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'The Lost Generation'

3 May 2021

‘When I was a child I was given a special book just to write stories because my handwriting and spelling were so bad. Suddenly I realised I wasn't hopeless at English. You forget children are always comparing each other, and if it's always about grammar and spelling , and if they don't get it, their self-esteem plummets. My terrible handwriting and sketches have turned into a billion-and-a-half dollar industry with my books and films. Never underestimate the value of allowing children to mess around.

I refuse to call them the Lost Generation (children who have been affected by the Pandemic). You can't just give up on millions of children. I'm intrinsically extremely hopeful. It's not dumbing down - books about dragons and fairies can teach you about what kind of leaders we deserve, love friendship, death and responsibility to your tribe.'

Cressida Cowell, UK Children's Laureate and author of the How to Train Your Dragon series, whose 23 books have sold 11 million copies, in The Times.