The Book Balloon

Heidi Thomas, Independent Usborne Organiser


School of the Term

17th January 2020

We are delighted to announce that Hollymount Primary School are the winners of our School of the Term award for Autumn Term Two!

Celebrated six times a year, School of the Term is a half-termly award that is given to one UK or EU school that has had a fantastic event with an Usborne Organiser. We are very keen to showcase the amazing things that schools have achieved through working with their Usborne Organiser - it isn't just about the amount of money raised, but the difference made to the positive reading culture of that school.

Nominated by Usborne Organiser, Michelle Dalby, Hollymount Primary really stood out to us for the way that the whole school embraced reading at every level and the way their reading activities benefited not just their own students, but the children of local children's hospital Queen Mary's:

"This term I've really enjoyed working for the first time with the fabulous Hollymount Primary School! The pupils from reception to year 6 took part in a Ready, Steady, Read over October half-term and then I spent two days at the school taking my book-fair trolley around to each classroom to talk to the children about the amazing books that Usborne has for them to read. The children ordered their favourite books and we had a bookstall after school both days for parents and carers too.

A couple of weeks later, author Matt Brown came into school to do one of his very funny assemblies. The children absolutely loved it and were able to get Matt to sign their copies of his Dreary Inkling series books. They were also able to quiz Matt on what it's like to be an author, and where he gets his weird and wacky ideas from.

By holding the events close together, we were able to combine the funds raised; resulting in an incredible £3,384 to spend on new Usborne books, with over £1,800 of that being given for free by Usborne Books at Home.

The reason I think Hollymount really deserve to be recognised for their reading events is for the difference that they made to the wider community by sharing their free books. The school said from the start that they definitely wanted to help a local charity as part of this event, because the children and school have a big ethos of helping the local community and giving to help others. They decided to donate an incredibly generous £800 worth of books to the Children's Outpatients Department at Queen Mary's Hospital for Children which I know will make a massive difference to the children there."

Hollymount Headteacher, Sam Birnage, Literacy Lead, Lauren Davis, and some of the pupils helped Michelle to deliver the books to Queen Mary's in time for Christmas (see picture).

Amanda Laughton, play specialist at Queen Mary's Hospital said, "These books will be invaluable in the waiting rooms, and also in the treatment rooms to help reduce stress and anxiety for children, focusing on normalising the environment to help make the patients experience of hospital a positive one."

Lauren Davis, Literacy Lead at Hollymount Primary, said "Usborne have been fantastic! This is by far the best book fair we have had - a huge success!"

Congratulations, Hollymount Primary! We are so proud of the wonderful reading culture that you have at your school and of the positive impact you have had on your local community.

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