A POPULAR award-winning author told pupils at two North-East schools they should 'daydream' more often.

Cathy Cassidy prompted surprised looks from teachers from Hurworth and Longfield schools when she issued the advice to pupils during a visit to Hurworth last week.

She said: “I used to get into trouble at school for daydreaming, but now I wish it was part of the curriculum.”

Ms Cassidy, winner of the 2010 Queen of Teen award for outstanding teen and young adult fiction, spent time at Hurworth School as part of a Swift Academies event, and spoke with students about her career as an author, and the importance of setting their imaginations free.

Year 7 students from Hurworth School and Longfield Academy spent a week studying different stories ahead of Ms Cassidy's visit, including her new young adult novel, Sami’s Silver Lining.

The Northern Echo:

The successful author told pupils: “When you’re daydreaming, that’s when the creative force in your mind is unlocked, and you can come up with truly original ideas.

“This isn’t just important in creative writing, but in every industry.

"Some of you may become engineers, or mathematicians, and have to come up with inventive ways to solve problems, for example.

"Daydreaming is rarely wasted.”

Hurworth pupil Lucas Torrison said: “We think it is important to have authors give talks in schools, because it inspires children to be creative and create their own stories.

"We’re very grateful to Cathy for taking the time to visit us.”

Sami's Silver Lining is the second book in the author's Lost and Found series, and is written from the perspective of a young refugee who was forced to flee his home in Syria.

Responding to a question from a pupil, Ms Cassidy said it was the book she is most proud of.

“The subject matter is very close to my heart, and it tackles issues that are very important to me. I hope it helps bring attention to the terrible things some children go through.”

Kath Martin, Librarian at Longfield Academy, who initially contacted Ms Cassidy, said: “Cathy has earned national acclaim through her writing and we were thrilled to have her with us.”

Head of English at Hurworth, Tracey Minshull, added “We look forward to pupils heeding the message about letting their imaginations run free – although we do still need them to concentrate in class!"

The author also personally signed pupils' books.