New children's book tells historic 'Stories of the Mayflower'

May 04, 2020

A group of Devon schoolchildren have demonstrated their creative side by contributing to a new book titled 'Stories of the Mayflower.

The children’s book tells the story of the historical background of the Separatists, the Mayflower journey and the first year in America told from different points of view and in different formats; diaries, letters, recipes and accounts and is aimed at children from eight to 12 years.

Around four years ago, Sally Wally was reading an Arts Society magazine giving details of a schools' book project which had taken place in Budleigh Salterton.

Sally was struck by how well their idea could translate into a Dartmouth Mayflower 400 project, so she approached Lindsay Ellwood, the Education Project Lead, to discuss the idea.

Claire Humpage joined the team, and they put together a plan to create a children's book.

The front cover of the book

The team was fortunate to gain the support of the Dartmouth and Kingswear Arts Society, who were very interested in boosting the creative potential of local children.

They then approached local schools; the teachers were interested in the educational potential of the project and also in the positive impact of being actively involved in an important local event that commemorated our shared history – and so the collaboration began.

In early September 2019, Katy Cawkwell – a talented storyteller – performed The Mayflower Story to more than 70 pupils, and this provided an inspirational starting point for the children's writing and illustrations.

With this knowledge, the Years 5 and 6 children from Dartmouth Academy, Kingswear School, Blackawton School and Stoke Fleming School went on to produce all the text and illustrations with the support of their teachers.

An extract from the book

Jack Viant, a recent graduate of Plymouth College of Art, designed the book and prepared it for print.

Lindsay Ellwood, Education Project Lead for Dartmouth Mayflower 400, said: "This has been a fantastic educational project. It's clear to see from the quality of the writing and illustrations that the children have really engaged with the story of the Mayflower’s journey.

"It will be wonderful for them to see their work in print."

The book is available to buy now online here. All sales will go towards Dartmouth Mayflower’s new Education Fund, which has been set up to support local students during this challenging period.

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