What books did you read when you were a child?
I was always in the library! I read lots of different things, but Enid Blyton's Famous Five were a big favourite, as was Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence. Also Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie.
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I've always felt a great kinship with Anne Shirley, who is imaginative and doesn't like being told what to do!
What is the best thing about reading?
Escaping your own bubble of the world; discovering other lives and other possibilities. Reading opens doors in your mind.
What is your all time favourite book?
Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Listen to them! And that means properly listening, not half-listening while you're doing something else. Have proper conversations, find out what matters to them and validate it. Children who are listened to will gain confidence in communication.
How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
I had a lot of varied interests, from dance to writing to music, and my parents encouraged and supported me (and continue to do so) in all my creative endeavours, for which I'm very grateful.
How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
My children (eight and five) always have books at bedtime; it's part of the day. We love Adam and Charlotte Guillain's picture books (e.g. Spaghetti with the Yeti) because they're such fun, and my eldest adores the Compton Valance series by Matt Brown. I've also just read The Ordinary Princess by MM Kaye to my eldest, a book I loved as a child and a joy to read aloud.
Jo Cotterill has published over thirty books for children and young people, including the award-winning Looking at the Stars. Her books in the Hopewell High series are in Bloomsbury Education’s new High Low range – gripping and age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, perfect for teenagers and a reading age of 9+. Jo lives in Oxfordshire and loves visiting schools and encouraging children to use their imagination.
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