Middlesbrough Reads teamed up with author Rachael Wong to write a book framing the coronavirus lockdown from the perspective of young people. The story was originally told in a series of five videos over the course of a week on the Middlesbrough Reads Facebook page.
Rachael invited children to suggest ideas as the plot unfolded, and after the final instalment was written, it was put together in an eBook so children could see their ideas transformed into a part of local history.
Middlesbrough Council funded the printing of 1000 copies of the workbook which were given out by schools and foodbanks.
Middlesbrough Reads then launched a drawing competition, to find art which would be included in the published book, thanks to the author. 150 illustrations were shortlisted, and 26 pieces of children’s work were ultimately included in the book.
One thousand copies of the book were printed, with copies delivered to Drake – The Bookshop, posted to the winning illustrators, and donated as a class set for Beech Grove due to their engagement in the competition. A further 6 copies were delivered to every primary school to include in their school library.
“All three of my children took part in the Parmo to the Rescue initiative earlier in the year and we are all so excited that the published version is finally here! Not only is it a great way to tell a community story but it is also a one of our favourite memories during what has been a stressful 2020. It’s amazing that we’ve got something positive to take away from this.” – Middlesbrough parent.
“Well done everyone – what brilliant illustrations!” – Middlesbrough parent.
“I was inspired by the characters’ confidence!” “I like the sibling rivalry between George and Leila!” “The dog, Parmo, is my favourite character!” “I liked that George was like someone I know!” “Parmo to the Rescue helped me to understand what we were going through!” – pupils’ responses
“Our pupils were very surprised to find something so local on our bookshelves!” – Middlesbrough teacher