Primary school teacher Mike Forde, who grew up in the rectory of St Cedma’s, Larne, where his father Stephen, now Dean of Belfast, was rector, has published a new book to support children in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
Mike, who now lives in Lancaster where he teaches at Ingleton Primary School, penned the story in an effort to help pupils come to terms with the school shutdown.
“I initially shared it as a Kindle book with the class and it was downloaded hundreds of times and shared by teachers with their students in various schools across the country,” said Mike. “I’ve now created a website for the book so that anyone can access it for free.”
Titled ‘How to NOT go to school,’ the story follows the whimsical daily adventures of Parsley Mimblewood. “Parsley’s never been to school. Instead, she spends her days looking after her one imaginary guinea-pig, two real guinea-pigs and three goats whilst solving mysteries with the (imaginary) Detective Dracula and writing books explaining how to not go to school,” added Mike, himself a former pupil of Olderfleet Primary School and Larne Grammar School.
“Each chapter explores an issue that might be weighing on children’s minds at the moment such as dealing with emotions, missing friends and feeling cooped up. At the end the chapter, there are prompts and questions to support parents to discuss these issues as a family.”
The book’s front cover image was created for free by Sarah Beswick, a complete stranger who had seen the story and contacted Mike wanting to help out.
“The story draws on lots of ideas and events from the class I teach,” Mike said. “For example, our class mascot, PomPom the Ninja, appears in the book. And the children love hearing about my tiny Gran (who’s currently self-isolating in Lisburn); she also pops up a couple of times. However, it seems to have appealed to lots of children and families beyond my school.”
For more information, see https://parsleymimblewood.wordpress.com/