Author sends video message to Catterick school children

Children at Le Cateau Community Primary School have received a special message from the world-renowned author Sir Michael Morpurgo just in time for World Book Day.

Pupils at the school were so taken with their current class reader that they were inspired to send a special video message to its author, Sir Michael Morpurgo.

Sir Michael is renowned for writing scores of award-winning children’s books, including War Horse which was adapted into film by Stephen Spielberg.

The children in Year 5 at Le Cateau have been reading Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom, a tale of a shipwrecked young boy and his dog who are taught to survive Pacific island life by an ancient Japanese warrior, Kensuke.

Just before half term, the children made a video for Sir Michael, telling him about their school and asking him questions about his work.

In response the author sent a personalised reply.

The talk, which lasts nearly 25 minutes and was filmed in Morpurgo’s Devonshire home, details his writing processes, his inspirations and some insider knowledge on how Kensuke’s Kingdom came to pass.

“I know your place. When I was in the army we went up to Catterick Camp and we went stomping around on those moors up there in the wind and the rain,” said the 79-year-old writer.

He also explained that he used to be a primary school teacher and his writing career started when he told his own stories to his Year 6 class.

They were so well received that the headteacher posted his manuscript off to a publishing house.

Deputy Headteacher, Kate Maxwell, who set up the connection said: “It is not everyday that the opportunity arises to have contact with a world famous author, so I was thrilled when Sir Michael agreed to create a video reply for our pupils.

“It is even better that he shares the armed forces connection with our pupils and understands how this impacts upon their lives.

“We are so grateful to him for providing such a detailed and thorough response to the children’s questions.

“Watch this space as I am sure that we have some budding writers among us who will be gracing your bookshelves in the future.”

Morpurgo ended his video with the exciting news that Kensuke’s Kingdom will be released as an animated film early next year.

He thanked the children, telling them that their video had “made his day”.