Thursday was Sam's Birthday - Sam's 7th Birthday. He was looking forward to Thursday for another reason - he was going on a school trip to meet Cressida Cowell, one of Sam's favourite authors. Most of you will not realise what this means to me - Sam has just 'discovered' books - he has turned that corner from being a reader because he has to (and struggling due to his dyslexia) into a reader because he WANTS to!!! I am a reader - and have taught hundreds of children to read - I never expected my own child to struggle but reading did not come easy. Thanks to his amazing school though, he is now officially a 'reader'!
This term at school they have been studying Cressida Cowell's 'How to Train your Dragon' and to say that Sam has enjoyed this is an understatement! You can imagine his disappointment on Wednesday when he was sent home from school poorly - and then at the Drs was diagnosed with a bad chest infection. He just knew that he was going to be too poorly for school the next day and was gutted!
In the morning we took Sam's copy of 'How to Train your Dragon' in to school and asked his teacher if she could ask Cressida to sign it for him - it was the next best thing to meeting her himself. I took a forlorn and poorly boy home.
When we picked Harry up from school, Sam came with me and was thrilled to see that his teacher had managed to get his book signed. Not only that but Cressida had given him a brand new copy as his was looking a little 'loved' - she wrote a lovely, personal message inside and even drew a picture of 'Hiccup' and 'Toothless' inside - he was over the moon!!!
Now - this is not where this story ends. Cressida was signing books that evening in our local Waterstones Bookshop, one of my favourite shops in Boston. As Sam was feeling better, I promised him that we would pop and see her, and take his other books in to be signed. As you can imagine, the queue was quite long - around 50 minutes when we got there. One of the staff members apologised for the delay - I suggested to Sam that as Cresida had already signed a book for him earlier that perhaps as he was poorly it wasn't a good idea to hang around. The shop assisitant turned and asked Sam whether he was called Sam - his answer was 'yes' - she then asked whether he was poorly - 'yes' - she then asked whether he went to St George's School - 'yes' - she then asked whether it was his birthday - another 'yes'. I was amazed - she remembered Cressida signing the book for Sam earlier in the day and whizzed us to the front of the queue.
I hope that Cressida realises what an impact she is having on young children - it's lovely to see an author getting 'out there' and meeting the future generation of writers. I have met a number of children's authors in the past (in my role as Primary School Teacher and Literacy Co-ordinator) BUT few spend so much time actually 'listening' to the children - no lip-service here I can assure you. If you happen to be reading this - thank you Cressida Cowell, you made one little boy (and his Mum) very happy indeed.