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Albert to the rescue 

During a period of self-isolation, Baptist minister Richard Littledale wrote a child-friendly book about social distancing. He explains more  

Albert1I have to confess that I am a little cautious of all the ‘fighting talk’ relating to the Coronavirus pandemic right now.  To describe it as a battle suggests that it can be won by grit and determination alone. The emphasis on the ‘front line’ leaves those who are on the back lines in the support roles cast out of the limelight.

However, there is one positive element to it. The sense of ‘doing your bit’ for the ‘war effort’ has brought the best out of all of us. This crisis has made many of us more inventive and more resourceful than we ever thought we could be. This is where Albert comes in.
Albert the Mouse is a little character I invented a few years ago. He is now in the process of telling six children’s bible stories for Lion Hudson. The first two Albert and the big boat’(Noah) and Albert and the Slingshot (David and Goliath) came out in January. Two more are anticipated later this year, and two more in 2021. It was out of a conversation with a friend at Lion that Albert’s latest project was born.
In mid-March I had to self-isolate for two weeks, as I was showing some symptoms which suggested it was wise to do so.  Thankfully the symptoms are all gone now. In the second week, my friend at Lion suggested that I might like to write another book in the time I had, and I quipped that I could always write ‘Albert does social distancing’. The idea simply wouldn’t go away. 

Albert2The next day, I contacted Heather Heyworth – whose gorgeous illustrations have brought the Albert books to life. She was keen to ‘do her bit’ to help as well – and Lion signed off on the project. Just over a month later Albert does social distancing was launched. It is a free, downloadable PDF book which explains in a child-friendly way why we need to isolate. There is even an interactive page at the end. It has been formatted for A4, so that parents can download and print it at home if they would like to.
Since the project went live, many in health and social care have been advocating it as a resource, and in its first 24 hours, Albert’s little story had over 400 visitors.  It seems like Albert is ‘doing his bit’ and I am glad to help him!

Richard Littledale is minister of Newbury Baptist Church. You can download Albert and Social Distancing by visiting the Newbury Baptist Church website here.

Richard is also the author of Marvin the Maple Tree, a small book to help children as they process the death of an adult in their lives. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to NHS Charities Together

Baptist Times, 29/04/2020
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