Local charity Literacy Pirates has published a collection of diary entries by 250 children in which they express their “feelings and fears” during time spent at home in the early weeks of the coronavirus lockdown.
The charity sent out diaries to kids across Hackney and Haringey, who then filled them up with their thoughts between 30 March and 5 June.
The children touch on both the mundane and the profound in everyday life, expressing vulnerability and loneliness but also exploring newfound avenues of entertainment and the importance of family.
A selection of their entries form the Diary of an Extraordinary Spring collection, which can be read on Literacy Pirates’ website.
Wendy Baster, the charity’s director of learning, said: “We had to give the children a chance to write diaries. This was clearly an unprecedented moment, it is a once in a life, historic moment. So we sent a lovely 24-page diary to all of them with an invitation to pick up a pen and write about their feelings and fears.”
In the weeks that followed, the charity received hundreds of photos of the children’s diaries, with Wendy writing back personally to encourage and support them.
The final collection is arranged in categories such as ‘Friends and Family’, ‘Keyworkers’ and ‘Everyday’, and according to Literacy Pirates, gives readers a “realistic, often fun, look behind lockdown”.
One entry reads: “Dear Diary. This is very boring having to sit around, nothing to do, nowhere to go. I feel like I have experienced prison. I just feel like blowing a fuse – all I want is for coronavirus to go and never come back. Then people’s lives will turn back to normal. So people can do what they love best: go out with friends and spend loads of time with family!”
Another child writes on their birthday: “When I woke up it felt like it was a normal day. It was a really quiet day. When I went downstairs my grandparents wished me a happy birthday (I live with them by the way). My friends and family members wished me a happy birthday as well on Whatsapp and Instagram.
“My mum and I went to school to get my home learning packs but we wore the necessary equipment (masks and gloves) to protect ourselves and others. At school my teachers sang me a happy birthday. When we were at home me and my mum washed our hands with soap for one minute.”
Literacy Pirates, formerly Hackney Pirates, works to improve the reading and writing of children who are falling behind through an after-school programme delivered in a pirate ship by teachers and volunteers.
You can read the Diary of an Extraordinary Spring here