| 7°C Belfast

Co Armagh classroom assistant's Covid book for children wins praise from PM


Ryan with Julie Gorman (left) and Alison Lindsay of Carrick PS

Ryan with Julie Gorman (left) and Alison Lindsay of Carrick PS

Ryan with Julie Gorman (left) and Alison Lindsay of Carrick PS

A classroom assistant from Co Armagh has brought Covid-19 to book - literally.

Ryan Wilson is both author and illustrator of The Year the World Got Sick, which was originally intended to help explain the coronavirus pandemic to his special needs pupils at Carrick Primary in Lurgan.

But his recording of a video of the adventures of 'Healthy Harry' and 'Sneezy Suzy' attracted a much wider audience - including Prime Minister Boris Johnson - and won its author a UK Points of Light award.

The book has now available on Amazon - with a follow-up in the pipeline.

"When I first set out to write the book, I had a classroom of 12 children in mind," said Ryan.

"Working with children allows me to see the world through their eyes and, as such, recognise just how difficult the coronavirus pandemic has been for them.

"It feels surreal to see just how far the book has gone, and how impactful it has been in these uncertain and daunting times for children."

NHS fundraiser Captain Tom Moore even makes an appearance due to his superb efforts raising over £30m for the health service.

In a personal letter to Ryan, the PM wrote: "Thank you for bringing 'The Year the World Got Sick' to school children across Northern Ireland to help them understand coronavirus.

"With 'Healthy Harry' and 'Sneezy Suzy', and even a special guest appearance by Captain Sir Tom Moore, you have explained the pandemic in a reassuring way to thousands of children.

"I am sure the pupils of Carrick Primary School, have enjoyed story time with their resident author!"

Ryan, whose follow-up will explain to children the importance of wearing face masks, queueing at shops and hand sanitisation, said he was honoured to receive the Points of Light award, which is run by Downing Street and recognises outstanding individual volunteers and people who are making a change in their community.

"I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his recognition of my book," said Ryan.

"The book has taken me on an amazing journey and I am forever grateful for all the love and support it has and continues to receive."

Ryan's book about the pandemic has been endorsed by First Minister Arlene Foster and her party colleague Carla Lockhart, the DUP MP for Upper Bann.

The 26-year-old inspirational teacher's sequel is called The World's New Rules and it promises to be just as popular as its predecessor.

Belfast Telegraph