Students from St James’ CE Junior School had the privilege of appearing at the East Sussex Children’s Book Awards last week. Here, Eileen Leahy finds out more about their literary-inspired performance

GROUP EFFORT St James' pupils performed Black Powder

PUPILS from Years 5 and 6 at St James’ Junior School were invited to perform at the East Sussex Children’s Book Awards ceremony last Wednesday [June 14].

The Tunbridge Wells students put on a performance inspired by author Ally Sherrick’s  Black Powder, one of the featured short-listed books.

Ms Sherrick’s story mixes the facts of the infamous Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 with the fictional tale of a young boy named Tom, who is trying to save his Catholic father from being executed. 

The 14 Book Club students who took part in this special dramatisation of Black Powder have been rehearsing it for the past month. 

Pupil Imogen Thomas, who played the Falcon, said: “We’ve had to work really hard at rehearsals!” 

Meanwhile, Sophia Dennett, who played Tom and won the competition’s Creative Writing prize, said: “I think Black Powder is one of the best books I’ve read.” 

Fellow St James’ pupil Esme Thomas scooped the Review Writing Award.

After watching the children’s performance, Ms Sherrick Tweeted: “A wonderful thing happened yesterday. I saw my book turned into a play by the super talented St James’ CE Junior Book Club. Bravo!”

Bennett Memorial’s English and Vocational Media teacher, Vicky Dennett,  who runs St James’ Book Club, told the Times: “It was a superb event!
Ally Sherrick gave our performance a standing ovation. We were all totally thrilled.”

As part of the East Sussex Children’s Book Awards, which were held at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill,  participating pupils were given copies of the short-listed authors’ books to read and write a review on. 

The authors were Christopher Edge, Julia Green, Linda Coggin, Tania Unsworth and Ally Sherrick. 

The children were also encouraged to pen their own stories, inspired by the authors’ books. 

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge was judged the winning book at the ceremony.

Student in race for life

A Year 11 student from Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys has successfully completed a 10K run for charity. Matt Hooper ran in the Vitality London 10,000 at the end of last month in order to raise money for the Evelina Hospital, after he underwent a heart procedure there last year. He raised just over £400 and finished in 50 minutes 25 seconds.  

It’s question time

A fundraising quiz night for St George’s Community Children’s Project is being held at Jean’s Kitchen, St John’s Road, tomorrow [Thursday]. Tickets cost £23 and include entrance to the quiz, a drink, burger and fries as well as a £5 donation to St George’s, and a chance to win some great prizes. To book, email: ellie.stewart@stgeorgesproject.co.uk 

Stay safe online

The NSPCC have recently updated their #ShareAware campaign with a raft of new resources which will help parents and carers to teach their children to stay vigilant and safe when going online. For more information, see www.nspcc.org.uk