Listen: "They gave stuff up without really understanding it," says Australian author Jamila Rizvi about kids and COVID-19 lockdowns
As we all know, 2020 has been a hard year. We’ve all had to make adjustments – some more than others – but it’s easy to forget the impact that this year has had on our kids. So, Melbourne-based author, columnist and podcast host Jamila Rizvi — who especially knows about the impact of lockdown with Victoria only now easing their second round of restrictions – has written a brand new book for kids called I’m a Hero Too.
Speaking to Hope Breakfast’s Sam and Duncan, Jamila explained the book was written following conversations with her five-year-old boy, when all the things he loved doing were suddenly taken away at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My son suddenly got pulled out of pre-school, he gave up his chance to start Auskick, he got pulled out of ballet, no more swimming lessons, he was allowed to play with the kids in the street if he stayed on his bike but they couldn’t touch each other, he couldn’t go to anyone’s house and play, he couldn’t see his grandparents. That’s his whole world!” Jamila said.
“One of the things I found difficult, particularly when the lockdown started, I quickly went searching for resources because I’m a diligent sort of person, and I could only find YouTube videos of spiky green balls with angry faces. It just wasn’t the vibe I was looking for.
“The best thing to do was to write my own story… I wanted a book that would help little kids grieve for what they had lost, whether it was for a few weeks, a few months, or almost a whole year. And grieve is a very big word for a little person, but I do think it’s important,” she said.
And so, Jamila set out to write a book for both kids and parents to read together, to help kids adjust to the experience and sadness, but also acknowledge that sadness as valid – and move to a place where kids can see themselves as superheroes through their actions and sacrifice.
“I don’t think we’ve stopped to pay enough credit to little kids around the country… for being genuine heroes of the pandemic, because they gave stuff up without really understanding it… just because it was the right thing to do to look after everyone else.”
I’m a Hero Too is out now. Listen to the full interview in the player above.