Catherine Bruton

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There was great excitement at school this afternoon as Catherine Bruton, author of the wonderful ‘No Ballet Shoes in Syria’, came to talk to our Y5 and 6 children.

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Speaking of her love of ballet, Catherine told us about the books she enjoyed reading as a child- ‘Ballet Shoes’, ‘The Swish of the Curtain’ and ‘A Dream of Sadlers Wells’- and then those her mother gave her to broaden her reading- ‘The Silver Sword’, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’. Catherine also spoke about having heard Judith Kerr speak at the Bath Festival, particularly poignant given today’s sad news.

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Catherine explained how as a writer she wanted to make sure the the details she included about Aya’s life were accurate so she visited Bath Welcomes Refugees and other organisations which support refugees where she shared her work, taking advice about changes which needed to be made. Sharing a section from her book, she made the characters laugh and dance in front of our eyes as she used accents, gesture and enthusiasm for her reading. It was a real joy to hear her!

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She then made us all ‘warm up our writing muscles’ by writing from a sentence starter which she gave us. Catherine called out objects for the children to include in their writing and they rose to the occasion with enthusiasm. When asked who would like to share their ideas, hands flew up and some wonderful pieces were read for all to enjoy. Catherine talked about how to link an object to a time, place or person and once again, set us all off to our writing. And once again, the results were inspiring.

Catherine patiently answered the many questions showered on her by the children’s curiosity and enthusiasm. Her manner was delightful and her enthusiasm infectious. Adults and children were inspired by her talk and was lovely to hear so many conversations about her as the children went out afterwards to do their daily mile.

‘No Ballet Shoes in Syria’ is a wonderful. moving story which I can’t recommend highly enough. And having met the author, I can’t recommend her highly enough either! A huge thank you to Catherine for her visit with us today and for her visit to another of our schools tomorrow.

You can read our review of ‘No Ballet Shoes in Syria’ here.