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Children’s author visits Thatcham pupils at Francis Baily School for book signing



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Pupils at a Thatcham primary school were paid a visit by historical author Iszi Lawrence last week.

She popped into Francis Baily for an assembly and a workshop and the Year 6 pupils even had the chance to get books signed.

The presenter, comedian and podcaster signed her latest book, Billie Swift Takes Flight, a story set in the Second World War.

Author Iszi Lawrence engages children at Francis Bailey School in workshop and assembly
Author Iszi Lawrence engages children at Francis Bailey School in workshop and assembly

Children also had the chance to discover her first book, The Unstoppable Letty Pegg, set in the midst of the Sufragette movement.

Iszi Lawrence said: “I thought the school was really welcoming and the children extremely well behaved.

"I was especially impressed with children who were obviously naturally fidgety who managed to sit quietly and engage with the workshops.”

The day began with a “lively and engaging assembly” about the Home Front in the Second World War, where the children were introduced to character Billie Swift.

Pupils at Francis Bailey School thought that Iszy was "quirky" and "creative".
Pupils at Francis Bailey School thought that Iszy was "quirky" and "creative".

The new book, largely set in White Waltham, highlights the role of the Air Transport Auxiliary and the “often unsung” pilots that flew many different types of aircraft.

The author told the pupils that flying the aircraft was not always easy as sometimes they were battle damaged, but the pilots had to try to fly them anyway.

Pupils then learned that all the pilots featured in the book were real people, as were all the aeroplane crashes.

Francis Baily staff also enjoyed the event and said: “Iszi’s energy, enthusiasm for history, engaged the children and the staff from the outset.

"Everyone was impressed by Iszi’s ability to talk knowledgeably about lots of different eras in history, with fun facts sprinkled throughout.”

Author Iszi Lawrence with her latest book and her very first book
Author Iszi Lawrence with her latest book and her very first book

Staff noted that the children loved her “quirky style”, as well as the creativity in the workshops.

The Year 6 pupils also said that the day made them look at history differently and were much more interested in history after her visit.

They were also encouraged, by the “excellent role model for writing" to "keep following their dreams".

The author and comedian said: “The ability of shy children to ask questions was very impressive.

"It speaks to the care of the staff; the children are a great reflection of your work.

"The only issue I had was leaving my coffee everywhere.

“I would love to come back some point in the future.”



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