.


Balloon Detectives to explore speech in Year 4 Kerr class

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Amazing suspense writing in Year 4/Year 5 Dr Seuss class today. We read chapter 19 of ‘Boy in the Tower’ by Polly Ho-Yen, thought about about the techniques she used to create suspense and then re-wrote the chapter using our own ideas.

Picture 3

Year 4 Kerr class used freeze frames to explore what characters are thinking, saying and feeling in Green lizards vs Red rectangle as part of our take one book project.


Year 3 Potter class have been exploring the text ‘Wolves’ by creating junk mail that the rabbit could receive using puns, alliteration and other literary techniques.


Science Week Writing, Year 4

Kerr class being researchers of famous scientists to inspire their writing


The Journey (Transition back to School Book Project), Year 6

New English text ‘The Journey’: discussion questions such as ‘if you could go on a journey to anywhere - real or imaginary- where would you go and why?’ as well as journey collages. Also linking to the concept of lockdown and return to school as a special journey.


World Book Day fun at home and in school

Dressing up, book charades, live author and illustrator workshops, Drop Everything And Read and creating stories in a jar, reading in unusual places to name just a few of the fabulous activities…

Book Day 2

Book Day 1

Storytelling Day

We do hope that you enjoyed a break from the usual Thursday work and managed to take part in the storytelling events your class teacher created.

FoHA came up trumps and made sure that the children in school could join in with the children at home with the cup of hot chocolate and a cookie - thank you so much to FoHA for making this happen. The children were delighted.

Thank you to our staff who have recorded new stories to put on our website. Please visit the bedtime story page with your children to listen to the selection of stories.



Lost Words Poetry performance Year 6 – at home and in school

Team Shakespeare performing poetry from the beautiful Lost Words poetry book using excellent expression, emphasis and evocative tones of voice.

English 3

Year 3 Potter Class, Fairytale Inspired Modern Tales

Another busy week for Potter Class! This week we have continued with our fairytale unit and have been starting to innovate our own fairytales inspired by Hansel and Gretel. We have been reading an alternative modern version of Hansel and Gretel, called 'Hansel and Greta' in our storytime Zoom sessions which have provided us with some much needed giggles. It discusses lots of important themes such as deforestation, healthy eating, pollution and climate change. Potter Class definitely recommend it. Our passion for reading has also come through our reading sessions and this week the children found creative ways to teach a hedgehog how to cross the road to respond to our text, 'The Hodgeheg.' 

Year 2 Moomin Class, Report Writing

In Year 2 Moomin class this week we have been innovating our class report on The Rainbow Dragon. First, we decided to change the dragon to another creature, so we all created a new creature for our report. Then we described what it looked like, where it lived and what it eats. We used our pictures to plan and write our report. 


Year 1 Elmer Class, Free Verse Poetry

Elmer class have started a new English unit this week focusing on 'Free Verse' poetry.  We started this unit by learning to recite our favourite poems.  Mrs Johnston's favourite poem is 'Please Mrs Butler' because when she was in Year 3 (many years ago) her teacher read it to her and she couldn't stop giggling at it!  Look at some of our wonderful poetry recitals from home.  

Whole School Storytelling Day and Power Snuggle with hot chocolate at home and in school

Year 1

Imaginations and Escapism, Year 6

Year 6 have had a phenomenal morning, releasing their imaginations and sense of escapism, during Harpenden Academy’s story-telling day: exploring language to create team stories; improvisation, performance and animation through drama; and a high energy fairytale PE lesson!

Year 6

Ladybird Class, Traditional Tale 'The Gingerbread Man' 

What a busy week we have had in our Reception Ladybird class looking at the traditional tale of ‘The Gingerbread Man’.

We’ve baked, drawn, sequenced, cut, drawn, stuck, ordered and eaten our way through this week and had much fun along the way. 

Thank you so very much to all the amazing parents and grandparents who have got stuck in and supported their child so fantastically this week - what a shame we couldn’t taste all your wonderful creations! 


Year 1 Elmer Class, Farmer Duck, Adjectives and Conjunctions

Elmer class know just how to pull out all the stops and impress their teacher! This week we have innovated a story based on Farmer Duck. Throughout the week the children wrote different sections of the story focusing on use of adjectives and conjunctions. The results were AMAZING and speak for themselves!

Year 3 Potter Class, Hansel and Gretel

Potter class have been looking at the story of Hansel and Gretel this week. To hook us into our learning we followed a recipe to make gingerbread men (and other shapes!). It was great to see children recognising where they were using skills from other curriculum areas such as “we are being mathematicians when measuring our ingredients” and they also used their team work skills. I was impressed by how they gave each other tips and helped each other.


Ladybird Reception Class, Dinosaur Roar! 

We have had such fun this week in Reception Ladybirds in school and at home, continuing our learning based on the book ‘Dinosaur ROAR’. We’ve been performing, building dens, counting, describing and most importantly smiling. The children continue to amaze us with their positivity and resilience. Keep smiling Ladybird and Ladybird parents. 


Year 6 authors visited the library to compare and contrast the key features of non chronological reports

Year 6 english


Reception Ladybirds and their Funnybones! 

This week our Reception class looked at the story of ‘Funnybones’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Here are some of the learning activities linked to the story:


 Image 2

We tried very hard to recreate a dark, dark house on a dark, dark street, in a dark, dark town, on a dark, dark hill. We independently chose what media to use.

As counting back from 20 is our next step, we made up a maths activity relating to Funny Bones and counting backwards from 20. We had to roll the dice (or 2 die if we were having a clever day!) and take this number of Bones away from the skeleton. We tried really hard to count backwards carefully and accurately!

So You Think You Can Sell Workshop, Year 4 Austen Class

Year 4, Austen class, thoroughly enjoyed their persuasive workshop this morning. The children had great fun learning how to sell a 'useless' product e.g. a pen with no ink, a book with no pages. I can see marketing futures for these children!

English 1

Austen and Kerr class have been learning about 'Persuasive Writing' in English.  As part of this learning we have been studying the advert by the company 'Bought By Many' #LoveYourPetBetter who sell pet insurance.  

Mrs Halkett very kindly arrange a video conference call with two of her colleagues in marketing who developed this advert, Ryan and Marc. The children generated a range of excellent questions about the advert:

  • Why did you use the phrase 'when the chips are down'?
  • Why did you choose a voice over instead of characters directly speaking?
  • Why is 'many' written in bold writing on the last screen?
  • Why is your slogan '#loveyourpetbetter'?
  • Why did you spill coffee on the man?
  • Why do you have Bella do naughty/cheeky things?
  • Where did you get the ideas from for this advert?

The children loved this opportunity to find out what went on behind the scenes and were fascinated to learn more about the animal actor Bella (who has A-lister acting credits!)  Thank you Mrs Halkett for enabling our children to have this hands-on, real life opportunity, we greatly appreciate it.

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Gratitude Poem about our Friends in Reception

Reception – Santa Live Read


KS1 and EYFS Drama workshop

KS1 and EYFS were really lucky to have a visit from 'Perform' this week. The children loved being part of this special drama adventure. Excellent acting skills everyone!


Year4/Year 5 Poetry inspired by Night Walker

This week Dr Seuss class have written some amazing poems about the ‘Day Walker’ inspired by the poem ‘Night Walker’ by Philip Gross. We took further ideas from mindful moments outside in the playground.

Night Walker

Poetry Recital, Year 1/2 Elmer Class

This week Elmer class had a poetry recital. Each child learnt a poem at home and performed it to the class. The class all chose such different poems and could explain why they had chosen them. It was lovely to see both year groups so enthusiastic for poetry, with some children learning their poem completely off by heart. We all thoroughly enjoyed the session and we will be using this to inspire our poetry writing over the coming week.


Improving our Handwriting Skills in Year 6

Some of Year 6  pupils have been working with Mrs Palmer Cooper very early in the mornings to “Tweak “ their cursive handwriting skills. 

They have all shown great commitment and it’s been amazing to see how focused and determined they can be . 

Thank you to all of the young people that have been involved in this so far. 


Features of Instructions, Elmer & Aslan Year 1/2 Class

Elmer & Aslan class has been learning about instructions and the features of instructions. In order to understand that instructions need to be in chronological order and clear and concise we practised this by having a skype conversation with an alien. The alien was asking questions about how to make a sandwich and the expert shared that, using instructional language such as time conjunctions, imperative verbs and adverbs. 



The Little Red Hen - Reception introduce their class story to Year 6 and teach them how to bake bread

Following an exciting buddy session in which the Year 6 children worked with their Reception buddies to make bread, the children recounted their experience using a range of time conjunctions


Morning Writing in Reception

Reception english

Local Walk to Identify Local Issues, Year 6 - Writing Persuasive Letters to our local MPs

On Monday this week Year 6 went on a local walk to identify any local issues that they want to address via persuasive letters to local MPs. Here are some of the issues they raised following our walk:

  • Over-development (housing replacing community spaces)
  • Lack of streetlights after midnight
  • Lack of publicity regarding anti-social behaviour
  • Cars driving dangerously
  • Lack of bike lanes and bike racks
  • Anti-social behaviour (including graffiti and littering)
  • Lack of public water fountains
  • Lack of shops where reusable containers can be used

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Congratulations! Harpenden Schools' Writing Competition

On Wednesday we found out that we have won two 1st places, one 2nd place and one 3rd place. The ‘Harpenden Writing Competition’ is for all primaries in Harpenden and is a totally unaided piece of story writing. It is also a blind judging panel—the names of the children and schools are removed until the winners are decided. I am thrilled to say that we have shone again this year and the winners are below. Congratulations to all of the winners. You have made all of us very proud of you.

Year 3: FIRST PLACE - Hannah

Year 4: FIRST PLACE - Isla

Year 5: SECOND PLACE - Lottie

Year 6: THIRD PLACE - Natalia

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World Book Day, Celebrating our love of books

Keen Writers, Year 5 and Year 6

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of taking 6 enthusiastic writers (D’Anton, Lottie W, Lauren, Felix, Elliot G, Karolina) from Year 5 and 6 to Aldwickbury School to be inspired by the work of Fred Sedgwick.  Fred Sedgwick writes and draws upon thought provoking poetry across a range of subjects.  The children were made to think carefully about their language choice and encouraged to include tiny details to enhance their poetry and make it sing from the page. 

The children composed some emotions pieces of poetry for their loved ones.  They had to choose a special person in their life and a subject they knew a lot about and intertwine the two.  There wasn’t a dry eye left in the room!

Mrs Johnston

Keen writers

Computing Day

Qr code

Visit to Hertfordshire Libraries

Did you know...

*you can borrow up to 30 books at one time?!

*you can keep books for up to 3 weeks?!

*there are over 10,000 books in Harpenden library?!

Ladybirds class learnt these facts when they visited the local Hertfordshire library this week.  The visit included a tour of the library, a quiz, time to browse, a craft    activity and of course, story time!  If you are not already members of the library, pop in at some point and sign up for free.  As well as many wonderful books on offer, you can also borrow story CDs and DVDs.  Enjoy! 


Libraries4 2

EYFS Talk for Writing, Ladybird Class

Today in Early Years we were inspired to write by our Talk for Writing text - Emergency, Emergency. This is part of our topic ‘People That Help Us’. The other children were so inspired by Sakina’s perseverance that they all decided to write out the story!



Spelling Shed Login Page

Thank you to the children and parents who trialled Spelling Shed in November. We received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback so we have decided to purchase it for the whole school! Your teacher will have sent a log-in home for your child and will be assigning spelling lists to them. Children can decide which level to play and earn points for correctly spelt words. 

Mrs Johnston carried out a learning walk this week to find out what the children and staff had to say about their experience of Spelling Shed so far:

“I like Spelling Shed because there are boards, leagues and points to make spelling fun.  I am really starting to understand the spelling rules!”

 “I really enjoy Spelling Shed because I like how fun the games are and it tests your spelling.”

“It has made learning spelling exciting again!”

“Spelling Shed has really captured the children’s imagination!”

“When my teacher introduced it to us, I thought how interesting it looked! I like it being competitive!”

“I can’t believe we were 70th out of 5000 schools last week! What an achievement!”

The Importance of Vocabulary 

Harpenden Academy recognises the need to expose children to ambitious and technical language across the curriculum.  The best way to do this is to enable the children to read a wide range of literature so that they see the words used in context.  Each week, teachers will send home 5 exciting new words for the children to become familiar with which will enrich and broaden their vocabulary knowledge.  Look out for them on the class newsletters!

Advice on how to embed new vocabulary:

  • Select. What words do we need to choose as the most important vocabulary?
  • Explain. Carefully pronounce the new word, write the word, offer a child-friendly definition and multiple examples.
  • Explore. This is the fun bit. Talk about the words, use image association, compare synonyms and antonyms, dig into the roots of the word, and much more.
  • Consolidate. This is often a missing link. We need to consciously revisit tricky academic vocabulary. Children need to use the words again and again, fostering vital repeated exposures to them.

Grow your pound - 1 Book, 1 Bookmark, 1 Pound 

Grow your poundGoing Global Week 

This week has been an exciting opportunity to explore texts from around the world and learn about different cultures.  We have written about different continents, experiences and events using a wide range of genres.

Reception – Ladybirds


KS1 – Year 1/2 Aslan


KS2 – Year 6 Shakespeare


Parent Phonics Workshop 

An informative phonics workshop was held to provide parents with information about the Year 1 Phonics Screening.  This workshop included statutory information as well as ideas on how to support the children develop their phonics knowledge further.  Links to games and resources were provided and the opportunity for some hands on learning for the adult too!

Value of the month (April – Humour)

What better way to stimulate our writing than to use our school value.  Well done Year 3 on these hilarious limericks!


Harpenden Primary Schools Awards Ceremony 

We attended an awards event this week where two of our children Lottie and Ailsa received their awards from Harpenden Mayor on Tuesday 27th March for their winning entries into the Harpenden School Story writing competition. We were thrilled for the children and parents who are flying the flag for Harpenden Academy. It is a cause for celebration that 4 out of the 7 categories had a Harpenden Academy pupil in either 1st, 2nd or 3rd positions.


National Poetry Day 

On Wednesday we celebrated National Poetry Day with the arrival of Professor Pango Mango. The children has a great time with him celebrating poems and poetry in his unique style. The children and staff had a great time as their comments below indicate:

Pango mango

World Book Day 2018

World book day

Family Groups – Role Play

Role play

National Storytelling Week 

National Storytelling Week It has also been National Story telling week too. We have had a few parents/ grandparents who have come in to school this week to tell the children stories. Despite the children living in a technologically advanced era the simple act of telling a story always engages the children. The children hear all the nuances of meaning and expression in sentences when read to/told a story and they thoroughly enjoy it. Thank you to our volunteers who gave their time to our children.

Author Visit BFG

This Wednesday BFG invited the author and editor Jodie Parachinin to read them two of her books: The Perfect Job for an Elephant' and 'This is a serious book'. The children were absolutely enthralled and had so many questions to ask. The budding young authors amongst us have been so inspired that they have been writing their own books.



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