Best-selling children’s author Julia Jarman took pupils at one Portland primary school on a journey back in time to Roman Britain.

Julia took part in a recent virtual talk – a first for Atlantic Primary – and was able to use her book: The Time-Travelling Cat & the Roman Eagle to bring a creative spin to all that the students had learnt about the topic during their history lessons.

The Year 4 pupils were left enthralled as Julia produced objects and artefacts that had inspired the writing of her popular book.

She participated in a Q&A with the students and also read excerpts from her book which tells the tale of protagonist Topher Hope and his devoted cat Ka. Both find themselves in a Romano-British settlement in AD 79 and Topher begins a desperate search for a missing eagle, a symbol of Roman power.

Best-selling author Julia Jarman

Julia explained the motivation for writing her Time-Travelling Cat series was to make history enjoyable. She told the Dorset Echo: “When my own children were young they said that they found history boring and that the history books didn’t look exciting and I was shocked. I loved history despite the way it was taught when I was at school and I realised children need context. They need a story to bring historical objects and artefacts to life. The Time-Travelling Cat series helps to excite children about history and make it enjoyable.’’

The rationale behind Julia’s books ties in with the school’s attention to Applied Transdisciplinary Learning (ATL) which is a key aspect of the Year 4 curriculum at Atlantic Academy which is an all-through school.

ATL involves combining elements from different subjects to enhance learning and provide context. In this instance, the Romans project involved history, English and drama as the students ended the topic with a Romans Day event which saw them dress up in togas and other Roman-inspired costumes.

Melissa Heppell, principal of Atlantic Primary, said: “The children loved that they could learn from an author and could see how different subjects like English and history link together.

“Studying the Romans for history meant that by the time the students had their talk with Julia they could understand the historical context of the novel and it really helps to bring learning to life – it’s so important in helping to engage children.

“Dressing up as Romans gave them the chance to celebrate all that they had learnt and was so much fun!’’

Julia’s books are published by Andersen Press which has been working in partnership with Aspirations Academies Trust schools this academic year to provide virtual author talks in conjunction with books the students are reading.

Julia added “I’ve really enjoy the author talks with the children. I love the questions I’m asked and the feedback that I receive from them about the books I’ve written – it’s made me want to write more!’’

Places are now available at Atlantic Academy Portland for Reception & Year 7, September 2022 start. To apply email: or go to: