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Childrens’ laureate reads books to youngsters at Preston Community Library from Pakistan

16:35 09 February 2016

Preston community event linking up with Karachi

Preston community event linking up with Karachi

Jonathan Goldberg

Children sat enraptured as a community reading room in Wembley held a unique event to celebrate National Library Day with a live link to Pakistan.

A thank you message to the library from a delighted childA thank you message to the library from a delighted child

Volunteers at the Preston Community Library in Carlton Avenue East, pulled out all the stops with a live link to childrens’ laureate Saman Shamsie, who read her books to the young residents from a literary festival in Karachi.

The Pakistani author launched a creative writing challenge when she visited Mount Stewart School in Mount Stewart Avenue, Kenton, last summer, which gave a platform for all local children to join in.

The children at the event included pupils from Wembley’s Preston Park Primary and Byron Court Primary and Kenton’s Uxendon Manor, who created a collection of published short stories – From Arabia to South Kenton Station and Back.

They read to Saman from copies of her own book and from stories they had written themselves.

They each received certificates and a signed book by Saman and by UK author Michael Morpurgo.

The celebrated author of “The War Horse” wrote a message especially to the children for inclusion in their collected short stories book.

He wrote: “Dear Young Authors, I’m very heartened to find out you have all entered this Young Writers’ Challenge and you are interested in this valuable Local Library. My advice to you is, do keep reading - stories of all kinds and hopefully some of mine too!’

The hardback has been privately published to be borrowed or read in the library.

Geraldine Cooke, library campaigner, said: “It was the most marvellous interaction. This six month Writing Challenge for Children, the publication of their work and the Event itself are a unique and groundbreaking event from a Brent library and in fact for the whole country.”

In the evening adults were invited to Preston Park Primary School to watch Pride, a true story about a group of gay and lesbian activists who decide to raise money to support the families of the striking miners in the 1980’s.

Jonathan Blake, a veteran lesbian gay bisexual transsexual (LGBT) campaigner on whom the film is based then led a discussion.

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