History through the eyes of one building
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It’s a middle-grade fiction story for 9-11 year olds, like my first book, but that’s where the similarity ends. This one is the first in a series that centres on four children, a school, the events that have occurred during its 100 year history and how the lives of the people who have studied there connect the present with the past.
Have you ever looked at a building or house and wondered about who has lived or worked there and all the things it must have seen over the years? If only they had eyes and a way of telling us their secrets!
My old secondary school celebrated its Centenary in 1998 and when I came across a booklet made to celebrate this milestone, I looked back over the school’s history and began to wonder about all the people that have passed through its doors. Not only that, the events that have occurred in the school’s history: while the school has stood firm, there have been two World Wars and a vast amount of socio and economic change, but at the same time, the fabric of those school walls has remained, with the exception of the additions made to it over the years as it grew.
I used this school and the town I grew up in as the basis for my story, however the names I used are entirely fictional.
Friends, Jess, Nadia, Tomma and Ash each have their own story to tell over four separate books, where their connection to the school and its past takes them to different points in its history and connects to their own lives. The first is Jess’s story and it’s called ‘Time School: We Will Remember Them’.
BBC Two have been looking at a similar concept recently in their current series with David Olusoga: ‘A House Through Time’. Through extensive research, the series explores the entire history of one house in Liverpool, the people who have lived there since it was built and the changes that have occurred in the city during that time. What has resulted, is the uncovering of so many stories about ordinary people, living ordinary lives, but just because they are not documented in the history books, this doesn’t make them any less interesting. These people coped or thrived in the city, depending on the period of time in which they lived, but the constant throughout all the many changes, is this one property.
I’ve always been fascinated by genealogy and the idea of the ghosts of the past intermingling with the present. Not in a haunting way, though. More a whispering reminder that they were once a living being, telling us not to forget them. Our ancestry shapes who we are and it’s important to know what the people in our family went through in order to appreciate the lives we have today.
My stories explore this concept, as the children uncover things about their past they had no idea about, but that have a direct reflection on their current lives. This helps them to understand more about themselves, shaping who they are as young people who are trying to make sense of the world.
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