Author’s Corner: New children’s book helps young readers understand COVID-19

Holly Viers • May 20, 2020 at 7:30 PM

The last few months have been bewildering for just about everyone, but children in particular have had a hard time adjusting to life during a pandemic.

That’s why Joy Eastridge decided to write a children’s book called “Conquering COVID-19,” which was released last week. Illustrated by Eastridge’s daughter-in-law, Mary Beth Wierman Eastridge, the free book explains the complicated subject of COVID-19 in a way that children can better understand.

“The book is to help children understand and cope with COVID-19,” Joy Eastridge said. “That’s our goal, and it’s also a tool for parents or guardians or teachers to talk with their kids.”

What’s your background?

Eastridge serves as parish nurse at First Broad Street United Methodist Church in Kingsport, but she is no stranger to writing books.

Her previous releases include two Bible studies — one on Elijah and Elisha and another on Acts — and another children’s book called “Bennie Goes Up! Up! Up!” that she co-authored with Brynn Welch. All three are available on Amazon.

How did you get the idea for the new book?

Eastridge decided to write “Conquering COVID-19” after learning about a writing contest through Emory University, with a prize of $10,000. She and Mary Beth started on the book on a Wednesday and had it ready by the following Wednesday.

Though they didn’t end up winning the contest, the pair decided to release the book as a free download. But before that, Eastridge enlisted the help of her daughter, Chrissy Eastridge Idlette, and her other daughter-in-law, Lauren Harber Eastridge, to put on the finishing touches.

What is the book about?

The 24-page book gives simplified explanations of what a virus is, how viruses can make us sick and what can be done to protect ourselves and others, Eastridge said. It also discusses the emotional effects of the virus and honors the heroes who are on the front lines battling the pandemic, she added.

“I feel like children are really suffering a lot during this outbreak, because they don’t have the tools to understand,” Eastridge said. “Their little lives are so disrupted. … If it’s hard for us, I just think, how hard is it for our little ones?”

Where can the book be accessed?

The book is available for free download at eastridges.com/covid. Eastridge has also recorded an audio version of her reading the book, which can be accessed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBQ8H6a16sQ.

“It’s been fun sharing it. … We’ve shared it all over the place,” Eastridge said, “and we’re just excited that people can get it for free and use it as a tool to help children.”

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