Author Ross Welford schools pupils and takes them to dreamland


More than 300 Portsmouth children met the author of their latest novel, Ross Welford, to celebrate Portsmouth City Council’s Big City Read.

Ross Welford visited Mayfield School in Portsmouth where 325 children from Mayfield School, King’s Academy College Park and King’s Academy Northern Parade School had the opportunity to speak to the popular children’s author and take part in a Q&A.

The Big City Read is a shared reading experience, where every year six pupil in the city reads the same book, encouraging children to talk about their reading with friends and family members. The annual event is organised by Portsmouth City Council, in collaboration with libraries and schools in the city. It aims to increase and sustain children’s love of literature in their transition year from primary to secondary school.

This year’s selected book, When We Got Lost in Dreamland, was read by over 2,600 year six pupils across 37 Portsmouth schools. The book is funny, moving and brilliantly imaginative, following the adventures of 11-year-old Malky and his younger brother Seb, who become owners of a ‘dreaminator’.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education said: “Reading is a way for us to experience people, worlds and cultures we may never have the opportunity to in real life. Literature ignites our imagination, can cure loneliness and provides us with never ending hours of entertainment, learning, and emotional development. We are incredibly excited to once again work with HarperCollins to give all our year six pupils the opportunity to discover their love of literature.”

School library service manager, Caroline Prince, interviewed Ross Welford using questions sent in by the students across the participating schools. Welford discusses his writing techniques and shares some of his tips and tricks, reveals what inspires him creatively and says, “I’m always looking for ideas that will stretch the reader’s imagination”.

Activities like the Big City Read are part of Portsmouth City Council’s 2040 city vision, in which libraries along with education are key priorities, providing aspirational opportunities and encouraging young people to make the most of their talent and potential.