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The book helping children make sense of the pandemic

Local author Hannah Howells has written a book to help children make sense of the pandemic, and ease anxieties for them and parents alike.

Local author Hannah Howells

Solent Mind blogger releases children’s book ‘The People and the Planet’ – aimed at helping children make sense of the pandemic.

The pandemic has thrown up many challenges for all of us, but for younger children it’s brought questions, anxieties and fears that, as adults, we may struggle to answer. Even now, children might be asking: “Have the nasty germs gone, now that lots of people aren’t wearing masks?”

That’s a tough one to answer without confusing children more and causing more anxiety.

Children, Young People and Families Lead for Solent Mind, Jamie Dippie, has previously spoken about the confusion and anxiety even he feels as an adult as we are coming out of the pandemic. He has give his tips for helping your children through time transition:

One of the reasons, self-published author and Solent Mind blogger, Hannah Howells, from Southampton, has created her beautifully written and illustrated book about the pandemic, aimed at primary school aged children is to help ease confusion and anxiety among children.

“When covid struck, like everyone else, I was worried about the state of the world and the impact that the virus would have on our lives”, Hannah says.

“So, when I wrote the first draft in March 2020, when lockdown had just been announced, I was initially angry and upset. I was pregnant with our second child and it felt like our world had been turned upside down.”

Little did Hannah know that her son would end up being delivered by her husband in a Sainsbury’s local carpark; but the event had a huge impact on her:

“Having Wilf brought this joy into our lives. It made us flip things completely and count our blessings. It was then that I re-worked the story again and again and decided to make it a story about hope.”

Hannah has given her advice for talking to your children about the pandemic: 

The book is now on Amazon and gets a 5 star reviews:

“This beautiful rhyming tales tells of the care and love we need for our planet and that there’s hope. It’s written in a language children can easily understand and its illustrations are delightful. A joy to read over and over to my grandchildren.”

“Howells’ story telling took us (my husband and I plus our children, aged 7 and 4) right back to those initial emotions of uncertainty followed by the worries and then the hope for the future. The love was palpable, and we resonated with every word. A must-read story for everyone and, most importantly, our children’s generation to remember 2020 and the wonders that it eventually brought to us all."

“A fantastic book for children (and adults!) telling the events of the last few years. Such an important message told in a brilliantly clever way, with beautiful illustrations that really add to the charm of this poignant story. I’ve already ordered several copies to give as gifts!”

Hannah is hoping the book will get parents and children talking about the past year and a half, especially their feelings and experiences, and process them.

“I know we are coming through the other side of things now, but to be able to have these conversations in many years to come is really important. I think we should have open and honest dialogue about our experiences.

“We have to protect our children, but we are juggling so much ourselves and it’s hard to play that calm role model at times when inside you are worrying, and children pick up on that. They are like little sponges.”

“The book mentions that lives were lost but it’s done in a child-friendly, age-appropriate way.”

Hannah believes that one of the main issues that has affected younger children is the disruption to their lives; the changing of rules regarding who could go outside and who couldn’t; the fear that was put into them through the news; and things they might have picked up on such as the signs they have seen asking people to wear masks.

Hannah says: “My own son will ask for hand sanitiser when he has been to the park and another child has touched him. The pandemic really has had a huge impact on children.”

Hannah is now planning to go into local primary schools to deliver reading and writing workshops, and because mental health is a big part of the school curriculums, she’s hoping that she will be able to use the book to kick start conversations.

“As a former primary school teacher, I have thought carefully about the language and also hope that children can be inspired as writers and readers. I’ve written this book so that it can be accessed by different age groups but on different levels.” Hannah adds, “This is a heartfelt story which doesn’t once mention the word ‘virus’ because I didn’t want to mention that word. It’s an honest story but a hopeful one too”.

Jamie Dippie, Programme Lead for Children, Young People and Families for Solent Mind says about the book:

“It demonstrates the importance of being transparent about children’s mental health and the world around them. The pandemic has raised numerous questions that place a huge emphasis on the way children see themselves and how they interpret information. Solent Mind are able to help support young people and families through workshops, group and one-to-one sessions and understand that talking about mental health illness can be difficult, so we are here to support and help have these conversations.”

You can buy a copy of Hannah’s book at:

‘The People and the Planet’ is available to buy on Amazon by searching for: The People and the Planet Hannah Howells Hannah blogs about parenting on her site and her Instagram handle is @another _mama.

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