Many of us are trying to adjust to our lives in the coronavirus era. Adam Wallace is thinking about how it affects children. Wallace is in the Air Force, stationed at Fairchild. He’s working toward a master’s degree in public health with an eye on medical school in the future. Wallace has been working from home lately and he’s had a little extra time. So during the last couple of weeks, he’s written a children’s book about COVID-19.
“Driving home the other day, I called, we volunteer for an animal rescue, to see if they had any more puppies up for adoption and they were really excited that all of the dogs in town are being adopted. The dogs at home are all probably really excited because all of their kids are home every day. It kind of sparked in my head that, hey, if all the dogs are excited that the kids are home, what are the kids thinking?" Wallace said. "Combine the public health side of my head that the CDC is putting out a lot of good guidance for adults, but there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about how to talk to kids or images that kids can look at.”
He started writing.
“The story’s about two puppies, Luna and Maui, which are my dog’s names," he said. "They walk their kids to school every morning. One morning, Luna’s waiting at the front door with her leash, ready to go to class and walk the kids to the playground and the kids are just sitting on the couch watching TV. The dogs run to the couch and try to figure out what’s going on. The whole story is the older dog explaining to the younger dog what COVID-19 is and how we can all stay safe from it and try to make it less scary for the dog and the kids in the book, but also for the kids that would be reading the book.”
So Wallace had a story. Next he needed pictures. He searched for an illustrator who could create sketches for the book in a short period of time and he soon found one.
“The illustrator’s name is Adam Riong. He’s from Malaysia. I found him online," he said. "We were trying to find a local illustrator and most people were saying it would take a month or two at least to draw a book with 30 images. He really got on board and said I’ll get this done in two or three days for you. He came back with some pretty amazing art work. I definitely could not have put a book to life and brought it to life like he did.”
How long has it been from idea in your head to where you are now?
“It was probably the 16th or 17th, so less than a week from thinking about the idea. Luckily I’ve been home more than normal so I’ve had more free time to dedicate to the project," Wallace said.
After the story, he includes an extensive coronavirus Q and A for children and their parents, drawing upon his knowledge and his studies and his wife’s experience as an emergency medical worker.
“If I wasn’t studying public health, I probably never would have heard viral load or maybe known what a respirator is. My wife is a paramedic and literally on the front line of it. The two of those coming together, I have a pretty close first-hand idea of what’s happening. So I was trying to turn that from a public health perspective and a graduate student into something that a normal person who’s not a medical student could read and understand," Wallace said.
The book’s done and he's working with a publishing company to make it available soon.
“And if it can’t go on sale, and even if it does go on sale, the plan is to put a free PDF up online right now, so I’m working with a couple of friends to figure out what’s the best way to distribute the book. We spent a little bit of money getting it illustrated, so if we could recoup that money that would be awesome. But the real goal here is that there are a lot of kids that are scared and don’t know what’s happening, so if we can get it out to them, I’d rather get it out online as a book or a PDF or a Kindle book or whatever medium is easy for kids to read and be able to understand," Wallace said.
Adam Wallace is the author of a new children’s book called “The Day My Kids Stayed Home: Explaining COVID-19 And The Coronavirus To Your Kids.” Wallace has developed a Kickstarter campaign for the book.