Pupils at Harriers Academy recently enjoyed their first ever virtual author visit and learnt that you are never too old or young to help play a part in making a difference to the planet.

The message was central to a literary talk involving best-selling children’s writer Josh Lacey.

Year 4 pupils at the Banbury primary school have been reading Mr Lacey’s book, Hope Jones Saves The World. They enjoyed being able to discuss its main themes of climate change and pollution, during a recent Zoom call.

Mr Lacey told his young audience he created the books and character to inspire children to be hopeful about being able to make difference when it comes to climate change and the environment.

And in a case of his art influencing his reality, Mr Lacey confessed that Hope has encouraged him to change his everyday routines to help play his part in saving the planet.

He told the Banbury Guardian: ‘’One of the reasons I wrote the Hope Jones books is because I wanted to think about what ordinary people can do to save the planet. The small things. So yes, for example I’m trying to walk and cycle more. I have two daughters and we all cycle now. I also recycle as much as possible, use less plastic like Hope and thinking about what I eat. I have been doing small things to try and make a difference.’’

Mr Lacey’s virtual author talk came just weeks after Captain Sir Tom Moore passed away. Sir Tom, a former businessman and WW2 veteran, raised a phenomenal £32.7 million for the NHS after deciding to walk 100 laps of his back garden before his 100th birthday during the country’s first lockdown. His resolve and dedication combined with his humour and wisdom touched the world and turned him into an overnight celebrity.

Josh Lacey, writer

Mr Lacey said Hope and Sir Tom together ‘’show that you’re never too young or old to make a difference.’’

Alex Pearson, principal at Harriers Academy, said: ‘’The virtual author visit was a first for the children at Harriers and really enjoyed listening to the inspiration and motivation behind Hope Jones. All of the children prepared questions and were captivated by Josh’s responses and encouragement.’’

Harriers Academy is part of the Aspirations Academies Trust and the virtual author talk is one of many taking place in schools across the Trust this year in partnership with Penguin Random House.

Virtual author talks with Sally Nicholls and Julia Jarman have been organised for Dashwood Banbury Academy and also Wykham Park Banbury and its sister school Futures Institute.