'Book of Hopes' by award-winning author Katherine Rundell dedicated to COVID-19 warriors
Recognizing the sterling efforts of "the doctors, nurses, carers, porters, cleaners and everyone currently working in hospitals" to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomsbury launched award-winning author Katherine Rundell's "The Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Encourage Children in Lockdown" as a free PDF on the website of its National Literacy Trust, literacytrust.org.uk/bookofhopes.
"A few weeks ago, I began a Hope Project; I emailed some of the children's writers and artists whose work I love most. I asked them to write something very short, fiction or non-fiction, or draw something that would make the children reading it feel like possibility-ists: something that would make them laugh or wonder or snort or smile," Rundell said of the book, which features over 110 authors and illustrators.
"The response was magnificent, which shouldn't have surprised me, because children's writers and illustrators are professional hunters of hope," she added.
The stories, poems, essays and pictures aren't all explicitly about hope but they all aim to create it – through delight, comfort, new ideas, ridiculous jokes or heroic tales. There are true accounts of cats and hares and plastic-devouring caterpillars; there are doodles and flowers; revolting poems and beautiful poems; there are stories of space travel and new shoes and dragons. None is longer than 500ish words and they're designed to be dipped into: you can eat one with your breakfast and another at midday.
"I hope that the imagination can be a place of shelter for children in the hard months ahead and that 'The Book of Hopes' might be useful in that, even if only a little," Rundell said.
Rundell is the bestselling author of five children's novels. She has won the Costa Children's Book Award, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children's Book Prize amongst many others.
Katherine spent her childhood in Africa and Europe before taking her degree at the University of Oxford and becoming a Fellow of All Souls College. As well as writing, she studies Renaissance literature and is learning, as a direct result of writing one her books, "The Good Thieves", to master the flying trapeze.