The silver lining in the Covid-19 cloud

The first page of Jake's book, Corona Travel.
The first page of Jake's book, Corona Travel.
  • Inspiration

  • A book about coronavirus written and illustrated by Jake Torres, an eight-year-old boy from Gibraltar, is helping children in need in Africa

Coronavirus has become a dreaded word for people all over the world but, as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining and some good has come out of the Covid-19 crisis in the shape of eight-year-old Jake Torres from Gibraltar, who has written and illustrated a book about it to raise funds for children's charities.

Jake's book, which is called Corona Travel, is about the virus wanting to make friends and hugging people, but making them ill in the process. It was a conversation with his grandfather about the coronavirus that inspired him to write the book. Over 1,000 copies were sold in the first few days after publication, and the proceeds are being donated to charities such as Action4Schools, Rifcom and Helpmelearnafrica - the first three to have been chosen.

Jake seems very young to have such talent and such an interest in helping others, but in fact he is already quite an experienced writer, having begun writing stories and drawing pictures to go with them when he was just six years old.

His grandfather, Elliot Federico, says Jake has always received encouragement from his family, friends and his teacher at St Joseph's Middle School, Mrs Serena Lopez - who has told him he will be a famous author one day - but he has always written and drawn independently rather than wanting to be guided or helped by his family.

He also seems young to have such awareness of the fact that children elsewhere are in need of help, but Elliot says he has often asked questions about poor children around the world and one day he announced that he wanted to write a book and sell it so he could help them.

Copies of Corona Travel are available to buy and can also be ordered from Spain, at a cost of £5 for the book plus postage.

If anybody would like a copy, or is interested in donating to any of the charities mentioned above, they are asked to contact Mrs Tyrene Federico-Torres by WhatsApp on (00350) 54002441, or Jimmy Bruzon of Action4Schools on (00350) 57631000.

Jake said in a recent radio interview that he would indeed like to be an author one day, but he doesn't dedicate all his time to writing and drawing. Like any other boy of his age he says he enjoys hobbies such as cycling, Beaver Scouts and playing with his Nintendo.

He is thrilled with the response to his book so far, and hopes people will continue to help him to raise money for those in need.

Further information about Actionforschools-Sierra Leone can be found on the website www.action4schools-gi. Most of its trustees and supporters live in or are from Gibraltar, and most of its fundraising events take place there. It has recently distributed 40 wash kits to the Regent Village community in Sierra Leone to help in the fight against the coronavirus.

Rifcom ( was set up by volunteers in Gibraltar and Spain who in 2008, after witnessing at first hand the poverty among communities in the Moroccan Rif mountains, decided to do something to help.

And as its name suggests, the Helpmelearnafrica charity ( works to empower education in Africa.

Thanks to Jake Torres, the remarkable eight-year-old from Gibraltar, their task has just become slightly easier.