Max Counts To A Million by Jeremy Williams

Publication Date: 3 March 2022

The Blurb

Do you like epic quests of amazing counting?

Do you dislike global pandemics, being stuck at home, and the number 7?

Then I have a story for you. It’s about how I counted to a million during lockdown – with help from Mum and Dad, friends and neighbours, and Grandad. And some birds. And a bucket of marbles. And an awesome TV reporter.

Sometimes, just keeping on going makes you a hero.

Eight-year-old Max is counting to a million. Normally, school or having anything interesting to do would get in the way, but school is shut and everyone has to stay home because the UK is in its first lockdown. Max’s dad works at the hospital and counting helps Max with missing him, but as the pandemic progresses and Max’s grandad journeys through his own battle with the virus, what starts as a distraction turns into record-breaking effort that brings Max’s community together.

Cover illustration by Thy Bui

The Review

What a special story Max Counts To A Million is! I don’t think there’s a child in the country, or their family members, for whom this won’t resonate. Funny, heart-warming & poignant, it captures the highs, lows & strangeness of lockdown life in March 2020.

From the floppy haired Prime Minister on TV to empty supermarket shelves, Max takes us through his experience of the first Covid lockdown. Enjoying family meals together every day soon turns into Dad staying away from home to protect his family. Looking forward to a holiday with grandparents and the best birthday party ever turns into loneliness, boredom and swirling feelings that need a distraction.

As a mum who didn’t see her teenage son in person the duration of the first lockdown, parts of this story struck a real chord and brought back memories and feelings I had locked away. It’s started a conversation in our family about how we feel about it all now, which is brilliant (not necessarily the feelings but the fact we are talking about it all). I am sure other families will have conversations too, with children knowing they weren’t alone with their mixed feelings of loving being with family, missing friends and extended family, and having to find new ways to stay connected and entertain themselves.

A true read for empathy and an important reminder that just keeping going through uncertain times, and being there (even from a distance) to support each other is a heroism all of it’s own. As is not bulk buying toilet rolls and pasta.

It would make a brilliant class read, and is perfect for families to read together, and children (and their adults) to enjoy on their own.

£1 from the sale of every copy of this book will be donated to NHS Charities Together (Registered Charity No. 1186569)

Huge thanks to Nosy Crow for sending me a copy. Head over to their website to take a look inside.