This Pinay mama created a book to explain the pandemic to kids

Published May 13, 2022, 9:21 AM

by Manila Bulletin

And it became a worldwide project

The Covid-19 pandemic drastically drifted the shifted from its normal setting. As it started, parents tried to explain to their children how the pandemic historically changed the world.

New mom Gita Luz had to quickly leave Manila and go back to her hometown in London with her one-year-old child before the lockdown was implemented in the Philippines.

BOOK MAMA The author Gita Luz with her son Milo as a baby

She was frustrated after she experienced early quarantine both in Manila and London. It made her think about how she would need to explain the situation to her child, Milo.

“It was very scary, and it made me think about how I would explain this to my son—and how other parents and children must be trying to understand this really confusing time,” said Luz.

Wanting to describe the situation appropriately to her son, Luz came up with the idea of an alphabet illustration book about the pandemic. She then posted it on Facebook to see if people would be interested in helping her put it together.
“I wanted to make an ABC book that captures the lessons and stories from this strange, terrifying, painful, and uplifting time, so I can share it with my child in a way he’ll understand,” Luz said.

Luz shared that a lot of people replied. Her friends from her previous job in advertising volunteered and became the core group of the project. Eventually, it emerged into a collaboration of artists and writers around the world.

The team then started the book project with the thought of helping many parents who were experiencing the same dilemma—explaining the pandemic to their children and how it rapidly changed the world.

PANDEMIC EDUCATION “Q is for Quarantine” cover

Q is for Quarantine

What started out as a mere pandemic distraction resulted in a book idea called Q is for Quarantine—an A-to-Z children’s book for kids three to eight years old.

Its concept is to give a different kind of learning about the coronavirus through illustrations rooted in the terms that are usually heard during the pandemic.

Luz took to her book idea to Facebook in March 2020. She then started crowdfunding to produce the book and recruited 26 volunteer illustrators for the alphabet. The team started rolling out the plans in June and eventually created the first draft of the book.

BAD CORONA Visual in the book

By July 2020, they had the first sample copy printed. By August of the same year, the team was able to deliver the books to those who pre-ordered.

Luz was amazed at how generous people were, as they were committing their time and talent—everything for free.
“You can see we moved pretty quickly considering this was just a side project, as we were mostly working full-time and we were coordinating all of this online,” Luz said.

The illustrators and writers of the Q is for Quarantine came from different parts of the world. There were volunteers from the Philippines, Hong Kong, the US, and Europe. With this, they were able to somehow show that the pandemic is happening all over the world, affecting everyone.

The diversity of illustrators made sure that the book reflected the global pandemic. It also met its goal for the young readers: For them to relate to the characters no matter where they are in the world.

TEACH THEM YOUNG Gita’s son Milo reading the book

F is for Frontliners

The initial goal of the project was just to help as many parents and children as possible by giving them illustrated information about the pandemic. They came up with another goal, to help the frontliners.

With a new goal, they targeted to raise as much money as possible to donate to more frontliners and families that were affected.

“All of our profits will be donated, so the more books we sell, the more money we can donate. We are waiting to see how much money we can raise before we decide where best to donate,” Luz said.

The team prioritized helping people on the frontlines, as well as those who were directly affected and struggling. Among them were families with breadwinners who lost jobs and were barely striving to afford basic necessities.

All of them in the team were quarantined in their respective homes, but they did not let the pandemic lock them away from finding ways to use their time and talents to help those in need. —Iane Carmiel Macasieb