A CHILDREN'S story written by an Ingleton teacher for his class during lockdown has continued to enjoy giddy success - to the point where he is now penning a sequel.
Michael Forde, a teacher at Ingleton Primary School, says he wrote the whimsical tale at the beginning of the lockdown period for his class to help them cope with and adjust to probably the biggest upheaval of their lives so far.
Since then, ‘How NOT to go to School’ has proven to be a hit with teachers and parents both at home and abroad.
As of last week, the story - centring on home-schooled child, Parsley Mimblewood - had been downloaded more than 100,000 times since it was made available for free online several weeks beforehand.
After attracting the interest of parents and primary-level educators further afield, the Northern Irish teacher's story has begun to become something of a smash hit.
Artist Rebecca Sampson contacted Mr Forde, originally from Larne, and agreed to provide the illustrations for the book - which was shared online in return for a donation to charity.
Teachers from other parts of Europe then began to ask him if they could use the story, adapting it to their own tongues and other contexts.
The short yarn has now been translated into a number of different languages - including Italian and Spanish versions, which have have already gone live online.
Mr Forde said that Arabic, Russian and Scots Gaelic translations of the story were also ‘on the way’.
“Obviously, I’d never written anything like this before and had no experience of publishing of any kind. So this has all been a huge surprise for me,” he told The Gazette.
“I’m amazed by the response from teachers, parents and children around the world.
“I still can’t believe how many people have downloaded the story. It’s incredible.”
But Parsley's adventures do not finish there, the budding author has revealed.
In light of the government’s plans to reopen schools in England from June 1, Mr Forde’s previous suggestion that a sequel may soon be in the works has now been given a new impetus.
He said: “I’m currently writing the sequel, which I’m very excited about - ‘How to go BACK to School: Parsley Mimblewood Saves the World AGAIN.’”