VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A Central Florida teacher just launched her first children’s book geared toward helping kids understand the realities of going back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Julienne Kaidor said after the school year ended with distance learning, she started to worry about what it would be like for kids when they go back to the classroom.
“I became nervous of the students’ mental health being isolated from each other for so long and then what it would look like when we came back in the classroom,” Kaidor, a fourth-grade teacher for St. Barnabas Episcopal School in Volusia County said.
Kaidor looked toward literature to help kids with those emotions. A few weeks ago, she published her first children’s book on Amazon titled “Good-Will Life in COVID-19 Times.”
“The main characters in my story are actually animals that the kids can relate to. The animals went through a pandemic and are going back to school,” the mother of three said. “My message is: Kids, it’s OK to be nervous. My message to parents is to start talking about schools reopening. And teachers, my message to you is to get ready. All of the kids having been through a traumatic event, they’re gonna need more love care and compassion than they ever have.”
The elephants and giraffes in the book are feeling uneasy about going back to school. The main character is Will, an elephant.
“Going back to school, he was nervous that he was different, he was nervous that he did something wrong and when he gets to school his teacher brings them all together,” she said.
She added that it’s about all the different African animals coming together to help each other out without having to be isolated.
“I love to use literature as teaching tools. I’m very passionate about reading. When I was a child it was something I used to help find happiness, perhaps an escape ,if you may,” Kaidor said.
Her love for reading is shared through her free weekly book club called the TRUST book squad.
"I see some kids, usually girls they're very eager to open up a book and dive right in. No one is forced to read aloud, no one is even forced to read period, they could listen and just thumb through the books and then they can take the books home. These are children that also don't have access to libraries," she said.
She hopes her book will motivate students and spark their imagination.
"I want to inspire the young people to read and write. Any idea you come up with, go with it and find somebody who will believe in you."
Kaidor’s “Good-Will Life in COVID-19 Times” sells for $14.99 on Amazon. Kaidor said 20% of her book sales will go toward the Boys & Girls Clubs of America COVID-19 fund in DeLand.