A letter to all children off school (or not!) ,
I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a way to help the thousands of you now suddenly off school for who knows how long. A big part of my job as a writer is going into schools and talking to young people about the themes of my books and creative writing. I already miss the challenging questions, the cheeky interruptions, the INCREDIBLE ideas and enthusiasm.
Last night, I was writing to some of my Book Pen Pal schools with a heavy heart. My role in that organisation is to recommend books to encourage children to read for pleasure. I love being part of it but I felt I couldn’t recommend a book that so many children would not be able to get hold of – schools and libraries have closed and not everyone has spare cash, for books, especially now so many are temporarily out of work.
My book pen pal suggestion, earlier in March, was The Diary of Anne Frank. I read it recently and was struck but how completely ordinary it was and yet completely captivating. I really felt I knew that young woman, through her writing, and it’s such a precious document of a horrible time. It gave me an idea.
Instead of reading a book, let’s write one. Together.
I’m not 100% sure how this is going to work yet but I commit to these things as a bare minimum:
I will collate and edit the entries and produce a book at the end of this dreadful time.
Every child that sends me a diary or diary entry will, at the very least, have their name mentioned in the book.
Parents and teachers, if you know a child who wants to get involved, please get in touch through the comments page on this website. If you are a young person who wants to be involved, please don’t share your contact details publicly or privately with anyone you don’t know. Please get a teacher, librarian or parent to contact me. Never share personal information with anyone you don’t know.
You can join the project anytime, if it grows we’ll find a way to include as many people as possible. It’s evolving, a website is coming!
More will follow as I figure it out but here’s the basics:
Keep a diary of all the ordinary things and extra ordinary things that happen during this time.
Each week we’ll have a theme – this week it’s:
How do you feel about what’s happening?
Draw pictures, write about your boredom, your frustration, the fun things you get to do.
Are you pleased you’ve got time off, are you worried?
What about exams?
Write it how you like – you don’t need to keep it every day, you can write it to Dear DP ( Diary Project) or write it to no-one.
You can draw, or sketch or use words – we’ll get some authors to give tips on all kinds of writing and illustrating.
Keep it altogether until we’re through this and then you can send it to me via your school or trusted adult.
You will be heard. Stay well, much love Kathryn
PS If you want to know what book I would recommend through all this, it’s another diary! Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging – guaranteed to make you laugh!