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These 10 stories are the winning entries of The Spark Children’s Arts Festival 2011 storywriting competition. Children from Leicester primary and secondary schools were invited to write a story around the theme of a deceptive appearance – a character who is not what they seem. The theme was inspired by David Walliams’ popular book Mr Stink, which was dramatised and premiered at Curve in Leicester as part of the 2011 festival. These stories, by writers aged between 7 and 14, are a mix of comic, sad, ironic and disturbing, some set in a fantasy world, others in familiar, everyday reality. They were selected by a panel of judges that included the winners of last year’s competition, and writers Andrew Cope and Andy Barrett. The stories have been illustrated by students at Sir Jonathan North Community College, with support from artist Tom Cleaver who also created the front cover. The Spark Children’s Arts Festival is an annual festival of theatre, dance, music and visual arts for children, which takes place in Leicester every summer. It provides thousands of children each year with the opportunities to watch professional performance and to create their own art themselves. The storywriting competition gives children a chance to write and share their own stories – we hope you enjoy them!

Cover Illustration by Tom Cleaver


Your Royal Punkness by Grace Wilson age 11 Page 8 From Within the Ashes by Senna Patel age 10 Page 11 Gorgeous by Charlie Bray age 13 Page 15 Dystance by Naseera Esat age 14 Page 18 Sunjit’s Secret by Zayn Dubois Gafar age 14 Page 21 Painted Smile by Daisy Connolly age 14 Page 25 The Celestial Orphan by Conor Nugent age 11 Page 29 Crimson Cravings by Raeesah Burani age 11 Page 32 Night Stalker by Susanna Kenney age 13 page 35 Lyla’s an Alien by Abbie Thornton age 7 Page 4


Never Judge a Book by its Cover


Grace Wilson

Illustrated by Charlotte Henry and Hannah Hamblett “Lemonade your Highness?” asked Philip the butler. “Yes that would be splendid Philip! How about some Victoria sponge to go with that?” the Queen enquired hopefully. “Certainly your Majesty. Fresh Lemonade and Victoria sponge cake will definitely quench your thirst.” The butler came back into the parlour. The Queen sipped her lemonade and ate the cake. Then she stood up and said, “Philip, I am going out.” “Yes your Majesty, I will send for the guards” Philip replied. “No there will be no need for that.” said the Queen, and with that she strode out of the palace and onto the high street. First of all she went into a hairdresser. “Oh, your majesty! The usual?” said the hairdresser. The Queen thought about this and said, “No”. On the way there, the Queen had passed a group of young boys and girls. They were looking through magazines of people with brightly coloured hair. “Do you do any pink hair styles?” she asked. “Well,” the lady looked surprised but pleased and therefore showed the Queen some styles that were popular. In the end she chose a pink Jedward style. Your Royal Punkness by Grace Wilson



Never Judge a Book by its Cover

The lady did her hair and the Queen loved it. Once she had paid for her hair she chose a clothes shop to go into. When she was there a shop assistant hurried over to her. He said he loved the hair and offered to show her to her usual section. She replied with a no and scurried over to the punk section. There she chose a black mini dress, pink tights, red and black t-shirts, all different coloured scarves, two pairs of black and red heels and some pink knee high boots. The Queen ran over to the till and paid for them. Then she put them on in the changing rooms. What a sight the Queen looked in a black mini dress, pink tights and heels! She had a lot of people staring at her. One boy asked her for her name and she said, “Liz, my name is Liz�. So that was her new name. Liz walked into a make up shop and chose the brightest make up she could find. This consisted of lippy, eye liner, eye shadow, blusher and lots of foundation. Liz walked out of the shop with her hands full of bags. She walked over to a group of girls and they welcomed her to their gang. For the rest of the day she stayed with her new friends. They taught her the language of the streets. In return she invited them to come to dinner. All of the eight girls said yes. So off they went to the Palace. There they all enjoyed an afternoon of perfect sandwiches, tea, eggs, cake, biscuits and being pampered by the maids. All of the girls stayed overnight and they had pillow fights, watched romantic movies and stayed up chatting all night. Well that is one thing, Liz is not what you think.

Your Royal Punkness by Grace Wilson


by Senna Patel


Illustrated by Agnes John

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

In his opinion, they were the most annoying group he’d ever taught. His theory was that year 5s hadn’t mastered the art of messing about. Meanwhile, the year 7s were sensible enough to not waste their time. Unfortunately, his class at Bablu Middle School were perfect at being naughty. Everyone knew that the year 6s were the worst year for behaviour and his class was the worst ever. They rarely paid attention and they would call him names like Scarface and Ginger Bread Man when they thought he wasn’t listening. James took great offence at this but tried to ignore them. Even with his bright ginger hair and his multicoloured jacket, nothing could draw attention away from the heavily scarred face of James Julius Montenor Wood. Despite his small size, this middle aged man was strong, in more ways than one. In his youth he could easily have been an international runner and even now he was still fast for his age. He enjoyed running and also took a great interest in reading historical novels but there was one thing he loved most: slow, fast, big or small, James absolutely adored motorbikes. Whoosh was the rumble of noise when James used to be a champion motorcyclist with his famous ZOOM-BIKE. He used to be handsome and famous,

From Within the Ashes by Senna Patel

but that was a life-time ago. Now, just a boring history teacher, he was seen as a moody grump. One ordinary day something happened that would change his life for the second time. His rowdy class were researching famous races when chief troublemaker, Luke Benson, came across a clip of the best and the worst race of Mr Wood’s career. The glass gathered around Luke to see the driver almost break the world motorbike speed record. Instead, what followed was a crash across the scorching tarmac in a blaze of destruction. The commentator went on to describe how the driver had swerved dangerously to avoid driving straight into a lost child who had wandered onto the track. As a result, the driver caused serious injury to himself. That was obvious from the flames that flickered across the screen. When the driver’s name was mentioned at the end of the clip, a quiet hush fell over the class. Mr Wood’s face went ghastly pale as in those few seconds he re-lived that devastating event that brought his career to an end. Everyone turned around in amazement to see a hero standing in front of them. For once, even Benson was speechless. “You’re amazing” muttered someone. “Not anymore, I’m not” muttered James sadly. “You didn’t get the record, Sir, but you’re still a hero.”


At that moment, he realised that his life wasn’t so bad. Mr Wood never spoke of this incident again but he did notice some changes. People made space for him when walking through the crowded corridors, insults stopped and everyone treated him with a new respect respect. Maybe his life and those kids weren’t so bad after all.


Never Judge a Book by its Cover

St Bernard’s specialist school only accepted the brightest and most exceptional young adults, otherwise known as the school for nerds by the local kids. Among the school, Arthur, James, and Arnold were the biggest `nerds` of them all. The geekiest of the geeks in a school of geeky nerds. The three of them were just having a debate on what they were entering into, what would be the most thrilling event of the year ... the science fair‌. when a sweet smell that could have been strawberry or maybe raspberry scent made the three of them swing their heads round and there they spotted her - tall, blond, red lipped standing

Gorgeous by Charlie Bray


in the distance. The funny thing was she had a high level chemistry book in her hand. They stood and gazed at her, she was their dream girl. “Do you think she is lost?” asked Arnold. “Must be, she is obviously too pretty and dumb to have intended to end up in a place like this!” replied James. The day of the science fair dawned. The school hall was paradise for the three boys, but to others it was just a hall full of techno freaks. The boys carefully placed their inventions on a huge brown table and peered round the fascinating room. But then they all froze in shock and surprise. There before them stood the same tall, blond, red lipped girl of their dreams! The boys snapped out of their trance and decided to confront her. Surely she couldn’t have got lost again or is she just dumber than they thought? The three boys looked at each other almost daring them to talk. Arnold finally got the hint and with his


Never Judge a Book by its Cover

quivering lips asked “Excuse me... what brings you here...?” He bit his bottom lip nervously. “I’m entering the science fair” The girl proudly announced, raising a finger to point to a tall flashing tunnel-like contraption. The three boys couldn’t suppress their laughter and began a fit of chuckling and snorting. “So what does it do, this ‘invention’ of yours?” said James in a cocky tone. “Walk through it and see for yourself, then you shall reveal my secret!” the girl said. “Secret?” questioned Arthur. “Well haven’t you wondered why I am so beautiful yet so smart” she replied with a grin on her face. The buys forced themselves through the mystery tunnel. When they went through they were geeks, now they have been transformed...

Gorgeous by Charlie Bray


They stood silently then James screamed in horror. “Oh my god, we are GORGEOUS!” 14

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

Dystance by Naseera Esat Illustrated by Gugendeep Mahal

Dystance by Naseera Esat


Aaron opened the gate at the front of his house, and moodily walked on the garden path that led to the front door of his house. “So, how was your first day?” queried Tara, looking at her son hopefully. He glared at the wall behind his mother. “Well, the teacher decided to pick on me first and made me read the first page of the book we’re studying and I barely managed to pass the first sentence which everyone of course laughed at, so the teacher blamed it on nerves which made everyone laugh at me even more. I haven’t made a single friend and everyone keeps staring at me. Not cool.” He slammed his bag on the floor and slumped on the sofa with the TV control in hand. She looked at him sympathetically, then went over to Aaron and trapped him in a big bear hug to which he started to struggle, but then reluctantly gave in and hugged her back. The next day, Aaron woke up remembering what had happened at school the previous day. He sighed. The ‘bad boy’ had decided he was the perfect candidate to pester throughout the whole day and had told spooky stories about Aaron, which of course no one believed, but they all pretended and laughed anyway. He abruptly sat up


straight. He had just realised… was it bullying? He hoped not. He had seen all the other videos in his previous school about bullying and you should immediately stop it, but he still wasn’t sure. It didn’t hurt him. “For crying out loud I’m thirteen!” he thought. He decided he would confront the boy today at break time and he could either do two things: confront him about his problem, or make friends with him. He eventually reconciled into thinking over it as the day progressed. Tara wished Aaron luck as he left the house and he continued his walk to school which was five minutes away. As he was walking, he spotted the boy who had made fun of him and looked down again, hoping he wouldn’t be spotted. Too late. “Hey! Aaron, right? Come down here bruv!” Aaron silently cursed his thinking too soon and kicked a rock as he walked over. “Hi,” murmured Aaron, not looking at the boy. “Wanna play footy after school with us? We’re going to play at the park round the corner from school.” Aaron could not believe his ears. He looked up at the boy quizzically, which he replied with a tentative smile.

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

“Sorry, my name’s Harry and er, sorry about yesterday, I was just being stupid,” he apologised. Aaron was doubling back totally surprised at this outburst. Where is all this coming from? “I… have dyslexia, just like you. I’ve just never told anyone about it. You’re going to ask me how I know. I saw you struggling there man, I recognise it as soon as I see it,” he smiled apologetically. Woah! This is lucky, if not anything else. I hope we stay friends; I could really do with some right now.

Dystance by Naseera Esat



Never Judge a Book by its Cover

Highfields always had that reputation. The people always said: “Blad, come down my ends you’ll get jumped!” Sunjit always kept that reputation alive. He swaggered around the area with the rest of his crew: Hassan, Jaymal, Bilal and Jaspal. His formal name was Sunjit, but his crew always called him Sunny. There was no official leader to the gang, but if you asked who the leader was, they would probably say Sunny. It was him who thought of the crew name, “Brown Pride” If there were any rules to the Highfields community, the first one would be “Be Brown”. So anyway, as you can probably tell, Sunny was your average Indian chav; or he was on the outside. This was his usual routine for the weekday: time



Wake up


Find clothes that are relatively clean


eat breakfast (asda Price Chocolate Cereal)


Go to school


(arriving late, as his family can’t afford a car)

mess about in lessons, say “safe” to his crew and swear at all the white people


Ignore the curry his mum left him and go to the chippy (Thajani’s Chip shop)


arrive home, finding his dad shouting at him.

Sunjit’s Secret by Zyan Dubois Gafar

(sUNJT COme HeRe! YOU HaVe beeN NaUGHTY aT sCHOOl?! I am GOING TO KIll YOU! mIJad GeT mY slIPPeR!) 19

Okay, so this routine looks normal for a chav living in Highfields, but the timetable is not actually true. In reality when Sunjit came home, (after his dad beat him of course) he used to go upstairs, put on his favourite tunes: Backstreet Boys, Mozart’s greatest hits and S-club 7. After putting on his music, he expressed himself through art, drawing flowers and teddy bears in his favourite colour, pink. As he finished drawing a flower, he sat back on his chair and thought about his crew. He liked being with his crew, but he wished they would be nicer to people; after all, he didn’t have a problem with white people, but his crew were always swearing at them. He though then about his best friend, Hassaan, and wondered what his face would be like if he saw Sunny sitting here doing this. It would probably look like…that! He sat up in horror as Hassaan was outside his window, laughing at him. He was stood on a ladder watching him, “like some messed up perv” thought Sunny. Then, Hassaan said: “Blad there’s gonna be bare news at school tomoz!” All of a sudden, Sunny stood up and with an evil smile, opened his window and pushed the ladder. Hassan’s body lay crumpled on the ground. Sunjit’s secret was kept.


Never Judge a Book by its Cover

Painted Smile by Daisy Connolly



Never Judge a Book by its Cover

The five o’clock train rattled past with its hourly message, shaking dust from the ceiling. The bathroom door was shut tight, but you pushed it open. Wafts of lavender and water drifted. The water-proof radio was on, playing a fuzzy Beethoven piece. You don’t know why you recognised it, but it was one of her favourites. She was in a good mood. The bath water bubbling nearly to the cracked enamel top, lavender scented bubbles heaped over her pale wintry skin. Her tumbling cherry hair was piled back into a knot at the top of her head. You noticed she still wore the rosary around her neck, an elm wood one with a steel crucifix hanging from the shining amethyst beads; a present from a man with a chin of stubble and a yellow-white shirt. It looked strangely menacing, and even as a five year old you could see the tautness of the bulbous beads choking the hot pulse on her fragile neck. Eleven o’clock. The last train rattles past with its shaking of dust and fades into the grimy city. The night is black and the stars burn blue and the feral weeds at the iron fence of the train tracks strangle the spearing posts under the watchful eye of the cracked moon. The house is dark, cold. Long gone are the days of crumbling bread for ducks, shivering and laughing in the rain, heaping snow into clumsy sculptures and mugs of ovaltine on the sofa. Something clicked in your heart that night, or snapped, like a switch... a train track switch. “Come along, Clementine,” the witch commanded, dragging you through the door. “If you can’t be happy for yourself, at least paint a smile on for your new parents; act like you want to see them!”

Painted Smile by Daisy Connolly


While they drank coffee, you painted on a smile with poster paints from the drawer. But the paint ran and your eyes wept and the mirror withered and died. With a smile so true and a heart of fiery coal, you sought out your paintbrush and the office was soon cold. They didn’t like your painted smile, so you painted big ones for them all. Only, the paint ran again so the perfection was ruined. You can paint a smile as easy as can be, it takes only a moment. But when it comes down to it, it requires little skill to do something so easily misleading. Sitting by the railway track, waiting for your friend the train, the smile is painted on tight. No cracks, no creases. No gaps in sight. The stony eyes close and the heart begins to hurtle into fifth gear. Red. Cold. The five o’clock train passes in a sweeping dash, but with it comes no dust or creaking. The weeds thrash and tangle in a tango with the air. Your hair whirls in unkempt curls, the wind snarling it, snagging. The smile comes slowly, the lips curving up. But it never ever meets my eyes.


Never Judge a Book by its Cover

The Celestrial Orphan by Conor Nugent


Haden Morris woke up to an annoying truth: it was a school day. Haden was twelve and had tufts of blonde hair trailing everywhere. He wasn’t strong, he wasn’t fast. He had no friends and stank at sports. Today was the day that new student Godric Slather came. He could just tell Godric was going to get bullied like Haden was. Walking to school was tiring, the sky was bleach white and puddles were everywhere. Houses loomed over him as he approached the school gates. He saw a new person about to get mobbed by the bullies but that boy was tall and strong. “So you’re this new boy then eh” Tommy Hedge jibed. He was a bully, worse than any other. “Pardon, I’m not familiar with ape” the new boy pressed back. Tommy glared back angrily. He walked up hoping to make friends with this boy. “Hi I’m Haden” he announced nervously. “Oh hi, I’m Godric” a strong smooth voice replied. “Way to handle those bullies” Haden complimented, searching for a way to make conversation. “Those were bullies?” Godric chuckled loudly just to annoy Tommy. “I like this guy” Haden thought to himself. The first lesson was maths; Godric completed all twenty questions in thirty seconds. Science: Godric and Haden were science buddies; the teacher was hopeless and told them to make something explode. A few seconds later the fire alarm rang. Of course it was Godric and Haden’s evil concoction. After lunch was P.E. and with Godric on strike they won 8-3. Finally it was home time. “Do you want to come


Never Judge a Book by its Cover

to my house” Haden asked hopefully. “No sorry, got to get my homework done” Godric replied frustratedly. “Shame” Haden announced. Godric wandered off. Haden decided to see where he was going, where he lived. He walked for an hour before stopping in a rubbish tip. Haden hid behind a pile of tyres and watched his new friend crouch down. Godric sprouted silvery wings and took off sending a wall of light slamming into Haden. He could feel energy shooting through his body; he felt a sharp, very large flowing object slicing through his blazer. He was flung upwards as what looked like a wing flapped about, a wave of strength darting through his body. He saw Godric swooping towards him. “Hey, you’re one too” Godric shouted over the howling wind. “A what?” Haden shouted. “An angel, well a disabled one” Godric laughed. “What!” Haden replied staring back looking at a single wing flapping madly in the wind. They landed half an hour later to discover his wing folded into his back.

The Celestrial Orphan by Conor Nugent


On the way back Haden explained he never knew he was an angel and that he didn’t know how to use his powers. Godric eventually told him how to use some magic. Soon Haden got to his house, said goodnight and prepared for a shouting at as he walked in. The next day was something unexpected, the day everyone found out! Godric strolled in a few minutes later than Haden because they both flew and Godric had cleaned up Haden’s mess. Suddenly, Tommy Hedge kicked a football directly at them. They both sprouted their wings in defence. The ball struck and blew into leather slivers; everyone stared as the wings flickered in the cold. As everyone stared at them Godric grabbed Haden’s arm. Suddenly Haden collapsed to the floor and Godric’s wings grew brighter and brighter until… A harmonious high pitched voice came from the air, as a wall of light coated everybody from head to toe. Haden woke up in class and everything was alright, back to normal. “Full power mind wipe, nothing serious” Godric whispered cautiously. “Teach me how to do that and we’re even” Haden replied. “Deal” Godric whispered back.


Never Judge a Book by its Cover

“Severed bodies of two teenage boys were found by police last night, near the lake in Evington Park. The bodies had multiple lacerations and were both drained of blood. While the police investigate this matter further, we should have a moment of silence for Jeff Russel and Dean Brown and their mourning families.�

Crimson Cravings by Raeesah Burani


The faces of the two dead teenagers flashed on the screen. Iliana switched the TV off with a flick of the remote, cutting off the news reporter’s suggestions of a large animal causing the deaths. She didn’t need to be reminded about last night; she could remember it so clearly. She had always enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, the adrenaline coursing through her veins. Her favourite part, of course, was the kill. There was something satisfactory about the kill; the way your victim’s life force slowly drains into you through a crimson substance; the way it revives you and satisfies your hunger. Only after Iliana had done it had she realised exactly what she’d done and started feeling remorse. But it was too late then. After returning home, she had disposed of her clothes in the washing machine, hoping that the detergent would wash out the rust coloured stains. Now, the next morning, after shoving on some black joggers and a matching T-shirt, she gazed at her reflection. You would never have guessed what she was by her appearance. Her long blonde hair was a curtain of gold that fell delicately around her face. Her eyes, indecisive whether to be green or blue, were framed by long fine eyelashes. Her high, cheekbones, soft lips and other features disguised her identity well. The only thing that


betrayed her was the way she moved. Iliana moved with a certain grace and flawlessness, as if she had lived for centuries. She was a lethal panther constantly alert; constantly stalking something, someone… Snapping out of her reverie, Iliana pulled her bag on. She didn’t have any friends. Getting too attached to someone would only make it harder to say goodbye. However, she had made a friend at her new school, New England High. On her first day, a girl called Alex had sat next to her and soon enough they were best friends, laughing at the other girls who thought they were so cool. As she took a step towards the door, ready to go to school, a slight knock came from it. She had never had any visitors before. Slightly suspicious, Iliana threw open the door to reveal her friend standing determinedly outside her house. Not knowing what else to do, Iliana politely invited her in. “I know what you are,” Alex said looking at her through eyes full of accusation and mischief, “You never eat, never get tired in P.E and avoid direct sunlight.” Alex flashed a menacing smile, revealing two protruding fangs, which glinted in the florescent light. “You and I… are the same!”

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

Crimson Cravings by Raeesah Burani


by Susanna Kenney Illustrated by Vibha Shaji


Never Judge a Book by its Cover

Scurrying along ever so fast, pitter patter went their feet. How sweet. Little did they know one of them was doomed.

thing as individuality with these things, their souls are all the same. That’s what makes them so pathetically easy to kill.

Let me paint you a picture, a masterpiece in the making. Rain, rain, rain plus the occasional thunder and lightening bolt. Coldness, darkness, numbness. Swirling around you, strangling you, until you are lost in a stormy night.

Yes, I kill them. Are you shocked? Smart people would see it coming; smart people would know what I am. I am Night Stalker, waiting, waiting, POUNCE! And it’s all over in seconds. They barely have time to scream.

I wonder if their mothers ever told them they shouldn’t stay out late, there are dangers lurking in the shadows. They wouldn’t listen though. Unfortunately they have extremely small brains.

I hate their screams, so high pitched, squeaky. Ugh. The tougher, braver, crazier ones try to fight back, attempt to escape. I have fun with those. They run and run, efforts wasted. I catch them with one single leap.

It’s usually stormy, especially in winter. Sometimes it even snows, which is brilliant. You can follow their footsteps, see. I watch them scuttling past, ears glowing pink with cold. I see them, they never see me.

Listen to me rambling on, I almost got distracted, almost. It’s time to hunt.

No one ever likes to look in narrow alleyways, have you noticed? Just in case they see a huge pair of glaring eyes, staring out into their very souls, or so it seems. That’s what I do anyway. There’s no such

Night Stalker by Susanna Kenney

Stiff as stone, not even daring to breathe so I can listen. The hunter in me takes control and I let myself go. Quick, petite footsteps coming straight into my trap. Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, GO!!


They scatter, fluffy hair quivering with fright, petrified at the thought that they’ve been near victims of the latest Night Stalker attack, that it could’ve been them under my hands, panting, chocking out that last breath. And even though it knows it’s dead, it still squirms furiously, trying to get free from my clutches, struggling till the last. I generally take my corpse - my prize, my trophy - home, hoping my family will share in the triumph and jubilation I feel. They scarcely ever do though. It used to cut me, cut me deep, that they never congratulated me or said a simple well done, but now, now I don’t really feel anything, except anger. I mean, how can I be blamed for doing something that comes naturally? It’s so stupid yet they still find a way. Hypocrites. Come on, they eat meat all the time, they had sausages only yesterday. Anyway I come home and this little girl I live with, Eve her name is, screams at me. “Tiddles how could you, not again, oh no!” I despise that name.


Never Judge a Book by its Cover

by Abbie Thornton Illustrated by Faith Ling

Lyla’s an Alien byAbbie Thirnton


My name is Abbie. I am seven years old. I have a little five year old sister called Lyla and what I tell you next might be rather strange!

I THINk LyLA Is AN ALIEN! Okay so she may look normal with long brown glossy hair, pretty brown eyes and a lovely sweet smile but I’m still sure she’s an Alien. Other people think Lyla is a normal girl too. Just the other day, I tried to tell my mum that Lyla grew tentacles at night but mum just said, “Don’t be silly Abbie” When I tried to tell my dad that Lyla’s eyes were glowing green he said “Don’t be silly Abbie” . I tried really hard to tell my nanny that Lyla’s hair had turned short and blue but she just said “Don’t be silly Abbie” My Grandad wasn’t much better; when I told him that Lyla floats above her bed he said, “Don’t be silly Abbie” I have tried and tried and tried but no one can seem to see past her cute freckles and squidgy cheeks. It was driving me insane. I thought about it for a long time. I knew what I needed to do. I musT Ask LyLA I waited until it was just me and Lyla in our bedroom. I said “There is no point denying it. I know you are an Alien”. And Lyla said “Yes I am”. I wasn’t expecting this; I thought she would shoot me with her laser gun. Instead she explained she was a love Alien and here to spread love across the world. Lyla said “there is just one thing I need to know…. How did you know I was an Alien?” 36

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

“Oh that was easy,” I said, “no human’s feet smell that bad”.

Lyla’s an Alien byAbbie Thirnton


The Spark Children’s Arts Festival 2011 storywriting competition and book production was supported by Whatever It Takes, a Leicester City reading project Printed by Taylor Bloxham, in Leicester Book design by Keith Turner at Mooli, in Loughborough Cover Illustration by Tom Cleaver Thanks to: Our selection panel: Andy Barrett, Paul Gobey, Pam Weston, Andrew Cope, and the 2010 competition winners Hadia Hussain, Siena Fernandes, Callum Ferguson and Josh Patel; Ellen Lee and the Whatever It Takes team at the Schools Development Support Agency; Jo Billingham and Andrew Redman at Sir Jonathan North Community College; children and teachers at all the schools that sent in entries or joined in the judging!

© The Spark Children’s Arts Festival, Authors and Illustrators 2011

These 10 stories are the winning entries of The Spark Children’s Arts Festival 2011 storywriting competition. Children from Leicester primary and secondary schools were invited to write a story around the theme of a deceptive appearance – a character who is not what they seem.

Written by children aged 7 – 14, these stories are a mix of comic, sad, ironic and disturbing, some set in a fantasy world, other in the familiar, everyday reality of school, home, park. We hope you enjoy reading them and are inspired to write your own stories!

“Some superb stories from the best young writers around.” Andrew Cope, Author

supported by Whatever It Takes Leicester’s reading campaign

Never Judge a Book By Its Cover  

A collection of 10 winning stories from the Spark Festival Story Writing Competition 2011. The entries were from primary and secondary chil...

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