PRIMARY school pupils have been writing to children’s authors to ask for more books including characters with disabilities.

Pupils at Thorneyholme Primary School, Dunsop Bridge, began writing before the end of last term to show their support for Article 23 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

When they returned for the new school year, they found numerous responses and a range of goodies waiting for them, including a response from JK Rowling’s team.

Deputy headteacher, Olga Jackson, said: “The response from famous authors has been astounding and all of them agreed with the children that it is important to include characters from all walks of life, including those with disabilities.”

Towards the end of last term, juniors from Thorneyholme carried out a survey of books in the school library which highlighted the lack of characters with disabilities. The finding, along with their studies on the UN Convention, prompted them to write letters.

More than 20 children wrote to authors including JK Rowling, Jeremy Strong, who wrote books such as Romans On The Rampage, Sue Hendra, whose collections include the Supertato series, and Julia Donaldson, who penned the Gruffalo books.

Year 5 pupil Millie Stockdale wrote to Martin Handford, creator of the Where’s Wally? series, and said: “I am writing to you because I am concerned that you are not including many children with disabilities in your stories. Here in Thorneyholme, my friend has disabilities, including mobility problems. If you could write a mini story about a child with disabilities it would make a big difference.”

Mrs Jackson said: “Some of the responses arrived over the summer and they just keep coming.

“We even had a response from JK Rowling’s team, which the pupils were very enthusiastic about.”

Author Jeremy Strong replied to Year 4 pupil Arthur Hester’s letter, saying: “Thank you for raising the important issue of books featuring disabled children.

“A few years ago I wrote many stories for a reading scheme and one of my characters was disabled.

“I agree that it is important to be inclusive of all humans in books.”

Although J.K Rowling was unable to answer Year 5 student, William Abbott’s query personally, she did ask her team to write him letter, which referred to a lead character in her Cormoran Strike series who has a prosthetic leg.

According to Article 23 of the UNCRC, a child with a disability has the right to live a full and decent life with dignity and, as far as possible, independence and to play an active part in the community.

Mrs Jackson said writing the letters tied in with a pledge led by all Lancashire schools called ‘We Are Reading’ which encourages children to read, both in school and at home.

She said: “The pupils were very excited to receive letters, stickers and books from the famous authors and hope that more books in the future will include characters with disabilities.”