Can 36 primary school children write a story together?

pirate treasure of sweets v2Our local primary school asked me to come in on World Book Day and work with nine classes, from ages 4 through 12, writing a whole-school story. Here’s what happened.

I’ve recently blogged about the whole school story for Words and Pictures, the online magazine of SCBWI British Isles. The bottom line is this: children are extremely enthusiastic about making stories, and they have bottomless imaginations, which meant it was easier than you might think to facilitate them in making a story.

Although I’m new to classrooms, not having had much experience apart from my own primary school years in the 1970s, I was given excellent advice by my fellow members of SCBWI on how to help the children focus on various aspects of the story, and within those confines let their imaginations run pretty wild. I was also mindful of what I’ve seen the UK publisher Hot Key Books do with its fantastic Story Adventure website, where children can log on and work week by week with an experienced children’s book author, collaboratively devising a story which the writer develops using the participants’ ideas. Have a look at the Story Adventure site to see what writers Jim Eldridge and Fleur Hitchcock have been up to with Hot Key Books.

For more information on how the 36 children and I fared during World Book Day, and what our next steps will be following the brainstorming and writing process, do have a look at this post on Words and Pictures.

If you are located near Edinburgh and are interested in working with a writer to do something similar in your primary school, I’d love to hear from you. Or indeed if you are a writer who has experience doing this kind of thing, please do get in touch at

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