Last March just after the pandemic hit upstate New York, my 6-year-old great-nephew came to my house for a visit. Hans was happy to be at my house where he could do art projects and eat carrots, his favorite things.
He asked me a lot of questions about the coronavirus and I found myself taking notes as he struggled to understand why he was out of school.
Our day together became my book, Hans Helps: A Coronavirus/COVID-19 Story (click here for a link) which is about Hans learning how to stay healthy so he can keep the people around him healthy, too.
Since I must follow social isolation guidelines due to an underlying health issue, I haven’t seen Hans since the day I wrote the book. I had to decline every time his father called to say Hans wanted to visit. No. Sorry, we can’t visit.
Because of the virus.
Today Hans visited for a few hours. We stayed outside and when we were close together, we both wore masks. He showed me that he has another wiggly tooth and filled me in on his fishing trips, his sister’s hugs and all of the fun things he’s been up to.
It was the first time I was able to show him the publicity the book received over the past months. (Click here for publicity links.) He was more excited that kids were learning about the virus than the fact that he was the vehicle that helped other kids learn about the virus.
I read the first 4 chapters aloud to him, and he told me the parts of our story he remembered and the parts he didn’t remember. We talked about the meaning of fiction and nonfiction.
He said, “I was so happy that you put Letty’s name in the book even though she wasn’t at your house.”
He told me that I missed a word.
“Yes. You forgot that I thought of the word HORSE, it was another H word.”
I nodded. “Sorry about that. Sometimes the writer changes things.”
He said, “When I write the book, I’m going to leave in the 'H is for horse part.'”
I told him I thought that was a good idea that he was going to write a book, because I like to read, and that it was a good idea that he was going to add the H is for horse part, because I like to read about the letter H.