Stay at Home! is an uplifting anthology of lockdown-inspired poems and prose for children, by writers based in Scotland.
The free collection includes contributions from several of Roaring Reads’ favourite children’s authors (including Barbara Henderson, Caroline Logan and Justin Davies) so we knew we were in for a treat – and felt extra privileged to get an early peek inside.
Compiled by Tiger Skin Rug author Joan Haig and illustrated by Darren Gate, the short stories, letters and poems inside explore the breadth of experiences and emotions that lockdown evokes.
Though several pieces reflect on tough times, the effect of the collection as a whole is upbeat – it’s hard to feel down when you are enjoying Darren Gates wonderful illustrations.
There will be something for everyone here, but we particularly enjoyed Superhero, by Rachel Plummer, Ma Name is Billy Baxter, by Alan McClure, and Raisah Ahmed’s heart-twisting Can you See the Moon?
We chuckled at Rory’s Loo Roll Diary, by Justin Davies, gawped at the cleverness of Miranda Moore’s A World Unlocked, and failed to see the twist coming in Barbara Henderson’s The Lockdown Haircut.
And Joseph Lamb’s haikus were tiny treasures to bookend this collection made from unique pieces, connected – jigsaw-like – by the spring’s universal events.
Joan Haig told Roaring Reads that her project was inspired because she felt that, amid the excellent resources available, nothing was speaking to children directly about their day-to-day experiences (click here for full Q&A). Judging from the expression on our seven-year-old’s face as she curled up to read it, Stay at Home! achieves its goal.
This collection contains the work of 40 different contributors, but it still feels like a conversation with one friend who really understands what this lockdown life is like. When so many children are not seeing, or talking to, their peers, that sense of a shared experience is a precious thing indeed.
Contributors were as follows: Raisah Ahmed, Annemarie Allan, Dean Atta, Nayanika Basu, Pamela Butchart, Chief Chebe, Philip Caveney, Maisie Chan, Alastair Chisholm, Justin Davies, Lari Don, Lawrence Dritsas, Elizabeth Ezra, Matthew Fitt, Kerry L. Fleming, Darren Gate, Anne Glennie, Merryn Glover, Laura Guthrie, Joan Haig, Robert J Harris, Yasmin Hanif, Callum Heitler, Barbara Henderson, Diana Hendry, Emily Ilett, Elizabeth Laird, Joseph Lamb. Joan Lennon, Lindsay Littleson, Caroline Logan, Janis Mackay, Alan McClure, Miranda Moore, Raman Mundair, Alex Nye, Rachel Plummer, Ross Sayers, Linda Strachan, Chae Strathie, Victoria Williamson.