Children’s author Morris Gleitzman opens two new libraries in King’s Lynn

Internationally renowned children's author Morris Gleitzman cut the ribbons to open two new libraries at a King's Lynn school.

Pupils at Howard Junior School had told headteacher Gregory Hill that they would read more if they had a nice environment and exciting books. They even made models of the kind of thing they had in mind.

So now the school boasts a library designed to look like a castle, complete with turrets, to house the fiction section, while the non-fiction books are in a futuristic library of their own, complete with space age lights.

Mr Gleitzman, who has written more than 30 books aimed at young readers, visited the school on Friday when his ribbon-cutting skills were called upon twice.

'I have been to 1,000 schools and I don't think I have ever seen a school that provides such visual stimulation. It takes young readers into somewhere exciting,' he said.

He was also referring to the school's interior walls which are covered in an array of murals depicting everything from jungle scenes to dragons.

Mr Hill said as the school was housed in a 1950s building, he decided to take every opportunity to ensure the environment was as bright and stimulating as possible.

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'It is all about inspiring the children,' he said.

Mr Gleitzman is in this country for three weeks, including a holiday, and was invited to the school via the Norfolk Children's Book Centre, in Alby with Thwaite, near Norwich, which works with schools around the county. His latest book, Too Small To Fail, is due to be published in the UK in August and tells the story of a boy and his friend, a camel, who tells adults the way out of the financial crisis many countries are facing.

He said that despite competition from computers and games consoles, children's imaginations blossom in the pages of books and he was delighted that schools like Howard Junior were doing so much to encourage a passion for books.

Mr Gleitzman was born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, in 1953 and his family moved to London when he was two before they emigrated to Australia in 1969. He now lives in Melbourne.

As a child, Mr Gleitzman said he would read every book he could get his hands on, including classics, westerns, Enid Blyton, football star biographies and recipe books.

He said: 'You can get closer to a character's thoughts and feelings in a book than in a film.'