BBC Radio 1's Greg James and Chris Smith on why they chose Hastings for book celebration

BBC Radio 1's Greg James and Chris Smith were in Hastings today celebrating their latest book in the Kid Normal series.

The popular duo were at the Hastings Centre where they delivered a high-energy, interactive presentation to 600 pupils from 15 Hastings primary schools.

BBC Radio 1's Greg James and Chris Smith were in Hastings celebrating their new book

BBC Radio 1's Greg James and Chris Smith were in Hastings celebrating their new book

The launch was organised by The National Literacy Trust in partnership with Bloomsbury Children's Books as part of the Get Hastings Reading campaign.

Greg, who often travelled to Hastings while growing up in Bromley, said: "We wanted to do a big event and invite all the schools in to have a fun Friday afternoon and also we are giving them a copy of the first Kid Normal books because one of really important things we wanted to do when we started writing them was to encourage kids to write their own stories but also to read and if you are given a book, say 'this is yours, take it for free, and see if you like it'.

"We're all about getting the gateway book, we all need that one book in life where we go 'actually, I quite like reading'. It might be our one, it might be something else but that's what we're quite keen to promote."

The duo said they were keen to team up with the Get Hastings Reading campaign to help promote the importance of children picking up a book and reading from a young age.

Chris, who was visiting Hastings for the first time, said: "We are at a time where many people would disagree about many things but I think something that we can all agree on, hopefully, is that kids picking up books is 100 per cent a good thing.

"There is so much evidence that is does just feed your brain. Picking up a book is for your head and your mental wellbeing as well. Hopefully there isn't anybody that would argue that getting more books into the hands of more kids is not a fantastic thing - and grown ups as well, in fact."

Chris and Greg said they were hoping their book could help children 'change habits', something Greg believes BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show has been able to do.

Greg added: "People were like 'oh kids don't listen to the radio anymore' and that is a very silly thing to say because of course they do and you've just got to make these things appealing and say why the radio is a great part of your routine and say why you might enjoy a book and that's why we like to use our platform to go 'we benefited lots from reading, have you thought about this?' because people are very busy.

"We like to fly the flag and go 'what about a book as a pastime, this will shut your kid up for an hour like an iPad would do."

After presenting to school children, both Greg and Chris were in WHSmith in Hastings signing books for children and parents.

The duo said they would spend the day in the town and, on Greg's suggestion, grab fish and chips for dinner on the seafront before heading home this evening.

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