Primary teachers are being encouraged to raise the issue of knife crime with their pupils.
Dan Freedman's new young-adult novel Unstoppable deals with the issues of gang culture and knife crime. Mr Freedman has said that the idea for the book was prompted by overhearing a primary pupil talking about knives.
“Some primary schools may feel as though parents wouldn’t approve of the subject of knife crime being raised with their children," said Mr Freedman. "Whilst I don’t think it’s something you would cover with the youngest kids, I do very much think that for Years 5 and 6, it’s a positive conversation to have with them.”
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“It’s about empowering, educating and inspiring them to make the right decisions at a key point in their lives as they get ready to make the leap to secondary school.”
Mr Freedman, best known for his Jamie Johnson footballer books which have been made into a CBBC series, added: “One of the catalysts for writing this book came when I heard a boy in a primary school boasting about stabbing someone.
"Whilst he may have just been trying to look tough, I immediately thought, ‘Whoa, this is serious. We need to talk about this with children as soon as possible, before it’s too late’.”
The plea comes after a recent rise in knife crime, with schools being urged to work with local agencies to reduce violence and keep young people safe.
Mr Freedman's message is supported by actress Brooke Kinsella, whose 16-year-old brother, Ben Kinsella, was stabbed to death by three youths in 2008. The Ben Kinsella Trust delivers workshops for primary schools as well as secondary schools.
“No child is born holding a knife,” said Ms Kinsella. “It is a learned behaviour. Therefore we must start with educating all young people that carrying, and using, a knife is not acceptable.
"That's why I founded the Ben Kinsella Trust, to educate children and young people away from knives and to help them to stay safe.”