St Albans school launches year-long celebration of reading with author visit

PUBLISHED: 09:26 05 October 2018

Author Penny Joelson meeting pupils at Beaumont School library. Picture: Beaumont School

Author Penny Joelson meeting pupils at Beaumont School library. Picture: Beaumont School

Archant

A St Albans school invited an author to speak with pupils about her award-winning book as part of their school-wide reading scheme.

Author Penny Joelson's talk at Beaumont School. Picture: Beaumont SchoolAuthor Penny Joelson's talk at Beaumont School. Picture: Beaumont School

Beaumont School in Oakwood Drive invited author Penny Joelson to talk about her book ‘I Have No Secrets’, which the entire school community is reading and discussing this year.

The book tells the story of Jemma, a girl with cerebral palsy who is unable to speak or move, and who becomes the only person who knows the identity of a murderer. As well as being a thriller, the book deals with issues such as fostering, disability and giving a voice to the disempowered.

Penny’s visit on Thursday, September 20 marked the launch of the ‘Beaumont Reads’ scheme, which encourages pupils, staff and parents to read and respond to a young adult novel during the year. The scheme will be supported by activities, events and competitions linked to the entire curriculum, promoting reading as both a skill and a form of escapism.

After addressing two assemblies Penny spent time in the school library, where she met with nine pupils who won an opportunity to interview her about her book. Each of the nine pupils received a signed copy of the book, and Penny was presented with an ‘I Have No Secrets’ badge which was custom-made by the school.

All pupils and staff who write a review of the book will also receive a badge, and they are invited to share their thoughts through the Beaumont library Twitter page.

Penny will to continue to support the scheme on social media and with a book signing at the school, and also hopes to return to Beaumont in the spring for an event celebrating the end of the scheme.

She said: “I was thrilled when I heard that Beaumont School had chosen ‘I Have No Secrets’ as their whole school read. I had never heard of this concept and think it’s a wonderful idea.

“As a local author from Potters Bar, I was delighted to visit the school to launch the project and I was overwhelmed by the buzz around the book from everyone from pupils, school librarians, teachers and even parents enthusing on Twitter,

“It means so much to me that the book has appeal to adults of all ages and not just teenagers and young adults.”

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