19 Year Old Author Returns To His Old School, Windmills, To Inspire Children

Teacher Mrs Troake still remembers Luke Temple's first ever presentation, which he gave 11 years ago when he was only 8 and a pupil at The Windmills Junior School in Hassocks.

"I can recall it today - it was all about the endangered manatee and how Luke wanted to save it. He'd done his research and gave a fantastic presentation. He even brought in a life sized diagram of a manatee, over 13 feet long!"

Now 19, Luke recently returned to his old school with his new children's book, 'Stormy Cliff', as part of his schools book tour.

For the pupils it was more than just a chance to see a young author in action - Luke was able to show them what could be achieved in only a few years. He gave a fully interactive presentation about the book to years 3 to 5 and led a drama workshop with year 6:

"Luke told us about his superb book and all the places on Thistlewick Island (where the book takes place). Then we played a game where everyone had to be shadow monsters from the forest on the island, and when he shouted out a number we had to get into groups of that number," says Holly, a year 6 pupil.

Once Luke had explained about acting as different characters, everyone thought about how they could play everything from fishermen to farmers to flower arrangers.

"Next we did a role-play, each of us in little groups," says Morwenna.

"Our role-play was set on different parts of Thistlewick Island. We had a chance to try out different accents, body movements and different character moods," says Olimata.

"I was Ernie, the head of the fishing fleet, and we did a role-play about fish taking over the world!" says Euan.

"We had 20 minutes to rehearse, then we watched everyone's role-play and thought about how to improve them," says Lauren.

"All of the performances were brilliant, each one so original," says Morwenna. "It was a brilliant session and I'm very glad Luke came in. At the end he asked if anyone had any questions, and some of his answers were fascinating. He had as much enthusiasm as we did! I thought it was magnificent and I am devastated that we can't have another afternoon like that."

"Drama is an excellent way to get children involved in books," says Luke. "Through the role-play activities in the workshop, pupils are able to bring characters from 'Stormy Cliff' to life. I try to include a lot of interactive drama, as well as songs and dancing, in my presentation as well. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Windmills, although it felt very strange when I was talking to the school and my old teachers were watching me from the audience. Hopefully my visit inspired the children and got them excited about 'Stormy Cliff' and other books they read."

And as for Mrs Troake, what did she think of Luke's return to Windmills, 10 years after seeing his first presentation? "We all had a fantastic day and the children have been buzzing with chat about the book and the visit," she says. "Interactive drama, characters from the book brought to life, interviews and more all gave life and energy to the writing process. I've now seen two memorable presentations from Luke!"


Go back to the 'Luke in the press' page