A superhero wearing a watermelon dress, armour and a backpack that squirts sticky chocolate to enable her to scale walls…
The new Dashwood Superhero was just one of the zany ideas Banbury primary students came up with following a visit by Alex Falase-Koya and Paula Bowles
The author and illustrator of the popular superhero series Marv received a warm welcome from children in Years 2, 3 and 4 at Dashwood Academy on Monday October 31st.
The Q & A session with the pair was organised as part of a nationwide Raise a Reader campaign, led by Oxford University Press, and designed to encourage a lifelong passion for reading.

Alex said he had a great time with the children at Dashwood. He told the Banbury Guardian: “It was amazing, it was so much fun. The kids came up with so many fun ideas. It was very wild: We ended up creating a superhero that had a watermelon and strawberry dress and was powered by cake and ice-cream!
“I think it’s really cool to interact with children and all kids should have the opportunity to read books. Reading is important because of the impact it has on imagination; Imagination is one of the most important tools we have and reading can transport you to places far beyond.  
“It was great to visit Banbury, it’s a really nice town and we received the warmest of welcomes.”

Author Alex Falase-Koya and illustrator Paula Bowles pictured with Dashwood Academy students as part of Oxford University Press’ Raise a Reader campaign

The Raise a Reader campaign, which this year is supported by celebrities Alesha Dixon and Louise Pentland, aims to provide children and young people with the tools and opportunities to become lifelong readers in the wake of the pandemic. 

Sarah Gordon-Weeks, Acting Principal at Dashwood Academy, said: “The students had a great afternoon with Alex and Paula and were inspired by them. 
“They were impressed that the illustrator used their ideas to draw a new Dashwood Superhero. They asked lots of thoughtful questions, took part in a quiz and then had the chance to use their imagination to design their own characters. 
“It is so important that children not only learn how to read, but learn how to become a reader. 
“The Raise a Reader programme will support children at Dashwood to develop their love of reading and ultimately work towards creating a positive reading culture.”
The Raise a Reader campervan will visit ten locations across England to engage with school children through free books, exciting activities and engaging resources.

Dashwood Academy students pictured taking part in Raise a Reader activities