Schoolchildren turn authors as Jarrold’s launch “experimental” book

Cold Old Old Lady written by 100 primary school pupils across Norfolk on sale in Jarrold. Photo : St

Cold Old Old Lady written by 100 primary school pupils across Norfolk on sale in Jarrold. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

It is a tale woven from the minds of more than 100 local schoolchildren who have now become published authors as the Cold Old Old Lady House has been launched at Jarrold's.

A collaboration between 14 primary schools, the project to write, illustrate and publish a book was conceived at the Festival of Architecture Norfolk and Norwich 2015.

The story tells the adventures of Ben, an eight-year-old boy with a speech impediment, as he slipped out of his home to visit his Nanny's decaying mansion, only to be followed by his little sister, Tasha, who transformed the property while he slept.

The brainchild of Liz Harris, of Parsons and Whittley Architects, the book was written in the style of the parlour game Consequences, with each school writing a section before the plot is pieced together.

'To engage the children with the festival we wrote to every primary school in Norfolk to ask if they wanted to participate,' she said. 'We got 14 schools all collaborating with us, which was fantastic. We wrote in the style of the consequences parlour game, so each had a different section of the story. 'Because of the time scales we couldn't do it in a traditional way. We had them work on a story concept with no detail and asked every school to write a section of that piece, eventually combining that work to make one over-arching piece.

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'Some schools did drawings and collages which inspired some of the illustrations. None of the children knew how it was going to end.

'What was great was to be able to demonstrate the creativity of the children and their imaginations. It was a whole different range of ages and abilities.

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'The next stage was to see if we could try to get it published. It has all been very experimental.'

Abigail Smith, in Year 6 of Brundall Primary, said it felt 'strange' to see her name in the book as one of the authors.

'We all had to write something and had the best chosen from each classroom to go on and work on it,' she said. 'I think the book is really good, and it's exciting to see it finished.'

All proceeds from the book will be split between the participating schools.

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