Primary School Teacher Writes Story To Help Scared Pupils During Coronavirus Pandemic
There's no getting around it, these are confusing, challenging and frightening times - even for the most experienced and knowledgeable among us.
It's tough to imagine how overwhelming it must feel for the little ones around the world, as they try to make sense of an unprecedented pandemic which even leading experts don't fully understand.
Small Paul, which you can read for yourself here, teaches children that if they are resilient, brave and positive in this scary and complicated world of 'tall people', things will eventually return to normal.
Mr Massey - who teaches Year 2 at Langley First School, Whitley Bay, UK - was inspired to put pen to paper after he felt tensions mounting rapidly in his classroom.
Speaking to LADbible, he said: "My children have now started asking difficult questions, and some have heard different things from their parents to others. One boy had tears in his eyes this morning when he told me that his birthday party was cancelled. It's heartbreaking.
"In general, no one likes change. For children, this is doubled. I can imagine this is all very confusing for them, and even the adults don't know what is happening tomorrow."
More Like This
Indeed, it only dawned on Mr Massey as he wrote the story that in alien times like these, the vast majority of us are 'Small Pauls', rather than 'tall people'.
He said: "As I wrote the story, I realised that I definitely relate more to Small Paul than I do to the tall people. I doubt I'm the only adult to feel this way too. The people making the decisions are the only real tall people - the rest of us just need to follow Small Paul's three point plan to stay calm and positive."
The 29-year-old has made the short story available as a PDF free of charge and he hopes his yellow-quiffed character can help Pauls the world over - however small or tall they may be.
He said: "If one child - or adult - is relieved from a bit of unnecessary anxiety, then Small Paul has done his job, but if his influence can spread beyond that then I would be immensely proud of him.
"He has already been translated into Spanish and I've had someone contact me about a Chinese translation too."
So if you prefer your short stories en Español, Pequeño Pablo is out there too - though if Mr Massey had anticipated that his little creation would go international, he may way well have dedicated more time to illustrating him.
He said: "I wrote and illustrated the whole story in less than two hours - compared to six months on my last project - and now I've seen how popular Small Paul has been with parents who are sharing it, I wish I'd spent a bit more time with the illustrations. However, time was of the essence, and I've had a lot of people complimenting the simple charm of Small Paul anyway."
If you know someone who could benefit from reading Small Paul, you can access the full story here.
Featured Image Credit: LADbible