Readathon UK – My seventh interview in the company of giants!

Nobody tells you, when you embark on this journey, how mesmeric it can be.

Exhausting, yes, hard work, always, painful with little or no obvious gain, sometimes, but also truly magical and inspiring and…well…life-changing! šŸ˜€

I often find that at profound moments in my life I am quite incapable of forming words, let alone coherent sentences. Emotions take over.Ā Ā That guttural chord within us that lets us know in unequivocal terms, that we are in the middle of something special, a moment to cherish, to defineĀ our livesĀ in a certain time and place.

Isn’t that what life is, after all?Ā A series of connected and interconnected moments, and out of that messy melee, one or two fleetingĀ moments suddenly catch fire and flare like stars against the grey.Ā So in moments like these, I find myselfĀ through garbled speech and stuttering syllables, utteringĀ inferences likeĀ “awesome” “cool” “wow” “amazing” like I’mĀ an awestruck teenager!

Well, another one of those moments happened only a few weeks ago when I was approached by the lovely Debbie Young ( of ReadathonĀ UK. In simple terms, Readathon UK is a national charity and reading scheme thatĀ gets children to read for pleasure, sparking a passion that can last a lifetime, whilst helping seriously ill children in hospital. What could beĀ a better or more noble endeavour?Ā – books, reading, inspiring young mindsĀ and helping sick children?

I admit, to my shame, that I had never heard of ReadathonĀ UK before, a fact I find astounding not only due to the close proximity of Readathon’s UK headquarters (only a mile from the school I have taught in for the last eleven years and close to where I used to live!) but due to the long glittering line of literary giants associated with it!

Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen, Julia Donaldson, Anthony Horowitz etc etc…then…ahem…ME?!!!! How bizarre and wonderful?

Check out my interview on Readathon UK’s wonderful website

“When we discovered via our local high street bookseller,The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, that a teacher at one of the schools closest to our office had just published her first book, we had to meet her!

And so it was that Sophie E Tallis, author of fantasy novel White Mountain, came to visit us during the half term break, fitting us in between a whirlwind tour of local bookshops, where she is in demand for book-signing events.

Sophie is delighted to be associated with Readathon, being an avid reader who has just installed the twelfth bookcase in her home!”


“It’s great if you can read but the question is: do you read? If you do the world is yours. This is what Readathon is all about.” Michael Rosen, Children’s Laureate 2007-2009

Authors, poets and illustrators love Readathon because it encourages children to enjoy reading for pleasure which brings them many joys and advantages that last a lifetime.

Readathon’s first ever Honorary Chairman was the legendary Roald Dahl, which is one the reasons we now raise money for the charity founded in his memory: Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

After the sad death of Roald Dahl in 1990, this role was taken up by his long-time collaborator Quentin Blake, who the following year was named Children’s Laureate.

The current Children’s Laureate Julia DonaldsonĀ is also an ardent supporter. She says “Inspiring children to read is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. I’d recommend Readathon to any school or group.”

ā€œApart from developing the creative powers of the imagination, reading as a teenager helps you to come to a sense of who you are, to define your own identity.ā€ Sir Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate 1999-2009 & Chair of Selection Panel for Children’s Laureate 2009-11

“Books open up the windows of the mind while habitual television can brick them up. The more books children read the better. Reading is like jogging for the brain. Get your feet up, kids, and get reading! Good luck to Readathon.” Spike Milligan

“I didn’t discover the joys of reading until late in life because I am dyslexic. I feel I missed so much because of this, so I’m naturally whole-heartedly behind Readathon. It is a wonderful way of encouraging children to read.” Susan Hampshire

“I wish somebody had sponsored me for the hours I spent reading when I as a lad… It is such a good idea to sponsor children reading… The point about Readathon is that it is both an enjoyable and beneficial sponsorship for those taking part – no hardship, no sore feet, no wet clothes, just lots of lovely books, knowledge gained painlessly and unconsciously and enjoyment all the way.” Frank Delaney

ā€œAt the heart of every child, new-born, is a unique genius and personality. What we should be doing is to allow the spark of that genius to catch fire, burn brightly and shine.ā€ Michael Morpurgo, childrenā€™s author, Children’s Laureate 2003-5

ReadathonĀ proudly supports both CLIC Sargent and Roald Dahlā€™s Marvellous Childrenā€™s Charity.

CLIC Sargent:Ā Every day 10 children and young people in the UK are told they have cancer.Ā  CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, providing care and support for them and their families from diagnosis, during treatment and beyond. We think theyā€™re amazing. You can find out more here.

Roald Dahlā€™s Marvellous Childrenā€™s Charity:Ā This charity was set up by Roald Dahl’s widow in 1990. It specialises in helping children with serious neurological or blood conditions, providing childrenā€™s nurses, equipment, carers and toys, working with hospitals and care organisations or directly with patients. This charity is as marvellous as the children it helps. You can find out more here.

Please do check out Readathon Uk’s website and perhaps even get involved yourself! :Ā Ā

A HUGE thank you to Debbie Young and Readathon UK for showing such interest in a local author and inviting me to part of the magic! šŸ˜€ xxx


A wonderful post about the interview on Debbie Young’s other website:

8 thoughts on “Readathon UK – My seventh interview in the company of giants!

  1. It sounds magic!! I think anything that encourages young people to read is awesome! šŸ˜€

    • Isn’t it just?! Sponsoring children to read for pleasure and the profits help seriously ill children in hospital…just a great idea all round.

      BTW, well done honey on your newspaper article! It’s totally awesome, a real picture feature!!! Woo and hoo!!! šŸ˜€ xx

      • Thanks Sophie! I was quite shocked when the reporter rang me up! and he put a colour picture with it too!!
        I’ve just read your Readathon interview, It’s really great! Well done you!! šŸ˜€

      • I LOVE your article honey and the picture was great! HUGE congratulations!!! You must be really thrilled! šŸ˜€

        Thanks sweetie, yes it was a fun interview but it also very humbling knowing the list of authors associated with it! Completely out of my league but so honoured! šŸ˜€

  2. Debbie Young says:

    Thank you so much, Sophie! I’ll also be adding a detailed review from a personal perspective (i.e. without my Readathon hat on!) at my Off The Shelf Book Promotions website shortly ( When you think that what got us started on this track was our splendid local indie bookshop, it really emphasises how important it is to support these guys! Just did a load of Xmas shopping there rather than online šŸ™‚

    • Lol! Many thanks Debbie, I’ll look forward to seeing that. Oh. and I’m thrilled that Beaudesert Pre-Prep will be doing Readathon next year. I sang your praises during our staff meeting and a week later my boss told me she had ordered the Readathon pack and we’d be doing it during book week! A great result!

      Absolutely!!! GOT to support local shops, right? Well, that’s where I bought YOUR lovely book too! šŸ˜€

  3. What a wonderful connection, and lovely interview.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.