Children, principals, and teachers from Gaelscoil Chnoc na Ré, Holy Family NS Tubbercurry, Killavil NS Ballymote, Scoil Ursula, and St. Edwards NS attended a launch with Leas Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Councillor Donal Gilroy, in Sligo Central Library.

Cllr. Gilroy described the book as a 21st Century version of the Schools Folklore Collection. He told the children that in years to come, when people want to know what it was like to live during the pandemic, they will read this book and learn from what the children wrote.

This project commenced when Sligo Library staff ran facilitated workshops with 27 classes from Primary Schools throughout County Sligo during a period of home schooling. These mindfulness workshops with author and mindfulness practitioner Louise Shanagher helped the children process their anxiety around the pandemic, and their worries around the changes they faced. The relaxation techniques and lively discussions resulted in memorable workshops. Positive feedback from teachers led to the workshops continuing when children returned to the classroom.

A successful application for funding from the Department of Rural and Community Development, through the Dormant Accounts Fund, meant the project could progress to a published book to record this unique time in the children’s lives.

The children wrote about the pandemic and their experiences of lockdown. Linking back to literacy, they also wrote about the books they like to read, and their visits to the library.

The children’s illustrations and writing were all collated resulting in this colourful book; Breathe, Read, Relax. Cllr. Gilroy congratulated the children on their illustrations and writing. Cheers and a rapturous applause followed Cllr. Gilroy’s declaration that there was to be no homework for the children following the launch.