Download “Lyla, Louis & the Magic Lift” in English

Download “Lyla, Louis y El Ascensor Mágico” in Spanish

Children from over 50 Cognita schools around the world have collaborated to create a unique and fantastical book, aimed at 10 and 11-year-olds,  released today, on World Book Day, 5th March 2020.

It is the second year that we have run the grassroots Share A Story project – bringing together hundreds of students over three continents to write an epic adventure in English and Spanish. Celebrated children’s authors Anne Fine and Jeremy Strong are supporting the project;

“Such an appealing idea – young writers reaching across continents to create and share a story. And just as the tale itself has to hang together, so it also connects dozens of schools from all over the world. A terrifically ambitious project!”
Anne Fine, former Children’s Laureate & best-selling children’s author

“What an extraordinary story! Here is a terrific example of cross-cultural cooperation with children from over 50 schools uniting in the writing, illustrating and translating. What a story it is too, with unicorns, dragons (one of them part chameleon!), mermen, trolls, not to mention poor long-suffering PE master, Mr Longsocks. It’s a delight to read and I congratulate all who have taken part. Let’s have more!”
Jeremy Strong, best-selling children’s author

“Lyla, Louis & the Magic Lift” takes siblings Lyla and Louis, and their PE teacher, Mr Longsocks, on a mythical journey where they encounter amazing creatures from raging alicorns to angel llamas! Our young protagonists tackle cloud worlds, dastardly dwarves and spooky caves, to learn a valuable lesson in self-belief, courage and love.

The Share A Story II project was co-ordinated by Cognita colleague, Joe Woodhouse, from the British School of Barcelona in Spain; “We set the children a specific challenge this year; to write a story with ‘wellbeing’ at its heart. We wanted the main characters to have physical or cognitive differences which can often be seen as obstacles, and then radically change readers’ perceptions by making these differences the superpowers that helped the characters overcome the problems they faced. Our hope is that in turn, it teaches us all to celebrate our differences more. We’re so proud of the wonderful story they have produced.”

Teams of children from dozens of our schools were involved in writing the book – with each school taking on a chapter or illustration before passing it on to the next team. Over 10 schools also tackled the job of translating the story into Spanish.

Benjamín (aged 11), Zac (aged 12) and Julia (aged 13) were all involved;
“It was fun, writing a story that would be read in other countries.”
“I was excited to be involved… without knowing what the characters would do next.”
“I was very happy participating, and even more so for having my drawing selected. I feel honoured.”

The illustrations were co-ordinated by Christina Harrow at the Australian International School in Singapore and the translations by Nicole Ford at The English Montessori School in Madrid, Spain. The team also had expert illustration advice from award-winning illustrator and author, Karin Littlewood.

“Illustration is such a powerful, universal language and its visual impact is just as important as the written word. When the day came for the final judging, I was so excited to see the illustrations – they were amazing! Wonderful, imaginative and strong, from different countries, cultures, schools and year groups, drawn and painted with thought, skill and a huge dose of enjoyment shining through. I can’t wait to hold the final book in my hands!”
Karin Littlewood

Watch this video to discover more about this inspiring project.