In part 1 A Storyteller Creates His Own Opportunities [Video Pt. 1] of our interview with Robert Herrera, Owner and Executive Creative Director of Pixel Mouse House, a children’s book publishing company, we discuss the challenges that the pandemic brought to his business and how he was able to create innovative publishing opportunities for his company. Little did he know that one of those publications would literally focus on the one topic that has brought about the closure of many small businesses in 2020: the Coronavirus.
In part 2 of our interview we talk about the book, The Big Bad Coronavirus and How We Can Beat It, the project that came to him because of the pandemic. It’s been a labor of love for him these past 6 months. While adults have all struggled to understand how to best manage their lives while being careful to not contract the virus, children have also been struggling to understand exactly what the Coronavirus is, how they can feel safe going back to school during the pandemic, and why they can’t always see their friends the way they used to. The book helps to give children a better understanding as well as some easy guidelines to follow in keeping themselves and their family members safe.
After the initial publication, Robert had an “Aha!” moment when he realized the need to have the story translated into Spanish. It was an obvious and unbiased way (from a child’s perspective) to bring attention and information to the more vulnerable Latino communities who are suffering disproportionately due to the virus. His hope is that a child will read the story back to his or her abuela/abuelo giving them some useful tools to stay safe from COVID-19.
“When the Coronavirus outbreak hit almost exactly a year ago, work ground to a halt,” says Rob. “I learned early never to just sit still or wait for the phone to ring, so after we released What Does My Dog Jack Do at Night? last spring, I received a query call from illustrator G.F. Newland. Previously Gerry and I collaborated on the series, Unhinged History; wacky-but-historically-true stories written in rhyme (I kid you not). Gerry explained that he was working on a Coronavirus title with veteran Broadway actress Lisa Carroll, and asked if I’d be interested in publishing it.
“Lisa Carroll’s empathy toward children is reflected in the plush toys she’s created for the past ten years for Gund, Avon & Dragon-i which, in addition to her stage credits, provides quite the platform to help promote (what would be) her first children book. She, of course, was a natural.
“The best part of Lisa’s manuscript, what made it exceptional, was that it addressed the mental stress that children (and all of us) are feeling. The story was then framed from the point of view of children attending school during COVID-19. It was a perfect fit for 2021. The vaccine is here, but Little Lisa still needs to take precautions; for herself, her friends, her teachers, and parents. Written in both English and Spanish, the book can be a valuable tool for adults to share with young children about living safely through the pandemic.”
For more information about the book in both its English and Spanish versions as well as the author and illustrator, you can read more here.