Buckingham woman's lockdown stories to help grandparents connect with their grandchildren
Isolating at home with a serious bout of Covid, Jodi Cross was so moved by the plight of other grandparents who couldn't see their grandchildren, that she wrote a book they could read together over the internet
A Buckingham grandmother who was unable to see her grandchildren during lockdown has written a series of books specially for grandparents to read to their grandchildren.
Jodi Cross, aged 62, wrote the books while she was in isolation with a serious bout of Covid early in the pandemic, which has left her with lasting lung damage.
Sad that people were being kept away from their families, especially grandchildren, by the pandemic, and believing passionately in the importance of teaching children about the natural world around them, she decided to write a children’s book about a young fox learning about the natural world from his Granny - in the hope that grannies around the country would then be able to read the story to their grandchildren - via social media if necessary.
Jodi has two grandchildren - Christian, aged five, and Charlotte, who was born during lockdown.
Confined to her room in strict isolation during her illness and unable to even meet little Charlotte, Jodi said: "I'd got my laptop in the room with me so I could watch YouTube and things like that and social media, and so many people were writing about how sad it was that they couldn't see their families.
"And I just thought, wouldn't it be lovely to write a story about a little fox who learns about the woodland from his granny and just see if that helps grandparents to connect to their grandchildren.
"Because the only thing that we were allowed to do at that point, the government said people were allowed to go out for a walk in their local parks or woodland or whatever, so I thought that might just be relevant to what was going on for grandparents with grandchildren at that time.
"People were saying that the one ray of sunshine in their lives was having a FaceTime call with their grandchildren, and I thought, how lovely if they recorded themselves reading the story so that their grandchildren could hear them and see them reading the story to them, and have that for ever. That's so precious."
The result was a series of picture books called The Woodland Adventures of Foxy Red Tail - the first two volumes of which are now available on Amazon.
There is also a journal that goes with the books, as a prompt to parents or grandparents reading the books with children.
Jodi, who has lived in Buckingham for over 30 years and has worked at several local schools including Lace Hill Academy and Padbury Primary School, has donated copies of the books to 15 schools in Buckingham, Winslow and the local villages.
And there's even a chance for children to submit a poem on a woodland theme, and see it published in a future book.
Jodi said: "At the beginning of all the books there's a little poem about Foxy Red Tail and how he goes to live with his granny in the woods and I thought it would be so lovely if the children had an opportunity to write a poem about their woodland experience, or a woodland animal or a plant or tree or bees or whatever, and actually get it published.
"I just think it would be such a lovely opportunity for the children to be able to look at a book and think, gosh that's my poem in a published book."
Jodi is also starting a Youtube channel, where she plans to read out the children's poems when they start coming in.
For more information, see www.foxyredtail.com