L.A. Weatherly Celebrates World Book Day With MCBF

World Book Day on Thursday 3rd March saw Manchester Children’s Book Festival visit local schools with author L.A. Weatherly, to talk about her fantastic YA novel Broken Sky.

Lee and MCBF Director Kaye Tew visited two Manchester schools, armed with boxes of books supplied by Urmston Bookshop and destined for the school libraries and into the hands of eager readers.

Broken Sky is set in a futuristic world where there is no war. Carefully controlled fighter-plane duels decide disagreements, which means the world can live in relative peace, but all is not well. Though the book is set 2000 years in the future, it has echoes of 1940s America and, like the world of 1940’s America, there is a dictator hell-bent on ruling the world.

London-based American author, Lee, talked lucky pupils, first at Whalley Range High School for Girls, and then at the brand new Dean’s Trust Academy on Stockport Road, Manchester, through the process that led to Broken Sky being written. She talked about her inspiration for the characters and how they developed and also about the starting point for her idea – WW2 Spitfire planes. Lee knew that she wanted the planes her fighter pilot heroes to fly to be like those flown by pilots in WW2. So her research led flying-phobic Lee to actually go up in the air, not once, but twice, to get a real sense of how it actually feels.

Year 7 pupil Belkise shared a blog post on the event commenting, ‘One paragraph from her book changed my world on how I saw writing. I have learnt so much in two hours, it’s like every word from her books started to fly around me and inspired me to write. Thank you Lee!’ You can read Belkise’s full blog here.

Pupils from both schools asked fantastic questions. Teacher Laura Mason from Whalley Range High School for Girls said, “Thank you again for the brilliant experience with L.A. Weatherly last week, the girls have all been raving about how much they loved it and so many are reading her books – just the sort of response we wanted!”

This event was made possible by Usborne Publishing. Manchester Children’s Book Festival work closely with publishers to offer author visits to schools. Usually, these are free, with author expenses covered by the publisher. We simply ask that schools provide a good-sized audience and agree to purchase books (either by inviting pupils to buy, or by buying a class set for the school library).
We have a number of authors lined up to visit schools in May and June. Please contact mcbf@mmu.ac.uk if you would like to organise a visit to your school.

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