Once Upon a Pandemic: New project to document Covid-19 for kids

by Rachel Darcy

An Irish publishing company have launched a new writing initiative for children that will look at documenting their experience of the Covid-19 pandemic in their own words.

The Covid Book Project has been launched this week by Emu Ink, who have also developed their own online resources to help children looking to take part in the initiative.

Each school is encouraged to create their own book as part of the project, and to document the individual experience of each school. The online resources on offer are aimed to help school children formulate, edit and proofread their Covid-19 stories.

At the end of the project, the publisher intend to have a book developed for each school that will capture what life was like for those within the school community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Founder and CEO of Emu Ink, Emer Cleary said, “We are delighted to be offering this wonderful opportunity to children in Dublin and throughout Ireland, who will write a short story or poem about their life during the current crisis. We will then publish the work of these pupils, who are quite literally writing Dublin’s history from their own viewpoints.

“The finished book will act as a public record of this time and it will be available in the school and wider community for posterity. Future generations of students will gain a unique insight into the pandemic from the accounts of the students who have lived through it at their school.

“This project is going to change how our children’s children learn about what’s happening right now – and that is something special. We want everyone to join our movement!”

In addition to creating a unique account of their experiences, the Covid Book Project will also look to encourage children to express their emotions regarding the last six months, and to try to help adults understand the effect Covid-19 has had on them.

“It’s been a very tough few months for everyone,” said Cleary.

“The children have been away from their daily routine and their friends – and teachers have been working exceptionally hard over the summer to welcome their classes back to school safely.

“Now that our school communities are getting back into routine, we want The Covid Book Project to be a positive activity for teachers, children and parents that will start the discussion about the impact on each other’s lives and will work in a classroom setting or as part of a blended learning programme.”

The Covid Book Project was inspired by the response from children to Emu Ink’s call to get writing during lockdown. In May, the company published Home Stories, an anthology of stories and poems written by 132 school children throughout Ireland including Dublin during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Covid Book Project is open to primary and secondary schools in Ireland. Participating schools will gain access to Emu Ink’s online resources, teachers can set the task of writing a story or poem about life during this time.

Schools have a choice of a ‘traditional’ paperback anthology, which will fit the work of approximately 120 children as well as artwork on the front and back cover or an A4 book in full colour.

To recognise the contribution that the children make to The Covid Book Project, Emu Ink have partnered with Starbucks and Leisureplex. Each child who participates will receive a €10 Leisureplex voucher and a Starbucks voucher for a hot chocolate and a coffee for their accompanying grown-up.

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