Two medical students recently wrote an illustrated children’s book about coronavirus, to help parents of color communicate with their children about why so many families across the nation have been staying home.

The market for children’s picture books has traditionally not focused on people of color. Feeling frustrated by the lack of options, a Milwaukee parent and author, Deanna Singh, produced the book I Am a Boy of Color in 2016 and followed it a year later with I Am a Girl of Color. Those works follow a small but growing trend for books that appeal to youth of color.

Added to the situation is how the coronavirus has upended life in America for many weeks, particularly for the African American, Latino, and other minority communities of color. Access to accurate information for adults concerning COVID-19 has been slow, and much of the federal government’s response has been confusing. Explaining to young children why staying home is important to prevent the spread of the pandemic has been a challenge for parents.

As a result, Samantha Harris and Devon Scott decided to combine their education and creativity to produce a book for children about the pandemic. The two medical students from Southern California both share a passion for kids, medical education, and teaching little ones that they can be whatever they want to be. Samantha is an aspiring pediatrician and Devon is going into orthopedic surgery.

“We wrote a children’s book about coronavirus, meant to spark conversation between parents and their little ones about corona, and why we have been staying home,” said the authors in a statement. “It is the first book in a series that will be explaining different body systems and medical specialities in a way kids will understand. We want to show little black and brown kids that they can be anything they want to be. All of our main characters will represent this. The books in the series will be 100% free to download.

In Why We Stay Home, Suzie Learns about Coronavirus, Suzie is really excited to be able to stay home with her Mommy, Daddy, and older sister Millie. When Suzie expresses this to Millie, she explains to Suzie why they have been staying home with a quick lesson on Coronavirus.

Harris and Scott are accepting donations to make all future books free to the public as well.

© Art

Samantha Harris and Devon Scott

The Milwaukee Independent began reporting on what was then referred to as the mysterious “Wuhan Virus” in January 2020. Other local media did not picked-up on the story until many weeks later. Our early features focused on the economic impact, social issues, and health concerns long before other Milwaukee news organizations even mentioned the coronavirus. Over the following year, we have published hundreds of articles about the pandemic and how it has affected the lives of Milwaukee residents. This extensive body of work can be found on our COVID-19 Special Report page, a chronological index of links by month. Our editorial voice remains dedicated to informing the public about this health crisis for as long as it persists.
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