A STORY about a Syrian family caught up in the civil war made an impact on pupils from three schools in Swindon this week.

Thirty-eight pupils from Dorcan Academy and Kingsdown school met up to discuss five books for the annual Riveting Read at Highworth Warneford school on Wednesday.

The annual event introduces pupils to new genres and asks them to discuss each book in groups, with Welcome to Nowhere by award-winning author Elizabeth Laird voted the favourite.

Mrs Galeozzie, head of English at Highworth Warneford School, told the Adver: “They went for something really different. It helps them understand the problems that refugees face, rather than just labelling them as a problem or a burden, it was telling the story from their point of view.

“They found that they could relate to people very different from themselves, they found communality with each of the different characters which were presented, no matter how diverse they were."

Megan Turner, a year 8 from Highworth Warneford, said: “My favourite book was Welcome to Nowhere because I thought it was quite action packed and fast-paced. There were also a lot of strong characters.

“The types of books chosen have been quite different to what I normally read so they’ve kind of surprised me."

Lauren Smart, also a year 8 from Highworth Warneford, said: “I thought Welcome to Nowhere was really good, it brings in political issues about Syria and bombings and made a good point.

"It was quite a page-turner, but I’m quite a book worm so I read books quickly anyway.

Adelaide Fasham, a year nine student at Highworth Warneford, said: “It was really interesting because you meet a lot of people from different schools which have different opinions to you, but it was nice to discuss that with them.”

“My favourite was Welcome to Nowhere, it was just a very interesting book and obviously picked up on topical issues at the moment. They’re living in quite a different situation to what we’re living in, but they’re sort of the same age as us, and they’re just normal teenagers so you can relate on that level.

“Reading kind of gives you a break from your normal life, so you can step into someone else’s world and get a taste of what life is like to them.

“It’s good to meet other people who enjoy the same things as you and find new books which you might really love.”