Picture this, kids! A life post-pandemic
A new children's book, created by two London-based creatives, tackles the pandemic head on with a beautifully crafted story about life beyond the coronavirus lockdown.
London-based agency Forever Beta has published a bedtime storybook specifically written to reassure children that there is hope and happiness to look forward to beyond the pandemic.
Even as children across the UK head back to school today, for the first time in months, the pandemic will still limit their lives, and the lives of their families, for months to come.
We wanted to create a safe space for the kids. A place where there’s no pandemic that they can go to in their dreams.
Called There’s a Place Where There’s no Pandemic, the book uses fond memories of the world before pre-pandemic to gently remind children and their parents that, once the pandemic ends, the world will still be a place where they can hug their loved ones or visit their granny, where people are smiling and they can feel safe. The book is aimed at children aged between four- and 10-years-old and launched at the end of February.
The book was written by Forever Beta creatives and debut authors Majken Gram and Felipe Faria after they witnessed the effect the pandemic was having on the children around them, realising how easy it was to forget how stressful it must all be to a child. Their desire to help was solidified after seeing research from the University of Oxford showing that, during the first lockdown, children aged between four and 10 saw increases in emotional difficulties, such as feeling unhappy, worried, being clingy as well as further physical symptoms associated with worry.
The book has been illustrated by Bruno Rovarotto with 100% of the proceeds going to Barnardo’s and Forever Beta covering all production and printing costs. There’s a Place Where There’s no PandemicIt will be priced at £9.99 and can be bought here.
Below, we speak to Gram and Faria about why they created the book and the hopes they have for it.
What was the inspiration behind creating this book?
We - as adults - are so stressed out about home working and homeschooling, and everything else right now, that we forget how stressful this situation is to our kids, how much this weighs on their minds. So, we wanted to create a safe space for the kids. A place where there’s no pandemic that they can go to in their dreams. When we found out that a University of Oxford study had shown that kids in lockdown are even experiencing mental health difficulties, like feeling unhappy and worried, we just felt even stronger for the idea.
So many people are struggling 'behind the scenes' of this pandemic, and the fact that many of those are kids is just heartbreaking.
You've never written a book before; how did you find the process?
We quite quickly came up with the idea of creating this magical place where there’s no pandemic and the comforting nature of a bedtime story just felt right for the idea. So, we applied the story of this magical place to a traditional bedtime story format with the repetition and rhymes. All with a hopeful twist for tomorrow at the end. It’s all been a fun and quite important process to us. So many people are struggling 'behind the scenes' of this pandemic, and the fact that many of those are kids is just heartbreaking. So, whatever little thing we can do to help right now feels important.
How and why was Bruno Rovarotto the right person to take on the illustration for this?
Bruno has a beautiful and unique style that perfectly balances the seriousness of the subject and the playful and dreamy scenarios of the story. His black and white lines beautifully takes the mundane pre-pandemic scenarios and makes them as extraordinary as they seem to us now. On top of that, Bruno has just been great, and so incredibly generous, throughout the entire project. He has donated all his hours to the project, working pro bono, and has put in a lot of effort to bring this to life.
The biggest challenge has been to find the perfect balance between creating something hopeful yet realistic and serious.
What was the biggest challenge in writing There’s a Place Where There’s No Pandemic?
The aim of the story is to bring hope and happiness to kids in the UK, but the topic and the context is very serious. We even have the word 'pandemic' in our title. So, the biggest challenge has been to find the perfect balance between creating something hopeful yet realistic and serious.
What's the biggest worry for you around the fact that so many children have been impacted by this pandemic?
The biggest worry is that the kids would be forgotten in all the other things going on right now. They don’t necessarily know how to voice their worries and a lot of parents are - very understandably - very stressed right now.
We’re hoping for good sales so we can make sure a nice, big donation will be made to help vulnerable kids affected by the pandemic.
What do you hope the book achieves?
We hope this bedtime story can help kids end their day with a more hopeful and happy feeling inside. To counterbalance all the negative news stories and worried faces they meet throughout the day. And maybe even be the tool for parents to start a conversation with their kids, to help the kids voice their worries. Finally, since 100 % of the proceeds will go to children’s charity Barnardo’s, we’re hoping for good sales so we can make sure a nice, big donation will be made to help vulnerable kids affected by the pandemic.