Usborne author PG Bell, creator of the children’s book series The Train to Impossible Places, has partnered with the National Literacy Trust and The Postal Museum on a letter writing project inviting children to share their experiences of the pandemic with future generations.
Launched on Wednesday 13th January during Universal Letter Writing Week (10th-17th January), the project aims to create a historical record of children’s experiences in the UK during the past 12 months, and support schools and children in their literacy development. It invites children to write a letter to a child in 2030 about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic and the project will run until the 2021 Easter holidays. It will culminate in a display of the letters at The Postal Museum.
According to a survey run by the NLT, a quarter of children it surveyed said writing helped when they felt sad in lockdown and couldn’t see family and friends, and for one in three letter writing specifically made them feel happy and helped them to express their feelings.
Invoking The Train to Impossible Places series and its characters, following the adventures of the crew of the Impossible Postal Express, Bell and Usborne are providing tips on letter writing and assets to create a real sense of excitement. The last book in the series, Delivery to the Lost City, published last week. Bell said: "There’s a little bit of magic in letter writing. It lets us share a part of ourselves – our thoughts, our feelings, our voice. That’s why the train in my books is a travelling post office."
Fay Lant, senior programme manager at the NLT, said: "Writing has a proven positive effect on children’s wellbeing during lockdown: our research showed that two in five children (41.3%) said writing during lockdown made them feel better. We also found that the school closures last spring prompted a boom for letters as children looked for different ways to stay in touch with friends and family. Usborne’s brilliant new letter writing project is a fantastic way of encouraging children to document their pandemic experiences – and the idea that children should address their future selves is a lovely creative prompt."
A selection of the children’s letters will become part of The Postal Museum’s collection as part of the initiative. They will be exhibited in digital format and in a display at the museum in the future, once venues can reopen.
Children can get involved, either with their school or at home, by visiting www.usborne.com/kidsof2020.