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The Wizards of Once book cover

Today, we met a very special author who writes amazing children’s books. Can you guess who? She wrote the famous series How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once! You guessed it ... Cressida Cowell! Cressida Cowell is currently the Waterstone's Children’s Laureate (2019 – 2022). How to Train Your Dragon has sold over 11 million books worldwide in 38 languages and is a major DreamWorks Animation film franchise, as well as being made into a TV series on Netflix and CBBC. The Wizards of Once series has been translated into 37 languages and has been signed by DreamWorks Animation. 

Live talk from Cressida Cowell projected on screen in Memorial Hall with junior pupils watching

When we met her on Zoom, she explained all about what it takes to be an author. And not only that, but she helped us create stories by getting us to be creative. One of the things she asked us was what super power we would want. I would want invisibility because whenever I get in trouble, I can hide! When I was thinking about how cool it would be to be invisible, lots of ideas came into my head about fun stories I could write. When she was little, she kept a little book of stories like these and not even her teachers were allowed to see it – some of her stories from when she was in P3 helped with the writing of The Wizards of Once.  

Facts about Cressida Cowell 
She is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency 
She is a Trustee of World Book Day and a founder patron of the Children’s Media Foundation 
She has won numerous prizes, including The Blue Peter Book Award 

Report by Lucas S, First Form

 

Portrait photo of author Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is a world-famous author, who wrote the How to Train Your Dragon series, which has millions of fans worldwide. It even got turned into a film! She also wrote the series that she came and talked to us about today: The Wizards of Once! I bought a copy of the first book and I am already whizzing through it! 

Cressida Cowell was born on the 15 April, 1966, in London. But it was her trips that inspired a lot of her writing and creativity as a child. Each year, she went to an uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland to watch birds with her father (he was a keen ornithologist). Being so remote gave her lots of time to think and plan. The surroundings also inspired her (there was a hill that looked like a sleeping dragon). Ms Cowell gave us lots of hints and tips about our writing… she told us that making an imaginary map of the place that your story takes place is very helpful and is good for your imagination. We also got to ask questions and listen to her read.  

  • Who was your favourite author/illustrator as a child? 
    I particularly enjoyed the books of Diana Wynne Jones as a child. The Ogre Downstairs, in which five children find two magical chemistry sets, was my favourite. 
     
  • Who are your favourite authors? 
    Ooo dear, I’m terrible at favourites; there are just too many wonderful writers to choose from. I love David Almond, Lauren Child, Louis Sachar, Eva Ibbotsen, Michelle Paver, and so many, many more. 
     
  • What would your school reports have said about you? 
    They said that I day-dreamed a lot and that I was very disorganised. I was called ‘Messy Cressy’… 

Report by Iain C, First Form

 

Lucas and Iain, First Form pupils