Freya aged 8 tells us how winning a visit from Tom Gates author Liz Pichon to her school has motivated her to keep reading and to start her own online book review!

Back in July 2017 when I was 7, my Mum saw a post on Facebook shared by our local independent library (Peacehaven Little Library) advertising the Read For Good Big Holiday Read summer challenge.

My Mum knows I love reading so she told me about it and I decided to sign up. I wanted to read as many books as I could over the summer and I also thought it would be great to try and get sponsors to help raise money to buy books for children who were in hospital.

There was also a competition for everyone who took part to win a visit to our school from Liz Pichon (author and illustrator of the Tom Gates books). I thought this was exciting as I want to be an animator or illustrator when I am older.

My family and friends sponsored me and I raised over £200! Over the summer holidays, I managed to read 11 books. These were a mixture of Roald Dahl, Tom Gates, Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants & David Walliams books. I really enjoyed all of them, but my favourite was Harry Potter (I have now read all of the Harry Potter books!).

I went back to school in September 2017 and carried on reading every day. In October, my Mum got an email from Read For Good to tell us that I had won the competition and that Liz Pichon would be visiting my school. I was so excited!

Liz visited our school in May 2018. She came to an assembly for years 3, 4 & 5. It was so much fun and everyone was so excited to see her. During the assembly, Liz did some really cool drawings and told us all about the newest Tom Gates book. She even gave us some spoilers for the next one! To see a real life illustrator draw in front of us was so exciting!

I was very lucky as I got to go on stage to meet Liz who gave me a really awesome goodie bag with lots of brilliant Tom Gates gifts including a signed book, t shirt, sweets and bookmarks. I also got lots of Read For Good goodies as well!

Lots of my friends bought a Tom Gates book and got Liz to sign it. Some of my friends weren’t keen on reading, but after meeting Liz and seeing how fun her books are, they wanted to start reading them. I thought this was amazing.

My Mum even had some parents contact her to thank me for entering the competition. After Liz had visited our school, their children had gone home asking to read and asking to get some books. These children hadn’t enjoyed reading before, so it was quite a big deal.

Since winning the competition and meeting Liz, I have been reading more than ever and have also met another author – David Walliams!

Over the recent Christmas holidays, I decided to start my own book review page on Instagram with some help from my Mum. I wanted to do this so that children and their parents could see how cool books are and how they can take you into your imagination, go off on adventures and also learn some fun stuff from non-fiction books.

Every day I post a new review of a book I have read. I answer the same questions for each book, like my rating out of 10, the age range I think would enjoy it, the theme of the book & why I think you should pick it up to read. I always post a picture of the book and the blurb, and for books with pictures, I try and post a photo from inside the book as well. My favourite one of these to post so far has been a book about the Ocean, with hologram pictures! My Instagram page is called @Freyasbooknook – check it out!

I am hoping that I will help children and parents pick the next book to read, and that they will be inspired to try a book from my reviews, or even pick up a book for fun for the first time.

I only started the page a couple of weeks ago, but hopefully it will get bigger and more people will see it, which means more people reading!
I love books and think that everyone will enjoy reading – they just might not have found the right book for them yet. This is where I want to help!

Freya, aged 8,Meridian Community Primary School