Jacqueline Wilson’s message to ‘special’ Stockton schoolgirl

Today’s Object of the Week is a postcard with a special message from a special author.

IT may just be a simple postcard, but to one North-East schoolgirl it means the world.

When Northern Education Trust North Shore Academy student Faith Ward completed the amazing achievement of reading 50 books on the Trust’s ‘Reading Routes’ map, she received personal congratulations from author Jacqueline Wilson.

The Reading Routes initiative has encouraged thousands of students across the region to read all different types of books.

Students can follow a genre-based map that has local landmarks on it, as well as all the book titles that they can choose to read.

Every time a student reads a certain amount of books they are given a certificate and other rewards.

When a student reaches the literary milestone of reading 50 books they receive a certificate and a Kindle as a gift for their achievement.

Together with the reward system that is in place for Reading Routes, the reading initiative also equips students to be aspirational and to aim high in all their endeavours. At North Shore Academy, in Stockton, one particular year 9 student – Faith Ward, who also wants to be a writer – has read 50 books in just under a year.

Covid-19 didn’t affect her passion for reading as she saw it as a great opportunity to read a lot more books.

Faith informed the staff at North Shore Academy that she already had a Kindle at home, so they had think about what they could give her – and they wanted to give her something that money couldn’t buy.

Faith’s favourite author is Jacqueline Wilson, so the academy spoke with the writer’s publisher to see if she would be willing to be contacted.

The Northern Echo: Jacqueline WilsonJacqueline Wilson

Not only did she agree, Jacqueline said she would be willing to answer ten questions from Faith and write her a small personalised note, adding that she was “tremendously impressed with the support the Trust is giving Faith and all your students through the Reading Routes initiative”.

Faith was incredibly excited about asking the great Jacqueline Wilson ten questions.

After sending the questions off via email, the answers were quickly received, followed by a unique and personalised postcard from the famous author.

Jacqueline said she was “seriously impressed” by Faith’s questions, adding: “No wonder you’re considering being an author. You have better ideas than me.”

Jacqueline signed off by saying: ‘Good luck whatever you do – you sound a very special girl.”

Faith said that she would treasure these items from Jacqueline forever and was overwhelmed that such a busy and famous author would take the time to write to her personally and answer her questions so fully.

There are a growing number of students across Northern Education Trust academies that are nearing the 50 books mark and there are also students who have surpassed it, such as Faith at North Shore Academy.

Staff will now have to seriously think about what rewards can be given to students who reach 100 books in the near future.

The Northern Echo | Teesside