By Victoria Lewin
Illustrated by Jeff Phillips
Katie – Boo is just like me and you,
but Katie – Boo is different too,
she’s Mummy’s little helper.
When Katie-Boo was aged just two
her Daddy became very poorly.
He couldn’t go to work anymore
because his poorly head was so sore.
So, Katie – Boo at aged just two,
started helping to look after her Dad.
She’d sit beside him and make him smile,
singing songs – it helped for a while.
She helped her family all day through,
with the little things that Dad couldn’t do.
But deep down inside do you know what was true?
Katie-boo was just like you!
Her favourite game in the whole wide world
was peek-a-boo with a friend or two.
She’d try to catch them out each time
and beat them to it to say the rhyme.
That’s why they called her Katie-boo,
and deep down inside she was just like you!
The only difference between you two,
was that Katie-boo had more things to do.
Her family worked together as a team,
helping each other they worked like a dream!
“You’re my little stars” Dad would say…
but it made him sad that life had turned out this way.
Shaking his head, Dad would cry,
“Why? Oh, why? Oh, why? Oh, why?”
“I was your hero Katie-boo,
now look at me, needing help from you.”
But Katie-boo was clever too
she knew just what to say …
to make her Dad feel better
and make those tears roll right away.
“You are my super hero Dad!
Your love stretches far and wide.
No matter what tomorrow brings,
I’ll be right by your side.”
Dad wiped away the tears from his eyes
and smiled from ear to ear,
“You always know just what to say to cheer me up, you know.
I’m so lucky that you’re my little girl and I love you so!”
With a great big hug, and a cheery smile
Katie-boo sat beside Dad for a while.
They watched T.V. till the sun set in the sky
and it was time for Katie-boo to say beddie byes.
Katie-boo she grew and grew
and before too long she’d just turned four.
Life was changing more and more.
The time had come to go to school –
after all those were the rules.
On that bright sunny morn, Mum woke Katie and said
“Rise and shine, sleepyhead.”
But Mum was greeted with tears,
as Katie-Boo cried and hid.
“No! No! No! I don’t want to go!
Can’t I just stay here instead?
I promise I’ll be quiet, and I’ll stay in bed.”
Mum sat down and gave her a hug,
she knew just what to say
to turn her frown upside down
and make those tears roll right away.
“Come on now poppet, you’ll be just fine.
You’ll see …it’ll just take time.
You’ll make new friends as you learn and play…
come on, you don’t want to be late on your very first day!”
“But what if they don’t like me? What will I do?”
“Not like you? My Katie-boo?
How could anyone not like you?
You’re clever and funny, pretty and smart
and you’re ever so good at music and art.
But just in case you feel a little sad,
I’ve hidden Mr Bunny in the bottom of your bag.
He’s there if you need him and no-one will know,
I’ve filled him with hugs and kisses
to remind you how much we love you so.”
Katie Boo smiled and hugged her Mummy tight,
before jumping out of bed with all her might,
Not scared anymore – she was excited instead,
What was she thinking? Stay home in bed?
She got ready for school as quick as could be,
then kissed Dad goodbye, her eyes filled with glee.
Then she stopped and thought, looking at her Mum.
“You promise you’ll look after Dad?
What will you do if he starts to feel sad?”
Mum hugged her and said “I promise, he’ll be just fine.
We all knew this day would come at some point in time.
I’ll take good care of him, so don’t you worry,
This is your time now, C’mon off you scurry.”
As Katie and her Mum walked down the lane,
Mum said “Don’t worry, the other children will be the same.
They’re probably scared too Katie Boo, but remember this –
they are just like you!”
So, Katie Boo skipped to school
to meet children just like you.
Her teacher was kind,
Mrs Jones was her name,
but sadly, the children –
well, they weren’t the same.
It started in class on that bright sunny morn,
Mrs Jones asked each child to say where they were born…
and to add just a little bit more if they could,
such as who lived at home with them would be good.
Katie stood up as proud as could be,
“My Mum, Dad and brother live at home with me.
We all work together to look after my Dad, he’s poorly you see and his head hurts so bad.
We’re Mummy’s little helpers, my brother and me
and we keep Dad company while Mum cooks the tea.”
The class all clapped as Katie sat down,
blushing she smiled and put her head down.
“Well aren’t you clever?” Mrs Jones said
“Looking after your Dad while he’s poorly in bed.
That takes a special kind of child, one just like you.
You really are amazing, little Katie boo.”
Some children got jealous of the ‘Teacher’s little pet’
“Just wait till playtime then see what she gets.”
These children sat still until the school bell rang,
then chased after Katie in one big gang.
They pointed their fingers, they whispered and giggled,
then circled around her under a tree
so no-one could see just how cruel they could be.
“Oh Katie Boo” they teased.
“We are not like you!
Our Daddies are strong, they work all day long
then take us wherever we want to go!”
They screwed up their faces and looked down their noses.
“We are not like you, Katie Boo!
Your Daddy’s too lazy to work like ours do.
He just sleeps all day, instead of taking you out to play!”
Katie Boo felt so alone, how could they be so cruel?
She sat down and sighed, covering her eyes,
thinking what she should say.
She felt so sad and all alone,
Oh, why did it have to be this way?
“I’ve got to make them understand” she thought
“After all they’re just like me.
The only difference between us all
is they’ve only ever thought of themselves since they were small.
I’ve always had to think of Dad….but really it’s not all that bad.”
Suddenly Katie spoke up, shocking the kids around her.
“I’m sorting this out” she thought to herself,
“they’ll understand me even if I have to shout.”
With her hands on her hips she turned and said
“YOU’RE WRONG, SO WRONG!
MY DADDY IS STRONG!!
HE FIGHTS THE PAIN MONSTERS ALL DAY LONG!
Whenever he can he takes me out to play,
and it really doesn’t matter that isn’t every day!
My Daddy’s my hero!
He’s not lazy at all.
He used to be a teacher when I was very small.
He can’t help being poorly, it’s not his fault.
He’ll always be my Dad
and for that I’m so glad!
You say I’m not like you, but you know that isn’t true.
I have the same hopes and dreams that you do.
The only difference between us all
is that I’ve helped to look after Dad since I was very small.
My Mum is so clever – she makes it seem fun,
which helps us forget and not feel so glum.
If Dad’s head hurts and we need to hush,
we become secret spies, who are in a rush
to discover what the other spy is saying.
It’s so much fun and a game we love playing.
We lip read each other, write notes and we mime,
Daddy mustn’t hear us or it’s end of game time.
So, what if my life is different to yours?
Is it really a reason to be cruel?
It isn’t a crime to be different, you know?
Not everything needs your approval.
So, can we please start over and start anew?
Remember deep down inside I’m just like you!”
One by one each child looked down at the floor,
they felt guilty that they hadn’t waited to see
what a lovely child Katie Boo could be.
“I’m sorry” they said, each one in turn.
“Please tell us more so that we can learn.
We were wrong to tease you,
to laugh and to snigger…
can we please start over
so we can be friends as we get bigger?”
“I’d really like to be friends with you”
Said a little voice who’d been stood at the back.
She’d stayed quiet while the others made fun,
She’d not known what to do, but now she knew.
“Please be my friend Katie boo?
My name is Ellie and I’m new here too.
Although I’m not a young carer
I am a lot like you.
Your family sound lovely, a little bit like mine.
Who knows maybe we’ll all be friends in time?”
Just then the bell rang for class once more,
There Mrs Jones stood, waiting by the door.
Katie decided to ask Mrs Jones if she could see,
“a way to help children just like me?”
“What do you mean?” Mrs Jones said.
“The other children need to understand
that being a young carer is never what was planned.”
“Oh no sweetheart, were they nasty to you?
Tell me all about it and I’ll see what I can do.”
“Don’t worry Mrs Jones, it’s okay now you see,
I explained that deep down
all young carers are just like you and me.
They understood and made friends with me.
But what about other young carers
who may not feel able to talk openly and free?
Can you please ask the teachers to mention it in class?
So that bullying Young Carers is a thing of the past?”
Mrs Jones put her arm around Katie and smiled
“Of course, I can Katie boo.
I’m so proud to be teaching such a clever little girl like you.”
So here ends our story, on a happy note at last.
Please remember Katie-Boo and the next time that you see
some-one who is different and not ‘like you and me.’
Remember that deep down everyone’s the same,
so don’t be quick to judge them
and leave them out of your game.
Remember the tale of Katie boo
and when you meet a young carer,
remember they are just like you!
Copyright © 2020 by Victoria Lewin