Tales From Our Living Room: The Children’s Isolation Book Project

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The Children’s Isolation Book Project is a wonderful example of a creative response to lockdown, and we’re very pleased to welcome Juliette Jones, who came up with the project, as our guest blogger. Below she talks about the project which has led to a book, and why she’s donating the book’s profits to Reading Force…

What did you do over lockdown? It was a strange time, that’s for sure, and still is in a lot of ways. Twelve children from Hampshire used their time to pen thirteen short stories for a new book celebrating the resilience and creativity of our next generation during this challenging period.

As a home educating Mum, I really felt for my friends and family when they found themselves trying to keep their children engaged in some form of learning while the schools ironed out their processes. With this in mind and after discussion with my own child, he urged me to reach out to those parents with the idea for this book. I knew it would be beneficial for them to be creative and structure a story, but I was also aware of how much we all needed the distraction as COVID seemed to dominate the news and everything around us.

Twelve children responded and submitted their fantastic stories and poems. The stories could be about anything they chose to write about and vary from dinosaurs, secret agents, volcanoes, magic sunglasses to naughty robots.

When it came to designing a front cover, I knew the best choice was to offer this opportunity to the authors! They’d already shown such talent and they did not disappoint. Three of the children sent me artwork for the book and all three pieces are used, with ten year old Oliver Hayward’s design gracing the front cover. Nine year old Emma Tyrrell designed the inside title page and eleven year old Elizabeth even made a model of the volcano in her story, which we have shared with the readers. I was astounded when eight year old Gracie Carter’s story arrived through my door. Having bound it herself like a real book with a full front cover and even a section at the back saying ‘also by this author’! I do hope Gracie keeps up her writing as I’d love to see those future works! Gracie also designed the back of the book.

This weekend I had the opportunity to hand deliver the first copies of the book to each of the authors. After working with the children, and their wonderful encouraging parents, over the past six months it was such a special day being able to meet them all and see their reactions. I’m incredibly proud of each and every one of them!

The project from the outset was for the benefit of the children, so it was really important to me that the profits would also go towards this. I felt supporting a charity that helped children through reading or writing would be the most appropriate, and Reading Force in particular as we are a military family ourselves. I know first-hand how tough it can be and with a couple of our authors coming from service families it felt like the perfect choice for this book.

– Juliette Jones

“I had fun writing my story and I’ve always loved books so it’s amazing to have written one that has been published”

Bella Deacon, age 9, Hamble

 “I feel super proud to be part of this book and I hope it raises lots of money for Reading Force”

Oliver Hayward, age 10, Southampton

“It feels amazing to have my story published in a book! I never thought I could achieve anything like it and it’s encouraged me to do more writing! 😊

Thomas Booth, age 9, Fareham

The book will be available in paperback from Juliette Jones, Made in:Here Southampton and Amazon.