Katie-Jo from P5 at St. Mary's Draperstown had an extra special celebration as the latest Accelerated Reader Word Millionaire, and celebrated in style with local author Tim Bailie and her friends.
Local author Tim Bailie last week visited the staff and pupils at St. Mary’s Primary School, Draperstown where he carried out an assembly reading for the whole school, then spent time in P3 and P6 to discuss the issues in his book, The Six Legged Spider.
Speaking to the County Derry Post, Tim said: “I wanted to just encourage children to do two things. Something I always tell the children is that whether or not you plan to write stories, everyone needs to read, and so I like to always encourage children to engage in reading.
“The actual book was inspired by my son, Alex, who is now 16 and has Autism.
"As parents it was really being aware of the differences between him and his peers, and also for Alex, it was about him becoming aware of that, and that self-awareness was a source of upset for him, and in turn, us”, he said.
“We wanted to try and find a fun way of explaining that it’s ok to be different and actually we are all different. This book also addresses issues around bullying, and although the ‘spider’ in the book has a physical disability, it also applies to mental disability as well. That’s actually something that we can then bring into the classrooms to show that everyone is unique and just because someone is different doesn’t mean we can’t be friends,” said the author.
St Mary’s P6 pupils Ben and Paul spoke after the reading and gave their thoughts on the visit;
“It’s a really funny book and it shows that everyone is different and you don’t have to be perfect,” said Ben.
“It was good to meet the man who actually wrote the book and it makes you feel that if someone is different you don’t have to show that they are different, you can still just be their friend.”
Paul from P6 also added:“I have a whole different perspective on the book now that we have heard Tim speak and it’s very funny. He is one of the funniest authors and I had a good laugh reading the book with my class mates.
“I like to read anyway, and now that I’ve met Tim when I read other books written by other authors I will think differently because I will know there is always a meaning behind the story,” said Paul.
Mr. Peter Kearney, who invited Tim to speak in St. Mary’s, was delighted to have him speak to the school;
“A big thank you to Tim Bailie for spending the morning at St Mary’s PS Draperstown, he helped launch our celebrations for next week’s World Book Day. The children learned all about his life as an author and they enjoyed discussing what makes his books so special,” said Mr. Kearney.
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