Sarah Webb, the award-winning children's author and writing coach, has had a busy pandemic. She's been running writing clubs for several years now and, most recently, has been producing Bright Start Creative Blast writing workshops with the help of the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI ) and is continuing to run her own writing clubs for children via Zoom. Over the course of the past few weeks she has been encouraging the children that she works with to document their experiences of the lockdown in stories, poems, diary entries and comic strips. These are beautiful, melancholy and funny reflections of the day to day lives, fears and hopes of some talented, thoughtful young people. We are very pleased to be able to reproduce some of them here.
‘Saying thank you’
Sarah says: “When it was announced that the schools would be closing, I decided to take the clubs online. I also added two more clubs – one for any children who needed a bit of a creative boost and another free one for children of frontline healthcare professionals. It’s my small way of saying thank you to doctors and nurses for all they are doing at the moment.
“I currently have seven classes running on Zoom and we will keep going until the end of the school year.
“During the clubs (I like to call them clubs rather than classes as they are all about making writing fun) we play writing games and I set them fun story prompts. Recently we all wrote Limericks, for example, and we made up crazy words inspired by Roald Dahl’s Gobblefunk.
“I recently asked them to write a poem about ’staying inside’ – what they dislike about staying at home, what they miss about ‘normal’ life and what it’s like being a young person at the moment. Some of the poems and stories here are a product of that prompt. Shannon came up with the ‘Lock me please’ refrain all by herself. Julianne writes with such passion and has a unique voice which bounces off the page. When she writes about even (kind of) missing the boys in her class at school, it made me laugh out loud. Jack and Luke’s pieces were written solo – before they joined my healthcare writing club. Their mum and dad are both doctors. I have to admit the last line of Luke’s piece made me cry. It’s simply beautiful.
“Writers of any age make sense of the world by writing. I hope writing is helping my young writing-club members – and all young writers all over Ireland and worldwide – to find solace at the moment.
“Working with young writers all is a true privilege.”
Why? Covid 19, Why?
by Julianne Dodd (11½)
I hate the news,
I hate the stress,
I hate the lack of need to dress,
I hate the people who spread the worry,
I hate that I’m not in a hurry,
I hate the truth,
I hate the lies,
Why? Covid 19, why?
I miss my friends,
I miss the noise,
I even kind of miss the boys,
I miss the lessons to be learned,
I miss the rivalries for which I yearned,
I miss the laughter,
I miss the cries,
Why? Covid 19, why?
I hope you liked it! Bye!
The Pandemic: from my perspective
by Luke Barry ( 9)
Things are different… things are strange….. things are funny.. Most days begin with Dad running into the hospital. He talks a lot about masks and the protective clothes for surgery. Meanwhile at home our home school would begin. I’m usually lost in thought, thinking about the last time I saw my friends. My mum’s phone is the answer, and that’s not good enough, is it?
But this is why Mum and Dad (who are doctors) are running around trying to stop the catastrophe. March seemed to go on forever so I was deeply relieved when someone pranked me for April Fools Day. I also feel relieved when Mum and Dad come home from work safe inside the roof of our home away from any danger.
Sometimes when we go for a walk by the Prom, I think about the changes everybody has made – like everything in the world there has to be some good ones and bad ones.
Like for instance the line at the shop takes about 5 hours to get your food! What’s that about people! A good part is that when I wake every morning and reach for my school uniform I remember I don’t have to put it on – usually I feel instantly drowsy when I touch it! Another change is that now when Dad comes home he dashes upstairs to have a shower. Not even bothering to turn on the TV or eat the Pringles!
I know I have to keep my distance from Dad – that’s hard. But the biggest change is that I don’t see my friends or my Granny and Grandad. It’s like as if they vanished off the face of the earth.
The funny part is that after this period when I screen time my grandparents, I think I will know my Grandad’s ear from top to bottom – before he remembers to switch on his camera!
In bed I pray for my loved ones, hoping my grandparents will stay strong. I let my thoughts act like a lullaby and close my eyes.
by Shannon Ruihan Sun (10)
Lock me please – Lock me in, lock it (Covid-19) out
Lock me please – I am safe inside
Lock me please – Everyday is like a Sunday
Lock me please – I have time to read more books
Lock me please – Even though I like school
Lock me please – That is the way I could help others
Lock me please – But I will one day come back out again because
they are with me.
by Jack Barry (11)
“Life is cruel” I sometimes declare,
Though I’d never say it during this deadly affair,
Staying inside is neither bad nor good,
By the time this is over I’ll have reached adulthood!
I’m trying my hardest to keep boredom at bay,
If I had a dog I’d have fun every day!
I feel bad for children without siblings – not one,
But we’ll all experience joy when self-isolating is done!
I thought at first the 2km limit was all wrong,
But Leo is just trying to keep us healthy and strong,
These are all my views, so now it’s time to pull the plug,
Because all I want to do is give my grandparents a hug :