Award-winning author Cressida Cowell today - 4 March - virtually visited children in Swindon to celebrate World Book Day.
The Waterstones Children's Laureate visited as part of Connecting Stories, a new initiative delivered by the National Literacy Trust, for which she is an ambassador.
Led by Swindon Stories from the National Literacy Trust, the Arts Council England-funded project aims to increase children's and young people’s access to literary experiences and books.
A total of 18 publishers and over 30 children’s authors are supporting the campaign through book donations and virtual visits.
Cressida is the author and illustrator of the best-selling How to Train Your Dragon books series, which has sold over 11 million books in 38 languages, is a major DreamWorks Animation film franchise, and is being made into a TV series on Netflix and CBBC.
The Wizards of Once series, also created by Cressida, has been translated into 37 languages and has been signed by DreamWorks Animation.
In the live-stream event, Cressida delighted children with information about her writing process and gave tips on becoming an author and illustrator.
Children were also engaged with an exciting Q&A session, where Cressida shared her World Book Day wish that "...all children could have access to books and libraries like sweetie shops” and read as many books as possible.
She encouraged children to write for the joy of it and to take part in the Connecting Stories creative writing competition.
Children aged seven to 14 are invited to take part in the competition, with the theme ‘Everyday Heroes’. The deadline for entries is 12 March.
The author said: “I am delighted to be supporting the Connecting Stories initiative. As an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, I know the importance of their work and the positive effect it has on the children most in need of support with literacy skills.
"It's really exciting to be able to connect with children from many different communities all at once, and to inspire them to be creative and share their stories.”
Connecting Stories has a calendar of exciting and engaging events, including a competition for children in 14 local areas, each with their own theme.
More information can be found at https://literacytrust.org.uk/communities/connecting-stories/