By Colleen Sparks
Talking to children about COVID-19 can be difficult, but two local women with expertise in psychology and family medicine have written a book to make it easier.
Lyn Ashley Gildar, a North Central Phoenix resident who teaches master’s level counseling at Grand Canyon University, and family practice physician Dr. Linda Eller, wrote “Captain Quarantine: A Child’s Guide to Understanding COVID-19.” This paperback book tells the story of Alex, a gender-neutral child, wondering about the Coronavirus and asking questions of a physician and psychologist. The book explains the importance of washing hands and social distancing and stresses that it is normal to have “big feelings.”
“It’s about it’s okay for kids and parents to have big feelings, reassuring that it won’t be forever, won’t last forever,” Gildar said. “Kids don’t always understand time.”
She said she and Eller used to work together and were interested in writing a children’s book. They knew there was a need for something to educate children about the physical and mental aspects of COVID-19.
Eller has a 3-year-old son and Gildar used to work with children and families.
A psychologist since 2013, Gildar said she likes storytelling and she and Eller asked children for their feedback on the book before finishing it. Eller said her son is “fascinated with books” and he had struggled to understand why he could not go to a train park and other places due to the pandemic.
“I’ve read the book to him,” Eller said. “He loves the illustrations.”
Her adult nephew drew the pictures for the book.
“I think we’re hoping it will kind of start the conversation if they’re (parents) having a really difficult time, help the kiddos (know) that they’re not alone in feeling those feelings,” including fear and anxiety, Eller said.
The book, which was self-published so the authors could release it quickly while the topic is timely, is available to purchase on Amazon.com.