17 August 2020

Tumut teachers' tale tackles COVID-19

| Edwina Mason
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Tumut teacher Hannah Goldspink outdoors.

Tumut teacher Hannah Goldspink came up with a great idea for a children’s book, The World Caught a Germ, as she watched her two daughters playing. Photo: Supplied.

There was no way Hannah Goldspink could have known that an idea that came to her while she watched her two daughters playing would throw her in front of radio mikes, television cameras and onto the pages of newspapers.

But for the Tumut early childhood educator and her work colleague, Brooke Bond, the past month has flipped them from their day jobs into the world’s spotlight.

“It’s surreal that it has happened,” Hannah tells About Regional, “I am still amazed at how far and wide this little book has got.”

The book is The World Caught a Germ, which portrays the changed lives of a little girl, Penny, and her best friend, Sam, in the face of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Penny’s parents are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning she is at school learning about social distancing through the term “bubble space” – placing an imaginary bubble around yourself to represent the required distance between you and other people – and the importance of hand washing.

Cover of book, The World Caught a Germ.

The World Caught a Germ is helping children in Australia and around the world understand the COVID-19 pandemic. Image: Supplied.

Sam is staying at home with his dad learning about, and practising, self-isolation.

But technology plays a part in the story, keeping the two friends connected and also allowing Sam to maintain contact with his teacher and class.

Hannah and Brooke, the book’s illustrator, are both early childhood educators at Tumut Community Preschool.

“We created this resource to help children develop a greater understanding of the changes that have been made to their lives during the pandemic, in particular social distancing and self-isolation,” says Hannah.

The title sold 170 copies in June and July.

“It has been so well received by so many teachers, families and – most importantly – children,” says Hannah.

But she says she was taken by surprise when she kept fielding calls from the press. So far, she has featured on Seven Network’s Sunrise breakfast program, Prime7 News Wagga, ABC Radio breakfast shows and two podcasts.

Further, the book has been picked up in the US by Walmart and Target stores.

Hannah says the story is predominantly geared to help children, and believes it would make a great resource for childcare centres, classrooms, libraries and any home that has children living in it.

“It keeps the conversation going and helps break down a subject that is very complex and slightly scary to many people,” she explains.

Dedicated to all the children struggling to understand the changes in their lives, Hannah says it also highlights the work of her fellow early years educators and other workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic who are unable to keep their bubble space.

The World Caught a Germ is available worldwide online – you can search for it on Google – or it can be purchased from Amazon Australia in hardcover, paperback or kindle formats.

Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.

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