These days, kids’ fears about COVID-19 have become palpable as they hear adults talking in hushed tones about daily deaths, case numbers, hospital beds and other sobering observations. Parents might feel helpless and confused when explaining the disease to their children. But now there is a children’s book that aims to help: Captain Quarantine – A Child’s Guide to Understanding COVID-19.
The book is the brainchild of Dr. Lyn Ashley Gildar, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist in Phoenix, and Dr. Linda Eller, D.O., a family medicine practitioner in Scottsdale. The women met while working at a community health center in Tempe, and their friendship evolved in parallel with their professions.
In this colorful 24-page book, children go on a journey to understand the disease through the eyes of a child named Alex, who visits the family doctor and a therapist to talk about “big feelings” regarding COVID-19.
“It’s a simple way to learn through a child’s perspective,” Eller explained. “Our goal was not to have it be overwhelming or too intense. I know my own 3-year-old has recognized how society is shifting. He noticed how we couldn’t eat in restaurants.”
This timely book deals with issues most children can relate to, such as the loss of playmates and school experiences. Practical advice is offered, such as proper ways to cough, social distancing and how video chats can help provide a sense of normalcy. Also, children learn about how to soothe their emotions through deep breathing and creating schedules.
“For some time, we both wanted to use our specific clinical knowledge to write a children’s book that would be helpful for kids’ health,” Gildar said. “When COVID-19 struck, we knew this was our opportunity to make a real difference.”
The medical duo wrote the book at warp speed. The idea came in March, the writing in April and the publication in May. “We wanted to positively educate children about COVID-19 basics and how to cope with their emotions,” Eller said.
According to the authors, the book is ideal for teachers, social workers, administrators, doctors, therapists, parents and health care providers. It is available on Amazon.