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Tackling Pandemic Fears and Struggles with Bedtime Stories

Behind the Work 40 Add to collection

Majken Gram and Felipe Faria at Forever Beta discuss the bedtime storybook in aid of Barnardo’s, that aims to bring hope and optimism to children struggling with fears around the pandemic

Tackling Pandemic Fears and Struggles with Bedtime Stories

In March this year Forever Beta launched a bedtime storybook in aid of Barnardo’s, aiming to bring hope and optimism to children struggling with fears around the pandemic. With 100% of the profits going to the children’s charity, Majken Gram and Felipe Faria, creatives at Forever Beta, tell the story of where the idea came from and how they got it published. 

You can buy the book here.  


From adults playing chicken with the wintry weather to see how long they can sit in the cold to drink a pint in a glass to kids having fun in play parks, farms and mini golf courses across the country you’d be forgiven for forgetting how hard lockdown was. Humans do love a pair of rose tinted glasses. 

But the knock on effect is still very real and the psychological effect on young children is still yet to be seen. During the first lockdown it appeared to us that there was an age group being forgotten - 4 to 10 year olds. 

Our thoughts were solidified when we saw an article based on the findings of a study by the University of Oxford which showed that:

Parents/carers of children aged 4-10 years of age reported that over a one-month period in lockdown, they saw increases in their child’s emotional difficulties, such as feeling unhappy, worried, being clingy and experiencing physical symptoms associated with worry. 

We both have kids in our lives that we are close to, and the article really resonated with us because we had noticed how we - as adults - tend to forget about the kids’ feelings in all of this. We talked about stress with homeschooling and working from home. And in the middle of all this, we forget how all this must weigh on our children’s minds. 

The findings from the study and our own observations became the driving force behind this project. It inspired us to come up with the idea of creating a safe space for the kids - a place where there wasn't a pandemic for them to worry about, a place where they could go in their dreams. And have happy ones. 

As all parents know, if you want to comfort your kids, one of the best ways is through stories, and when better to help give them nice dreams, than at bedtime? That’s why it became a bedtime story. We wanted to write a story that would lull the kids to sleep with a hopeful feeling inside, to counterbalance all the negative news stories and worried faces they saw throughout the day.

But we wanted to help the parents as well, hoping the book could be a conversation starter between the parents and their kids to talk about the pandemic and their worries. And maybe even help make the parents feel a bit more optimistic, a bit more hopeful and a bit more at ease with the world - especially after a long day of home working and homeschooling. 

From creating Mask Mints, free breath mints for commuters wearing masks on public transport, to launching a sustainability consultancy called Beta Good at the height of the first lockdown, the senior team here has always been entrepreneurial and supportive of different creative ideas. So when we went to them with the idea to self publish, they gave us the green light straight away.

This was the first time for both of us writing a kids book, so there were a lot of learnings along the way. But it was clear to us from the beginning what we wanted the story to say. We wanted the book to tell a wonderful story about all the everyday things kids would do prior to lockdown, such as visiting their granny or hugging a loved one - things that seemed mundane before but were now massive gaps in their lives. And then present these everyday things as almost magical dream-like situations. All written in a traditional bedtime story format. But with a hopeful twist for tomorrow at the end.

Then we had to find the illustrator. We needed someone who could portray ordinary moments in an extraordinary way, which is something Bruno Rovarotto does exceptionally. The black and white illustrations also give the book simplicity yet depth and creates a perfect balance between the dream-like scenarios and the serious reality of the topic. 

We also spent a lot of time researching who would be interested in the book, including social media contacts, who aligned with what we are trying to achieve. This included finding a partner to work with who could be the beneficiary of all of the profits. We lucked out a little that Barnado’s was our first choice and they jumped at the chance of getting on board. 

We know that some kids are struggling more than others and these are the kids Barnardo’s are working to help at the moment. So to create a book we would sell in aid of them was the perfect solution for us.

Even though we are heading out of lockdown, there will still be so many children whose lives won't return to normal any time soon and will still have worries, fears and emotional difficulties because of the pandemic. Hopefully this book will go some way to alleviating those. 


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Categories: Media and Entertainment, Books

Forever Beta, Tue, 18 May 2021 12:17:00 GMT