TWO of Britain's top-selling children's authors have today pledged their support to a new campaign to help youngsters learn about cancer.
Anne Fine - a guest at last year's Examiner Literary Luncheon - and Jacqueline Wilson have both agreed to back Macmillan Cancer Relief's Cancertalk Week, between January 24 and 28.
The aim is to give children and teenagers a chance to raise awareness about cancer, ask questions and talk about their fears through activities such as designing posters, writing plays, or hosting an assembly at school.
The Big Hush, a national sponsored silence, will end the week.
Organisers hope it will provide an opportunity for children to reflect on what they have learned.
Anne Fine, best known for Madame Doubtfire, which later became the hit film Mrs Doubtfire starring Robin Williams, said: "Cancertalk Week is a great way to raise awareness through enjoyable events.
"And a sponsored silence is an excellent way to get a few minutes' peace and quiet - and raise money for a good cause.
"As in my book, Loudmouth Louis - the story of a boy who doesn't know how to keep quiet - children will learn that listening can be fun too."
Joanne Headley, schools and youth manager for Macmillan Cancer Relief, said: "We are very grateful to Anne Fine and Jacqueline Wilson for their support and hope that children will be able to relate to their favourite authors."
Research shows more than one in three people affected by cancer, many young people will have a personal experience of the disease.
The educational initiative is set to break down some of the taboos about cancer and tackle the myths and misconceptions.
As part of the Cancertalk programme, Macmillan has provided free resource packs for schools to help teachers plan their Cancertalk Week in schools.
The packs include videos, primary and secondary school teaching booklets, lesson plans, teachers' notes and advice.
* To order a free Macmillan Cancertalk pack call 0845 601 1716, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.macmillan.org.uk/schools. Details of The Big Hush event will be included.