It was near the end of February that the questions started to come relentlessly from Evan, my 3 ½ year old son.
“Daddy, why do we need to use hand sterilizer?”
“Why don’t you need to go to the office?”
“ When can we go visit Grandpa?”
10 minutes later….
“I want you to tell me again”.
Another 15 minutes.
“Mummy, tell me one more time”.
And so, the idea for a kids book about the coronavirus was born. To two slightly tired parents.
A book with colorful pictures and catchy rhymes, that might help young children like Evan make sense of the many changes to our daily lives, and of the fear and anxiety that was sleeping into our household.
We wrote it together, the three of us, in four weeks as the coronavirus spread across the world.
Catherine would come up with a couple of lines during the breaks from her Zoom calls.
I would think of how to make them better during my morning socially distanced jogs.
As we argued over which words would be easier for parents to explain and children to understand, Evan (whom we didn’t realizing was listening in) would jump into the fray with a spirited “I like Mommy’s rhyme better!”. Our 1 ½ year old daughter Claire, never wanting to be left out, would seal the debate by parroting, “Mommy Mommy!”
The book’s underlying message is that amidst all the uncertainty, our little ones are not helpless and can do their part to help. (“There’s lots of things that kids can do!” , such as staying home when sick and washing their hands) Since the book was published in April, it has been heartening to learn from readers’ notes and reviews that our family’s effort has also contributed in its own small way.