Birmingham-based core medical trainee 2 Vijaytha Murali (pictured) has spoken of her pride at seeing the publication of her debut book ‘Oh! What a lovely lockdown!’.
The book, which is aimed at children aged four to 11-years-old, tells the story of twins whose birthday party has to be cancelled owing to the COVID-19 lockdown, but who ultimately discover the joys of exploring their creativity at home.
Dr Murali said she had been inspired to write the book following her own experiences of the challenges and disruption posed by the pandemic, coupled with a desire to use her creative instincts to help others.
‘There were several strands that led to me wanting to write the book. The first was my own passion for creativity.
‘I felt that children were probably the most in need of something that explained the lock down [but] even though it’s a children’s book a lot of the messages are also aimed at adults, and the focus is overall about emotional and mental wellbeing.
‘The main message of the book is trying to use your own creativity and imagination to uplift yourself in difficult times.’
Dr Murali, who is also an elected member of the BMA West Midlands regional council, wrote the book in between working shifts at her trust, and also designed the book’s illustrations.
She said that while COVID-19 had made her role as a doctor even more challenging and demanding, she found that writing the book had complemented her ‘day job’ and had been ‘incredibly rewarding’.
She said: ‘The hardest part of writing a book is not being able to see the end result, but it was such an incredibly rewarding experience to see that work come alive and get into the hands of people.
‘It has been difficult working during a pandemic and adjusting to a new disease and a new way of working. It was all about finding little pockets of time to fit this [writing the book] in, but actually writing prove to be a boost to my own wellbeing and probably made me more productive at work.
‘I think there is a huge need for similar resources which give a way of explaining lockdown to children and allowing them to process what’s been happening in the world.’
All proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the charity WellChild which aims to support seriously ill children in the UK.