WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – The idea of staying 6 feet away from each other, has been a difficult reality for everyone, especially for small children who are struggling with those emotions of fear and confusion. That’s why a local author decided to do something about it.
“The main reaction I get is one of ‘this is so cool’ -- that there’s a story about what is happening,” Melissa González, the author of “The Magic of 6 Feet Away,” said.
González recalled talking to friends and family in March about how COVID-19 has changed their lives and those of their small children.
"They could see the frustration in their children even though they couldn't voice what they were feeling," she said. "I was up all night tossing and turning thinking about how children were dealing with our pandemic. I know as an adult I was frustrated."
Then, one night, the mother of two said the idea came to her. González, a native from New York City who is a banker, said she has always had a love for writing, ever since she was a little girl.
"I also have always had a passion for early childhood development and so when I could marry the two this was really a dream come true for me to be able to do this," she said.
During her time in quarantine, she said she wrote “The Magic Of 6 Feet Away,” her first children’s book, in about 40 minutes.
It’s a book González hopes will help parents talk to their children about their feelings. She recalled one of the experiences she had during a private reading via Zoom for a 4-year-old girl.
“I asked her, ‘So, did that scare you? Why did you cry?’ And she said, she just nodded her head yes. And then her mom was with her and had an opportunity to have a conversation,” González said.
When asked what the takeaway of her book is, González said it’s meant to be a conversation starter during these difficult times.
“I want the conversations to happen and I want parents to have a resource to go to. Something to leverage, to have a dialogue with their children that’s not as scary as listening the specifics of COVID are,” she said.
Aside from talking about those feelings, the book also gives some ideas to keep busy while staying home--like cooking with mom or playing with a younger sibling. González said her children’s book is meant to be personal.
“Every child’s journey is different. It has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with a specific character. It has everything to do with that individual child’s journey," she said.